Why Is It Soooo Difficult to Uninstall a Program?

Seriously. Why is it sometimes such a pain to uninstall a program. It’s usually not my problem that Windows can’t find the uninstall program to uninstall a program. The program should just be able to be removed with a single click, without all the muss and fuss and panic that strikes us when the warning signs come up that tells us the computer can’t do anything without something you know nothing about.

Windows Installer Popup - Cannot find uninstall program to uninstall the program.

I faced that repeatedly recently as I cleaned up software I no longer use, both to make space on my root hard drive, but also because of the risk of these obsolete programs automatically updating or inviting malware or viruses, something we all should worry more about than the things we are often worried about, like who our children should marry (and only marry well, of course), or whether or not the kids will graduate from high school (they will figure it out, and if not, they will figure it out later, trust me).

I kept coming up with “can’t uninstall because I can’t find the freaking uninstall file to uninstall this program that you no longer want on your computer,” or something to that effect.

Twenty minutes of research into this topic after weeks of frustration, I found an answer, though I have to warn that the link might change and the fix may not work for your operating system. At least for Microsoft systems. I spotted a history of advice and points to helpful tools over the past ten years that end in dead web pages. So for now, this works. And works really well.

Microsoft’s Knowledge Base includes “Fix problems that block programs from being installed or removed,” a downloadable cab file that enhances your uninstall capabilities with the Uninstall Troubleshooter.

It scanned the computer for installed programs and asked me if I had trouble with installing or uninstalling. I selected uninstall.

Microsoft Uninstall Troubleshooter for uninstalling programs that will not uninstall.

It loaded a list of all the programs installed on my computer. I found the one I wanted GONE GONE GONE and selected it. A few more clicks, patience waiting through “working” screens, and it was GONE GONE GONE. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Okay, that’s not fair. At the time I needed the program, it was fabulous, but now I don’t need it, so “wave your little hand and whisper so long dearie!”

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How to Reinstall OneDrive After Being an Idiot

Little angry girl with text 10 minutes at work and I start using Fuck like a comma - FunnycoI’ve spent the past two days living the life of whining and complaining as the official Tech Nag only to find out that I screwed myself in my zealousness.

With the Windows 10 update, my world suddenly revolved around OneDrive. I have Google Drive and Dropbox, which the majority of my clients and students use, so why do I need another cloud-based service? With Microsoft changing and rechanging their free and paid storage plans, last thing I need is something else to confuse me.

After a couple months of confusion and inability to find my backup files and running into files being saved to OneDrive without my wishes, I’d had it. It was time to uninstall OneDrive and be done with it.

It took some work, too. It can be done and here are some resources on how to remove OneDrive.

Skip forward and I’m heading to a huge multi-day conference with my new Surface Pro 4, and I’m ready to take notes. Usually I use Evernote, but the integration and ease of OneNote caught my attention, so I thought I’d give it a try. Works lovely for what I’m doing, but pain in the ass when it wouldn’t sync between my desktop and Surface Pro 4.

Ah, that’s right, I uninstalled OneDrive and it is highly dependent upon OneDrive. That’s okay, I thought, I’ll just sync everything to Google Drive.

Three days later, it’s a mess as my ridiculously slow Internet is dragging ass as Google Drive is now hooked up to the Surface and 60 gigs of crap is filling it up. That’s fine, it can take it, but it is day three and I’ve got over 4,000 files not yet synced, and some of these are huge. Add to that there is a plane with my name on it and my ass and this computer need to be on it shortly.

Without a way to tell Google Drive to only sync with this machine and not that, and not dump everything onto a computer where I don’t want it (Hey, Google Drive folks, you listening?), all I freaking want to do is sync my OneNote notebooks without all this pain and suffering.

I make the decision to use OneDrive for my OneNote notebooks, if I don’t ever use it for anything else.

Except that it isn’t on my computer.

So I download it and double clickeroo to reinstall OneDrive and nothing happens. Silence. Dead Zone. Nothing here to look at folks.

I try every configuration and possibility, rebooting too many times, reinstalling Office 2013, and all but stripping things down to the bone and redoing the entire MFing computer setup of Windows 10 because OneDrive is integrated into the operating system.

Ah, that was my first clue.

Through days of searching, I finally found the answer here in Microsoft Support – Turn Off or Uninstall OneDrive.

In my zealous determination to rid this desktop computer of OneDrive, I turned off the computer privileges that allow it to activate and be used. This is why the programs didn’t work when I tried to run the installation software.

To keep this nag short:

  1. Click Start > Run > type gpedit.msc
  2. Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive
  3. Change it to NOT enable (if it says “enable” it won’t install or activate OneDrive)
  4. Apply, Save, or whatever the hell you have to do to make it take
  5. Download OneDrive (not the business version)
  6. Install it and pay close attention to where it sets the default OneDrive folder(s) through the installation process

Lesson learned, be careful with your zealous nature, and take freakin’ notes so you can remember how to undo what you did – and store them in a place where you can find them again.

