We come home from our adventure, and I excitedly take the new laptop out of it's intriguingly small box. There is the laptop and then a small cardboard compartment about 3 inches wide. That's all. I simply can't see how all the accessories (and necessaries!) can possibly fit into this trim little box. I open a rather paltry start-up guide and read, "insert the battery now." Pulling the small cardboard compartment open, I do find the thin battery inside. I take it out. I insert it. The guide then reads, "plug in computer". Okay, so far I can handle this PC. What's the big deal? Why do the Macs keep boasting about their ease of start-up? So I turn the computer on and prepare to be amazed the refreshing zippiness of our new purchase.
Everything loads and I see a new Windows screen that make me a little uncomfortable. It's called "The Welcome Center". Hmm...well, our new computer must be Protestant. That's nice. I always like to be welcomed. But it's a little funny when you're used to not being welcomed to your own computer. All right, now how do I start the anti-virus stuff? The guy at Best Buy warned us several times to get that going right away, before we do anything else on the internet, lest we get attacked by sneaky Spybots or something. I click on the Start Menu, per normal, and am again a little disoriented when the "Programs" icon is at the bottom of the menu instead of the top, and when I click it the list of programs opens, not the the right, as I was expecting, but directly on top of the Programs menu. But, persevering despite these few changes, I manage to find Norton, open it, and get it started up. That goes just fine. Now that I have obeyed the instructions from the Geek Squad, I feel free to deviate from the instruction manual into what I want to do: set up wireless and surf the internet at impressive high speeds.
After figuring out the hidden function key to turn the wireless on, I hit the usual "find networks button" and am connected to Gaetano home network. G-mail is my first stop. 1...2...3...wait, why do I even how time to count? This is a dual-core processor with 2 GB RAM...I should be there by now! Ugh! But, thinking as veteran Windows user always does, I have Control +Alt + Delete pressed before I am even aware that I am thinking about pressing it. Up comes the Task Manager and all 60 processes that are running. WHAT?!?! --60?-- Why? What? Maybe we should have bought a Mac.
I take a look at all of the processes that are running and find ones I never expected, like Napster. After a quick consultation with the Oracle (Google), I discover that it is not uncommon for brand new laptops to be running 60 processes, but if it seems to be lagging under the weight of too many trials and unwanted "bonuses" you can either remove all of the programs by hand after checking them on the internet, or you can simply re-install the Operating System from the disk that comes with the computer. Personally, since there weren't any documents or programs on the computer yet, it sounded a lot easier to put a disk in and follow a wizard made for dummies than to do all that research and uninstalling by hand. I insert the O.S. disk, of death.
An hour and a half later, after dozens of screens of wizard prompts, six restarts of the computer, and a lengthy scan of the entire computer (what all was on there fresh out of the box worries me a bit), I finish with the re-install of the OS. Let's go, baby: Zip. Zip. Zip.
I plan to return to G-mail and then zip around the internet at record speeds since I've de-junked the computer. Instead of an e-mail from my dear family or friends, I read a series of bad news messages: "Page not found", "Cannot connect to network", "Hardware not found". Now WHAT?!?! I am just about out of patience, which is very bad, because Matt is dying to use the new laptop, and I keep telling him to wait until I get it all zippy. Hours later, with more passion than patience, I have tried downloading updates (from the LAN, of course), finding and installing drivers, and thoroughly searching the "Help" tools of our laptop, and all I have achieved is another bad news message, "Video card not found". Oh, dear Lord, what did I do? I have ruined our brand new computer...ruined, I wail inside.
Believing that confession is healing and is a means of grace, I confess to Matt, hoping for some cure or grace to go on figuring it out. Frustrated with our purchase and each other, we go to bed, sadly lacking both grace and a cure.
The next morning a not very happy Matt devotes several of his study hours to trying his hand at sleuthing about on the internet and scouring the links on the Welcome page looking for our cure. About lunch time, he has a break through and downloads some Windows Vista update (even though I had already supposedly downloaded the Vista update...) that finally installs the correct, missing drivers for the wireless PCI card thingy and the video card. Why was it missing? Why didn't my update work? Some kind of thing like the inexplicable missing link in the evolution chain, I guess.
To all concerned about our marriage and livelihood after all this hassle and headache, thank you for your concern. Our Gateway is now working quite nicely and zipping along as it originally should have, so the reinstall, though incredibly painful, was successful after all. But we really should have known; PCs are simply not ready right out of the box. The stereotypes are stereotypes because they are true. Next time I want a Mac that I can lift out of the box and be amazed by its ease of use and my newfound coolness.