Microsoft Word failed me last week. I could no longer save files or continue using the program once I tried. In every instance I got what I call the spinning beachball of death. (external link) After that I’d have to force quit the application. (I’m on a Mac.) The problem is still not completely solved but I am coping with it. Here are some things that are getting me through this.
A Google Docs account
Google Docs (external link) permits you to open and save Word documents. You can keep working on your most important files while you’re troubleshooting. Google Docs may not have all the features of Word but it has a good set of basics.
I’ve recommended Dropbox (internal link) many times before. Your files are stored in the cloud so you can easily access them from another computer. When your computer is tied up with a bug or virus you do not want to be shuttling files from one computer to another computer that isn’t infected.
Using My Laptop
I have both a desktop and a laptop. My laptop was unaffected so I was able to work on that machine when I needed to. Word is part of Microsoft Office. A personal license gives you five installs, so it costs you nothing more to have Word on a laptop than it does on your desktop.
Get Plenty of Paper
I’ve been in touch with both Mcafee and Microsoft. Talking to each will require extensive notes and taking down case numbers and telephone numbers. Write down the names of any reps who help you.
Switch to Text Messages or Online Chat Sessions
Unfortunately, your representative may have an accent that doesn’t allow you to easily understand them. Online chat sessions work best for me. There’s less confusion for them, too, since they don’t have to try to understand you. And you have a written record of what is going on.
Get all Your Passwords In Order
Most likely the representative will want to take control of your desktop. Make sure you have all your passwords available so you don’t waste time looking them up. They can only go as fast as you allow them.
Get a Credit Card Ready
You may have to buy into a virus removal service so be ready. I paid $129 to McAfee for this, as well as a year of tech support. They ultimately found no virus on my computer, however, they have been trying to find a solution that lies beyond a virus.
Set up a Second User Account
On a Mac you can have a number of users. Like if you are sharing the computer with a family member. Everyone gets their own account and uses a different password. Mcafee had me set up a separate account like this and when I did, Microsoft worked again. Well, for fifteen minutes. When a program on a Mac no longer responds, this is still a good method to try.
Set Aside a Large Block of Time
McAfee and Microsoft spent at least five hours controlling my desktop. You have to be prepared to wait it out with them, so you can provide passwords and answer questions when needed.
Test Any Fix or Solution By Turning Your Computer On and Off
Before you discontinue that chat session or end that phone call, reboot to see what happens. Word is working for me now but I haven’t shut down my computer. I’ll do that after I’ve finished some writing and at some point when I can spare the time to resume troubleshooting.