WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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New computer blues

For about the last six years, I've had a Dell laptop. It has been a nice workhorse of a home computer. But after all that time, the hard drive is full, and it was slowing down. It really was time to upgrade.

After shopping around, I decided on a Lenovo Y510 laptop. I bought it online and it arrived in a couple days.

It's a beautiful machine and in the course of one long evening, I had transferred everything I needed from my old computer.

The first thing I checked was access to my work e-mail. That's when the frustrations began.

Oh, did I tell you, the laptop came loaded with Windows Vista.

I opened my e-mail fine. I clicked on a message and then clicked on reply. Everything looked good but there was a small X in the upper left corner of the e-mail where I would type my reply. That part of the e-mail was frozen. I couldn't type in it. There was no way to reply.

I closed it, reopened. I rebooted. Same problem. Since it was late, I closed the computer and went to bed.

At work the next day, I described the problem to one of our IT people. He suggested I try the basic setting on the Outlook Web Access. The other IT person suggested dumping Vista and installing XP.

The basic setting worked, but basic is missing the functionality that I've gotten used to. Besides why should I settle for the basic?

I tried a Foxfire browser, but it too only supported basic.

Finally, I called Lenovo's helpdesk. I described the problem and they said since it was a software issue, I would have to call Microsoft. I called Microsoft and told my story again. The technician asked me to give him the number of the operating system. He stopped me as soon I read the letters OEM in the middle of the numbers.

He said that stood for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Because of those three letters, I would have to talk to Lenovo.

Then I explained that Lenovo had sent me to them. This is where it got a little ridiculous. The Microsoft tech said he could put me on the phone with another technician who could fix the problem but it would cost me $59.

"So you know what the problem is?"

"Yes."

"But you shipped it two days ago with this problem."

"Lenovo did. Not Microsoft."

"But Microsoft makes Outlook and Vista and they can't work together."

"The technician can help you, sir."

I couldn't do it. I thanked him for his time and hung up. I went back to Lenovo and they didn't have a fix. They suggested re-installing Vista, which would mean losing everything I had moved over from my old computer and there was no guarantee that the problem would be solved.

So I'm stuck. Do I dump Vista and install Windows XP? Do I suck it up and just use Web Outlook in the basic mode? I'm not sure yet.

I'm left scratching my head. Outlook is a flagship product for Microsoft. Vista is the company's operating system of the future. Shouldn't they have tested something as simple as Reply on an e-mail?

If anyone has any suggestions on other things I should try, let me know.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 02, 2008 at 7:22 PM


Reader Comments

Mon, Sep 8, 2008 Lee Bahcall WI

Nick,While you used the Dell for 6 years, you neglect to state what version of Outlook you were on and if when you moved over to the Lenova laptop with Vista if it was the same version or most likely a 2007 version. I have been migrating from Office 2000 to Office 2007. This requires me to move the pst file over and using the import in Outlook 2007 to retrieve all the files, calendars, and contacts or most of the Outlook functions don't work.After you import the file, you will have to most likely reorganize your emails messages as the system may try to duplicate all your folders.

Fri, Sep 5, 2008 M Amtower HIGHLAND MD

Nick - Send the computer back and write an editorial about what dirtbags MS and Lenova for knwoingly shipping a faulty product. MS has beend doing this for decades, with virually every new product. MS = greta marketing, crappy support.Not that I have an opinion.

Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Michael Lent DC

Return the Lenovo and get a Mac, Nick.Your familiar situation is the kind of mess I left behind when I switched two years ago.Better hardware, better software, simplicity, far less trouble and risk with viruses and malware, and as much compatibility with PCs as you need, with few exceptions.Pricer, but worth it.

Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Michael Lent DC

Return the Lenovo and get a Mac, Nick.Your familiar situation is the kind of mess I left behind when I switched two years ago.Better hardware, better software, simplicity, far less trouble and risk with viruses and malware, and as much compatibility with PCs as you need, with few exceptions.Pricer, but worth it.

Wed, Sep 3, 2008 Jeff Hart DC

ran into this when I upgraded from an XP notebook to a Vista Tablet. There is a setting around ActiveX that needs changed on the Exchange Server, here's the MS Tech Notehttp://support.microsoft.com/kb/911829Best regards,Jeff

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