Friday, February 11, 2011

OK, McAfee, you win

When you spend as much time in front of a computer as I do, a computer crash can be a very unbalancing thing.

The McAfee Security Center subscription that came with my desktop computer expired today and I decided to replace it with a free copy of Bitdefender Internet Security I got awhile back.

Some of you can see where this is going already.

Realizing that two anti-virus programs can’t coexist, I went to Control Panel and the Uninstall Programs section to remove McAfee. It launched the proprietary McAfee uninstall program, which offered me a last chance to renew my subscription, then went through the uninstall routine. When it finished, it told me to reboot to complete the process.

I clicked OK and Windows 7 went into shut-down mode, presenting me with a Windows is Shutting Down screen… that remained on my monitor for more than 10 minutes.

I went to Maria’s computer and played several games of Free Cell while I waited for the computer to shut down and restart.

Finally, I decided it was hung up (terrible mistake) and did a forced shutdown by holding the power button down for several seconds.

When I turned the computer back on, I found it wouldn’t boot to Windows. Or at least it wouldn’t boot to Windows as quickly as I expected. So I fiddled around with Boot Options (F12) and eventually launched the Windows Startup rescue software. It presumably reset my configuration to a date prior to this morning’s fuck-up and took about 15 minutes. Eventually, it initiated startup and got as far as the Windows 7 startup screen. Then the screen went black. And it stayed black.

By this time, I was close to freak-out, so I went downstairs for a cup of coffee and to do some laundry, thinking it was time to call my computer wizard buddy Tim in Colorado for some help.

When I came back up to the office about a half-hour later, I fully expected to see the same black screen. Instead, there was my logon screen, waiting patiently for me to enter my password.

Password entered, Windows 7 launched and apparently everything is working properly. I just launched my tax software and confirmed the tax calculations I did a few days ago are still there, awaiting some final tweaks before I e-file our Federal and Arkansas returns.

Also, McAfee Security Center was still there. Not wanting to press my luck, I caved in and bought another year’s subscription.

And wonder whether this is what McAfee meant to happen all along…

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