Windows 10 Anniversary update – success at last!

So a week after I first attempted to upgrade Windows 10, I have finally succeeded.

There are howls of frustration, shrieks of rage and threats of suicide all over the Internet by broken souls battling to download and install the upgrade, so I knew from the outset that the problem wasn’t me, or my computer.

I tried every solution suggested on every technical forum, clearing the cache, playing around with the command line and downloading a variety of files that were all ‘guaranteed’ to fix the problem, which they didn’t. In fact they seemed to create new ones, as my wifi network adapter stopped working, I couldn’t reach any websites, and the computer had almost come to a standstill. In fact it came to many standstills over the six days, either downloading to 99% and then going into a coma, or giggling “Oops, something has gone wrong!” and falling into the apples as the French say.


In case anybody should be reading this who is having a similar problem, here is how it worked for me.

First, I unplugged the computer. Actually pulled the plug out of the socket, and left it for an hour before reconnecting it.

Secondly a message popped up out of nowhere, saying that I needed to sign in to my Microsoft account, something I had forgotten I had and have certainly never used. I managed to find some scribbled details in a grubby little notebook that is falling to pieces, and duly signed in.

This time, when I started the download within a few minutes it was up to 35%. Previous attempts had taken up to 18 hours to reach 99%. Things were looking up. Our Internet connection is always very slow, but at least it was moving forward. And when it reached 100%, oh happy day! – it then verified the download – YAY! – started the installation and completed it.


Whether it was the unplugging of the computer, the signing into the Microsoft account, or just a fluke, I couldn’t say, but if all else has failed, give it a try.

Now, how to make the Epson printer use the big black cartridge instead of the little black one that it has emptied? I’d like to get this fixed, as the printer is now refusing to print, which meant I had to drive a 20 mile round trip yesterday to get two important documents photocopied. Another day, another challenge.

So, Epson, who have not responded to my polite call for help, take note:




THWednesday Word


Departmental Papers (ASC)

The word oxymoron is of Greek origin. It combines the word oxy (=sharp) and moron (=dull, stupid, foolish). Thus, oxymoron not only names a contradiction in terms, it is an oxymoron as well.

Microsoft Works” is often quoted as an oxymoron. Personally I have no problem with Microsoft. It has always worked for me.

I can’t think of anything more worthy of oxymoronic entitlement than “French after-sales-service.”  So elusive is this concept that when it is actually forthcoming, the world momentarily stops spinning and you have to poke yourself in the eye with a pointy stick to make sure that you are not dreaming. In the fifteen years we have lived here, only once have I had this surreal experience, and that was with a small local company who sell and hire tools and equipment. Our lawnmower failed after two years in service; I returned it asking for a quote for repairs, and heard nothing for eight months. When I eventually telephoned to enquire after it, they said a new mower had been awaiting collection for seven months. No, there must be a mistake, I said, our mower was only guaranteed for one year. No mistake at all, they insisted, they had replaced the mower with a new one.  To have expected them to telephone to let me know would perhaps have been expecting a little too much. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), we have remained faithful customers, and they never fail to deal with us politely and efficiently.

Sadly, they are so rare as to qualify as a species on the verge of extinction, if indeed it ever existed at all.

I remember the computer we bought from a major supermarket several years ago. When we brought it home – a drive of 50 kilometres, and plugged it in, it said helpfully: “No hard disk found.” Back it went (100 k round trip), brought home a new one that wouldn’t connect to the Internet. Took it back (another 100 k round trip), left it with them for three hours, assured by SAV that it had connected perfectly and was now working properly. Took it home, no Internet connection. Engineer sent out – found there was no modem in it. Took it back (another 100 k round trip), salesman hiding from me. Another salesman asked whether I actually had any experience of using computers, and whether I’d remembered to switch it on, because it was very strange that I was having so many problems when nobody else was. The saga continued for 8 months while I struggled in vain for a replacement that worked or a refund until I resorted to AFOC (a militant French consumer rights organisation) to get my money back.

About a year later I bumped into one of the staff from that department, now working in a different supermarket. He came over to introduce himself, and said that he had been embarrassed by the behaviour of his previous employers, as the entire batch of computers had been faulty, a situation of which they were well aware.

Since then we’ve had DVD recorders that didn’t record, a television that turned itself on during the early hours of the morning, toasters that didn’t toast, and now the 4-month-old espresso machine that doesn’t espress. Back it went yesterday, with receipt and guarantee card, to the local supermarket from where we bought it. Could we please, we asked, have a replacement or a refund to buy a new one.

Ah no, said the man, it would have to be sent away for repair. How long might that be? He shrugged. No idea, he replied airily, as if it didn’t matter whether or not it ever came back. We expressed our dissatisfaction that for an unknown duration we would be unable to make a nice espresso for ourselves or our guests, and asked if he thought it acceptable that a product should fail so soon, and that customers should have to suffer. He kept shrugging, pointing at the “procedures” book and saying there was nothing he could do. This seems to be standard procedure in France. He pointed to a box on the floor, containing a vacuum cleaner that had taken six weeks to repair. The owner was very unhappy, but what could he do? With the strike, he continued, it could take months for our coffee machine to return.

There is much that we don’t miss about living in England, and a few things that we do. And top of that list comes after sales service, English style, served with a smile, courtesy, efficiency and an understanding of the importance of keeping the customer satisfied.

Instant, anybody?

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