Please, bear with me!

Diogenes's picture

Please, bear with me!
Foreign Call Centers or Notwerking with Microsoft Vista

My brother bought a new computer recently and I offered to help set it up. It came preinstalled with Windows Vista, which is the only Microsoft choice available in about 90% of computer stores in Calgary.

We also purchased a wireless router.

I did a setup like this, but with windows XP, here in the the Netherlands some months ago. We subscribed to a service that provided cable TV, phone and internet.

Even though ALL the instructions were in DUTCH, with many cables and devices to connect and with all kinds of strange looking parts left over, I still managed get to everything working in about 45 minutes.

The Vista computer setup did not go as smoothly. After following instructions provided with the router, which were in English, we still could not connect to the internet, router or no router.

A call was made to TELUS technical support. After the required (and always annoying) phone menu navigation, I was eventually connected to to a call center in Singapore. We were on the phone for an hour after that, cycling the power on everything, reporting model numbers of modems, routers and computers, and finally MAC addresses, in a heroic effort to get things working properly.

It was partly successful, we could finally connect with the internet, but not using the router.

The Singapore support center eventually gave up and declared that the problem must be with the wireless router. They suggested we call LinkSys technical support and even gave us their number. I thanked them for their effort and service.

The Linksys number connected us to a call center in Malaysia. (I always ask where they are). After a couple of quick attempts that got us nowhere, We were instructed to reset the router.

A reset consisted of partly unfolding a paper clip and inserting one end into a tiny hole in the back of the router and pressing it in FOR TWO WHOLE MINUTES! Honest

It was a good thing my brother was there to perform this act. I held the phone and the light while he held the paper clip and searched for the router reset hole.

He then assumed this weird yoga pose, straddling a mess of network and power wires, clutching a paper clip in one hand and this strange blue box with antennae in the other hand.

He stuck the paper clip in the hole and obediently held this postion for the next two minutes. He looked like someone giving a rectal examination to a giant beetle.

I think this whole procedure may have been a practical joke by the tech support people in Malaysaia, or some maybe some engineers at Linksys, but I can't be sure.

The tech support guy in Malayasia had a good command of the English language, but it was not his native tongue. I said "please bear with me". He responded with an incredulous "What?!"

I realized that he may have interpreted this wrong. Maybe he thought that I was requesting that he remove all his clothing so we could be naked together, or that I was momentarily distracted because I was being attacked by a bear (I had told him I was from Canada).

I explained that I was simply asking him to be patient. All was good.

About 45 minutes and much trial and error later, we had the router and the internet working with the new Vista computer. I thanked him for his patience and his excellent technical support.

It had been a grueling two hours with two different call centers half way around the world, but the people that helped me were competent, patient, and had a reasonable command of English, certain idioms excepted.

We soon had two more computers connecting to the internet through the router; the old Window 98 desktop (network cable), and an XP laptop (secure wireless).

The next step was to get a home network going, nothing fancy, just some shared directories to transfer files between computers.

It's not diffcult to get XP/98 systems talking to each other if you have done it before, but it is awkward and frustrating to accomplish this the first time. Microsoft has never had much elegance with networking.

In 15 minutes I had the XP and 98 boxes talking to one another. The Vista system was another story.

One mistake was relying on the Vista help system to guide me. There was a lot of nonsense on how much easier it is to network Vista systems but precious little on how to connect to older systems. After two hours of trying various obtuse and mystical Vista network options, I gave up.

A few days later, I did a search on the net using Google. I had the answer in 15 minutes.

Here is my 15 minute solution

If you find yourself buying to a Windows Vista system, and you have files on your old system that you would like to see on the Vista system, use a memory stick, an MP3 player, or even a digital camera to transfer the files.

Only a masochist would do it with Microsoft networking. Please, bear with me.