Working from home has its highs and lows, but a universal point of pain is when your computer decides to freeze and die. Let’s listen in on a real-world scenario from this past weekend involving a Dell laptop, a Microsoft update and freelance writer/editor Carol Kopp.
When Kopp’s laptop refused to reboot after a forced routine update was pushed on her that she’d been warned will “take awhile,” she set out to find support. Luckily for her, she had an old computer lying around or she’d be forced to travel to the nearest Microsoft store, an hour or more away, where she might or might not receive help.
Kopp laid it out in an email to the customer service address she found when Googling for Microsoft tech support. Her next option was to ask her question in a Windows 10 forum, for which she was forced to register with a username and password.
Using the dilapidated old HP, she hit the wrong key and got bounced out of the forum. All her information was erased, forcing her to enter it all over again. When she failed to check the box saying she’d read the Terms & Conditions, she was ejected yet again.
That’s when she noticed the page did not include Microsoft in the URL and she prayed it was not some malfeasant doing something malicious. While in the forum, she found some other postings with headlines like “Windows 10 broke my computer …” but no remedy for her immediate problem.
So she turned to the toll-free 24/7 hotline.
Kopp retold her story, calmly, to a customer support rep in New Delhi who started asking about the condition of her computer and the last time she took it in for servicing.
“It’s about two years old. I don’t take it in for service like a car. It’s never been to a computer repair shop for any reason. I am not trying to update the computer. Microsoft is trying to update the computer.”
Kopp was then directed to try to remove the computer’s battery, but that is not an option. Then the rep suggested the update could still be going on, although the screen was not acting that way.
That’s when the sell began. Kopp was asked to buy a service for $249. When she politely declined the maintenance contract, she was offered a one-time fix for $109.
It’s not so easy to find the official Microsoft support system but so many scam artists are out In the market there’s actually a link on the Microsoft site to report them.
On the Microsoft site was a virtual support “person” who returned Kopp to the main screen when she told her that a Windows 10 update just broke her computer.
Katrina F. then started chatting with Kopp and recommended buying a flash drive and downloading Microsoft 10 to the drive, then reloading it. The next day, Kopp went out for the drive, came back and the computer did not recognize it.
Her next option is visiting a store or finding some other means of in-person support. Meanwhile, she’s researching new PCs and found a Chrome book for less than $250. Since she now works in Google docs, it might be enough.
“The fact is, computers are so cheap now, if I can’t get it fixed with the free support, I’m better off buying a new one.”