Win8: The Horror

I refuse to call it Windows 8.1 Update. Soon it will be Windows 8.1 Update 2. Why not call it Windows 8.2 and Windows 8.3? Hubris? I can't say. Just another annoyance with MicroSoft that makes me chuckle inside with a smirk showing on the outside.

Here's a fictional account where I'm performing phone support on a typical American small business collegue. Let's call him Timmy. This call was monitored for quality purposes ... NOT!

[ME] Hello, it is a bea-ute-iful day in Technical Support and Windows 8 land. Can I have your name, and the nature of your technical emergency? [Timmy] Erm, my name is Timmy. My boss just bought me a laptop at Office Depot and I'm trying to install Firefox. Firefox runs, but it won't connect to any Internet sites.

{ NOTE: This is how most small businesses work. They run out to who knows where and purchases laptops with all sorts of bloatware on it. Who knows what's on it. In real life, the technical support department are expected to help them, with the computer sight unseen. }

[Me] It is most pleasant to be speaking with you today ... uh ... {reading from notes} Timmy! We'll get you fixed up in a jiffy. Do you know what version of Windows is installed on the laptop? It's most likely Windows 7, or Windows 8? [Timmy] Erm, I'm not sure but I think it's Windows 8. [Me] Are there all sorts of squares all over the place, many of them swooping information in and out all of the time! [Timmy] That's the one! [Me] Bingo! Okay, so you said that you were able to get Firefox installed and started, but that it won't show any websites? [Timmy] That's correct. Internet Explorer works but I don't like to use it. I prefer Firefox.

The Force is strong with this one. I need to make a note to watch him closely. My boss said to be on the look-out for anyone who can think for themselves.

[Me] Okay Timmy. If you can get to other websites using Internet Explorer, then you're connected to the network and to the Internet so that's not your problem. If it is Firefox that can't get to the Internet, then it may be the Windows Firewall that is blocking your access. [Timmy] Nice. How do I fix it so Firefox can get to the Internet? [Me] Okay here's what you do. Are you ready? [Timmy] Yes, I'm ready. [Me] Are you really ready? [Timmy] Yes, dammit! I'm ready! What do I do? [Me] Okay, see the upper right corner of your desktop? [Timmy] Um, yes. But there's nothing there. [Me] Yes, that's perfect. You won't see anything there. [Timmy] In the upper right? [Me] Yes. [Timmy] It's okay that there isn't there? [Me] Yes, you're performing perfectly so far. [Timmy] Okaaaaay? What do I do with the upper right corner? [Me] Move your mouse into the upper right corner. [Timmy] Move my mouse into the upper right corner ... even though there isn't there? [Me] Yes, you're catching on now. Move the mouse into the upper right corner. [Timmy] Okay, it's in the upper right corner. [Me] Do you see a menu that appears from right? [Timmy] No. [Me] You don't see a menu that appeared from the right? ... when you moved the mouse to the upper right corner ... even though there isn't anything there. [Timmy] Nothing. [Me] Let's try it again. Move your mouse away from the upper right corner and then move the mouse back into the upper right corner again. Look for a menu like thing that appears from the right. It should have a white magnifying glass, a circle with nodules on it, a slanted window looking thing, and buckle, and a sprocket. Do you see it? [Timmy] How far away from the corner should I move the mouse? [Me] Erm, perhaps an inch or more? [Timmy] Okay I moved the mouse ... I SEE IT!!! Wait, it went away. [Me] The menu went away? It appeared and then it went away? [Timmy] Yes, it appeared for a second, but then went away. [Me] Did you leave your mouse in the upper right? Make sure not to let it move out of the upper right corner. [Timmy] Oh, that may have been what happened. Let me try that again. The mouse kind of 'bounced out' of the upper right. [Me] Okay, let's try that again. Move the mouse to the upper right and make sure that it doesn't leave the very right edge. Got it? [Timmy] Yes, I had it but the menu went away after about 3 seconds! [Me] Well, when you see the menu again; I mean when it appears again; move your mouse down to the magnifying glass ... before it disappears again. [Timmy] Not the sprocket? [Me] No, not the sprocket. We want the magnifying glass. [Timmy] What does the sprocket do? [Me] The sprocket is for 'Settings'. But we want the magnifying glass which is 'Search'. [Timmy] Wouldn't we be changing the 'Settings' on the firewall? That'd be my guess. [Me] Well, that makes a lot of sense, but that's not what we want. [Timmy] Okay, I've got the Search menu up. [Me] Perfect. Type in 'firewall' in the search and the firewall application should show up in the list. [Timmy] It's saying "No apps match your search." [Me] Did you type in 'firewall'? It's all one word. [Timmy] Yup. F-I-R-E-W-A-L-L. Does caps matter? I entered it with a capital 'F'. [Me] No, caps shouldn't matter. ... hmmm. Oh wait! I forgot to tell you to click 'Settings' with the sprocket icon next to it. [Timmy] Now you want me to click the "Settings Sprocket"?!? [Me] Yes, sorry about that. When we're in "Search" you have to click "Settings" for the firewall option to show up in the list. [Timmy] I see it! Wait. There are four options showing: [1] Windows Firewall [2] Allow an app through Windows Firewall [3] Check firewall status and [4] Check security status. Which one do I want?

Okay. I'm going to stop here with the transcript.

Here's the punchine: Which firewall option does Timmy want?!? Answer: None of them. It's "Norton Internet Security" which is running their own firewall that is blocking Firefox.

After all of that Windows 8 horror, it turns out to be the "Solution" that is as bad as the "Disease".

Here's hoping that Windows 9 returns to UI sanity.