Sometimes wonder

Norton 360 version 1.0 box art
Norton 360 version 1.0 box art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had more trouble with my computer on Friday afternoon specifically with Firefox not running the Norton Toolbar. I couldn’t even set the toolbar for it had been removed from the Firefox options! This has happened a couple of times since I installed Windows 10 but it wasn’t Windows 10 that was causing the problem, neither was it Firefox, it lay with Norton. Well in fact some registry files had either been corrupted or had not been removed or overwritten when the last Norton update took place. Norton 360 had to be updated a couple of times when Firefox was updated and Firefox had to be updated to accommodate Windows 10. Now wouldn’t you know it, Windows 10 has had a couple of updates since it was installed too! No wonder things go pear-shaped. It would have been a simple matter to re-enable the Norton Toolbar under normal circumstances but are there ever any normal circumstances with computers? I chose to connect with the Symantec (Norton) team in India for yet another session with them taking control of my computer remotely in order to put things right. I had by this time tried all the obvious things to effect a repair but to no avail. The session started off quite normally and I watched the agent move my cursor all over the screen trying to find the problem. In fact the agent was going over the same ground as I had done but not once or even twice, they must have gone over the same ground six or seven times. I watched in disbelief for the agent was going round in circles. I began to wonder if they knew what they were doing. I use the term ‘they’ for I could not determine the gender of the person from the name on the screen, it was an Indian name of course and well, I am not knowledgeable when it comes to Indian names. Finally the agent decided to do a rigorous scan and after making a restore point stripped four items from the computers registry. The computer had to be restarted three times during the session and of course I had to remain with it to open it up each time. In the process of updating Norton, which was done three or four times but in actual fact could have been done only the once had the agent approached the problem correctly in the first place, I lost two extensions to Firefox. One was ‘Last Pass’ and the other ‘Zemanta‘ both of which I use every time I go online. The session was about to end and I had to remind the agent to re-instate them both so an attempt was made but during the process I had to take control of the cursor myself to show the agent how to do it! I had already spent eighty minutes with the agent trying to solve the problem and I didn’t want to spend another twenty minutes waiting for the agent to hit the right keys! Finally I thanked the agent for the help that I had received but at the same time wondered if they had known what they were doing half the time. The computer is working fine, Firefox is working fine and I am still out with the jury over Windows 10 though it seems to be working fine at the present. My other browser Chrome is fine, I won’t use Microsoft Edge at the moment because of the lack of allowable extensions it has. Norton works well, when it is working properly that is! And it is at the moment, finally!

Shirley Anne

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Clean sweeping

Norton 360 version 1.0 box art
Norton 360 version 1.0 box art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve all heard of having a clean sweep, a Spring clean and a tidy-up. We do it in our homes, our office desks and desktop but how many do it on their computers? When we use our computers on-line, downloading data of one sort or another we can collect a lot of debris with it. Even if we delete programs and files there are sometimes bits of data still left on the machine. In fact, when we delete programs and files they can still remain on the hard drive hidden from access. The registry files and program files can get mixed up too and need de-fragmenting occasionally. All these things serve to slow the machine down. We may also have old unused programs and those which are outdated that need to be removed too. There are programs that will take care of tidying up our hard drives, some of them good and some not so good, some are expensive and some can even be free to use, though the latter tend to fall short of being useful. We can also buy into regular maintenance whereby a remote operator cleans up the computer for us. Late last year I came across one such service which for an annual fee would clean the computer as many times as I desired during the year should it be necessary. At that time I was experiencing many problems with my machine and was looking for a solution that wouldn’t cost me the Earth but couldn’t find one that I thought was reasonably priced. Ideally it would be best to have a program sitting on the computer which could be activated at any time to clean out the rubbish. There are programs available which do this to a point but the ones I’ve seen so far do not do a comprehensive clean-up. So it was that I bought one year’s cover with an American company and had my computer thoroughly cleaned by a remote operator. Once I had enabled the file allowing remote control all I had to do was more or less sit there and watch the cursor seemingly moving about the screen all by itself. Of course it wasn’t, a girl at the other end of the connection in the US had complete control. I have to admit that the experience was a little unnerving but as I watched I could see the work that needed to be done to put things right. After about forty minutes all was done but I discovered that one or two settings had been altered against my preferred options and a couple of plug-ins and extensions seemed to be missing. I corrected those things myself once the session had finished. The result? My computer was running as smoothly as on the first day I’d bought it. As it is nearing the termination of my subscription I thought I’d get the computer cleaned up once more and I connected to the site on Tuesday afternoon. It took about forty minutes to do but again I had a program missing, an extension called ‘Last Pass’ which looks after my site passwords and settings and automatically connects for me so that I don’t have to remember sign-in details. In fact I have two such programs, the other being that supplied by Symantec on their Norton 360 anti-virus software. Windows itself has the facility too but I’ve never used it. With the number of sites I visit regularly I need to be automatically signed-in. So now my machine is again running smoothly. I know I can do a lot myself like de-fragmentation, emptying out files and optimising the drive using Norton 360 and I do but some things cannot be done with it. Computers are wonderful tools but can be costly and time-consuming to keep them in working order.

Shirley Anne

Ahem! (again it seems)

Road Rage (Dizzee Rascal song)
Image via Wikipedia

Looks like I used that title before but on a different subject. I am my worst enemy. Often I say jokingly that ‘I am passed my sell-by-date‘ or that ‘my shelf-life has expired’, new versions of ‘I’ve got one foot in the grave’ or ‘I’m in God‘s waiting room’. I laugh but the serious side of it isn’t really funny. Oh I can blame some of the things I do on my age with tongue in cheek but it is often down to a lack of forward thinking. A few weeks ago I wanted to cancel the automatic subscription facility on my Internet security provider account, which is Symantec. I have Norton 360 version 5 protecting my computer. What happened was this, I had purchased Norton 360 v4 before I had bought this computer and when I discovered that Norton 360 was pre-installed I kept hold of the disk version I had bought so that I could use that when renewing my subscription this year. Mistake number one. The present version is one up on the disk version, which I hadn’t noticed. I was having difficulty in locating the instructions to cancel the automatic subscription but the staff at Norton were able to help me. It turned out to be a very easy procedure but from the software it was easy to locate. Why they don’t make things easier I don’t know. The guy who dealt with my problem extended my old subscription by one calendar month so I got a bonus for my trouble. The present subscription was about to expire in 11 days so I took out the disk I had bought and loaded it. The screen display showed me that the disk version wasn’t as up to date as the one installed, which was the first time I’d realised my error. However it isn’t now possible to claim a refund on my original purchase of £59.99 which I could have done within 60 days. I don’t think I have a monkey’s chance now at over twelve months! I opened my Norton account and renewed my subscription for two years thus gaining a small discount on today’s prices (£124.99). The 11 days were added and now I have 741 days left at time of writing. Now back to the disk and the loss of £59.99. The only way out I can see is to sell it at a huge discount or give it away so that the other person can then update the product and thereby gain something from it. I should read the small print or have someone to hold my hand but that would be more of a distraction…..LOL. I have learned my lesson.

Shirley Anne