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November 2nd, 2007
01:27 pm
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throwaway mini-rant

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From:roaminrob
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
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At least Mac OS X makes its version information friggin' accessible. In all versions: Apple menu -> About This Mac.

Windows?

T.S.: "Do you know what version of Windows you're running?"
Customer: "Uhhh... I think it's Word Explorer 5."
T.S.: "Right. OK, click on the 'Start' menu in the lower left-hand corner, and ..."
Customer: "I don't see 'Start'."
T.S.: "Uh, OK. You must be running Vista then."
Customer: "OH WAIT! There it is, the lower left-hand corner."
T.S.: *headdesk headdesk headdesk*
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From:baxil
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
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"Alright, now click on 'Help and Support.' ... No? ... Okay, well let's get it out of the Control Panel then. Go back to the Start menu, and click on 'Control Panel'. ... You don't have Control Panel? Do you have 'Settings'? .... Okay then! That rules out almost everything. Click on 'My Computer' on the desktop ... nothing? Alright, maybe you renamed it. Is there something with a little picture of a computer screen? Great. Okay, click on that. Do you see 'Control Panel' there? Nifty! That narrows it down to Windows 95 or Windows 98, and we haven't even gotten to where I want to go yet!"
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From:roaminrob
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
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But wait! If you order now, there's more! We'll also include, at no additional charge:

T.S.: "OK, so let's look at your dialup connections. Click on 'Connect To'..."
Customer: "Don't see 'Connect To'."
T.S.: "Right. Click on Control Panel then. Now, in the top left corner, does it say 'Switch to Classic View', or does it say 'Switch to Category View'?"
Customer: "You used too many words there."
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From:baxil
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
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This is why I just ask, "So, at the top, does it say 'pick a category', or does it just give you a whole bunch of little individual icons?"

Unfortunately, this occasionally backfires:

T.S.: (question printed above)
Customer: "A whole bunch of individual little icons."
T.S.: "Alright, then find the one that says 'Network Connections.'"
Customer: "I don't see that. Did you mean 'Network and Internet Connections'?" [which is only in Category View]
T.S.: "Um, yes." *headdesk*

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From:roaminrob
Date:November 3rd, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
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And then!

T.S.: "OK, now, what's listed under 'Dial-up'?"
Customer: "Uhh... 1394 Connection."

...Unless it's Vista, in which case you're just screwed, 'cause none of the above works and instead you have to navigate all through the hideous "Manage Network Connections" crap.
(Deleted comment)
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From:necama
Date:November 3rd, 2007 06:43 am (UTC)
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It's even more convoluted than that -- win NT/2000 was an entirely separate line of kernels, and more of XP comes from that than from win 95/98/ME. But a significant portion comes from the 95/98 line, so it's more of the bastard hybrid son of two entirely different kernel architectures.
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From:pyxaron
Date:November 3rd, 2007 09:41 am (UTC)
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I've seen it go that way too often.

But seriously, the way i've always done it is: "Press and hold down the windows key, and press the r key while keeping the windows key down. A window where you can type something in should appear. Let go of both keys now. Type "w" "i" "n" "v" "e" "r". Then press enter."

So far, except for one that had a keyboard without the windows key, worked every time.
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From:baxil
Date:November 4th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC)
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That's a useful one to remember.
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From:roaminrob
Date:November 4th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I did not know about that. That's a neat trick. Thank you!
From:mithent
Date:November 3rd, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
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Windows does have a consistent place where the version information is found, in System Properties at the top right - but it's not necessarily going to be easy to get them there if they can't find the Start button. Start+Pause/Break on the keyboard works, but somehow I don't think that would be easier.
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From:roaminrob
Date:November 3rd, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
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I assume that by System Properties, you mean the System item in the Control Panel. And, yeah, that's all well and good, except that getting a user to go there sorta requires some knowledge about what version of Windows they're running, because the instructions for getting there change from one version to the next (and even change within versions, as in the massively idiotic 'Category View' versus 'Classic View').

By the time I got the user to open the System properties, I'd know what version of Windows they were running by process of elimination.

Tech support here has been a real brain shift for me; I'm used to interacting with people that can find their own way to the Control Panel in any version of Windows without specific instructions, even when those people aren't what I'd consider to be 'computer people'. What I've actually found is that there are a great number of people that are so mystified by computers that they require exceptionally specific instructions, require that you use absolutely nothing in the way of technical jargon (words like "window" and "button"), and have trouble finding keys on the keyboard even when you verbally navigate for them.
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