Keyboards Wear Out, So Does My Patience With Poor Quality Keyboards

In the July 2008 issue of Smart Computing Magazine, their Action Editor responds to an inquiry about the letters on a keyboard wearing off.

While we understand a scratch or dent on a product caused by a customer would constitute cosmetic damage, we’d call this situation something other than “cosmetic.” As a result, we contacted HP…

…[after offering a newer-model keyboard to the complaining customer] HP researched support calls for the reader’s original product and didn’t find other customers experiencing this issue, so the issue appears isolated.

As I scanned through old issues of the magazine and found this, I have to admit that I squealed my frustration. Since the earliest computer keyboards, I’ve been calling for deeper laser cut letter embedding instead of “stick on” or “paint on” letters and numbers on keyboard. I even spent a few months working with the Microsoft hardware group on testing and reviewing their new line of keyboards to ensure the letters and numbers stayed and weren’t worn off within a few months or less.

Microsoft Keyboard with the letters worn off - by Lorelle VanFosen

Unfortunately, my highly vocal complaints to the keyboard manufacturing community continue to go unheeded as I personally continue to wear out keyboards. Microsoft does have the only keyboard I’ve found that lasts the longest, Logitech the next longest in my information research.

I trained to type on a manual keyboard but quickly switched to an electric as soon as they gained popularity. Yes, I have a strong key strike, and yes, I have long nails, but the keyboard should should put up with any form of abuse for more than two or three months. Few do.

If your keyboard wears out sooner than you think is appropriate, please nag. Nag them to replace it. Nag them to make the letters and numbers last.

Too few people just get a new keyboard or stick on new keyboard number and letter stickers or use a permanent marker.

Complain. Complain loudly.

Unless you are heard, companies like HP are going to continue to think that worn out keyboard keys are isolated cases.

Whom Should I Allow to Own Me

With the release of the Amazon Fire tablet and the eco-system they’ve created for it, it has me questioning who should I allow to own me.

As I travel the highways and byways of the web, the gate I pass through owns my data. It owns my experience. The information collected about what I do, how I do it, and what I do it with, is collected, collated, and distributed along with the data from my fellow gate travelers and used by the gate keepers then sold to companies of all kinds around the world for them to make sweeping decisions about what I do, how I do it, what I do with it, and how they can make money with me or because of me.

The gate keepers are Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google, for the most part.

My life is already reluctantly owned by Google as I use Gmail, Google Docs, Google Apps, Google+, YouTube, Chrome, and the list goes on and on.

While my computer life started out a prisoner of Apple, I’ve years invested in ownership by Microsoft through Windows and so many of their products and hardware, including the keyboard I use to type this blog post.

Amazon, you’ve had me since the first book. Growing up in Seattle, you and Microsoft grew up with me, entering my life in college and continuing forward through today and into the future. As Amazon grew, my allegiance grew with it.

With Amazon’s Fire tablet using Google’s Android, the lines are getting blurrier and blurrier, but if I go with Fire, the flames will mostly be fueled by Amazon.

I need to get a new phone, so maybe I’ll be back with my old owner, Apple, again, reviving our connection from the 1970s and 80s.

So maybe my question is moot. Maybe I’ve unwittingly been owned by all of them.

Maybe what I’m really asking myself is which owner should I sell my soul to next.

Dear Browsers, Stop the Browser Hacks, Please.

Dear Browsers (and I’m talking to all of you):

I’m reading Paul Irish’s article on the Browser Market Pollution and it makes me ill.

As a web designer and developer, I hate when I have to create a new framework or revisit a current one and deal with browser hacks.

I’ve dealt with browser hacks going back to versions no one on the planet is using any more, even those prior to IE 6. I had hacks for Netscape, IE4, IE5, IE5.5, and so on. I even have hacks for current versions of IE7, IE8, and even IE9.

Oh, you other browsers, Safari, Opera, Firefox, I’ve had hacks for your versions as well, so don’t think you are getting out of this nag.

Irish explains that even as we go forward, the browser industry’s failure to maintain web standards and ridiculous need for proprietary crap that messes with web design, causing even more hacks, will continue and web designers will have to maintain multiple hacks and custom support for multiple browser versions on and on and on into the future.

I’m so tired of coverying your asses with my designs and fixing the designs by others for clients.

When Tim Berners-Lee and his team developed the web as we know it, the goal was to break down the code barriers that stopped the easy exchange of data and information so we could all communicate together. Browser hacks put burdens upon that tenuous web when you all should be reinforcing it with strength.

Please let us stop fixing your problems with browser hacks.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag