Friday, July 11, 2008

Microsoft Update and Zone Alarm: a Tribute to Tech Support

I didn't spend Wednesday morning of this week as I'd planned. A Microsoft Windows update and my household's firewall software (Zone Alarm) didn't get along, resulting in my being entirely cut off from the Internet.

If I'd just read the home page of Zone Alarm's publisher, I'd have known what was going on - but that's not a practical possibility when my browsers aren't allowed online. (More, at "ZoneAlarm Microsoft Update Cuts Internet Access " Apathetic Lemming of the North (July 9, 2008).)

Several crews are tearing up the street outside, so one possibility was that communications in general were down. Nope - the phone worked.

I called our telephone provider (Charter), assuming that the problem could be in the rather complicated data connections we enjoy these days. As it turned out, the house's modem was a bit temperamental, but once that was fixed, I still couldn't get online.

That's when the person at Charter tech support learned about the Microsoft update and Zone Alarm issue. Problem solved. Sort of.

It involved uninstalling that update - and having my computer trying to reset itself at annoyingly frequent intervals. But, at least I was online again.

Which, for a business that exists strictly in cyberspace, is rather important.

It's sort of like a business owner coming to work in the morning, and finding out that someone had changed the locks.

Why this post? Two things:

  1. I don't think tech support, and the people who work in that department, always get the positive feedback they deserve - This is a sort of 'Thank You'
  2. This little incident is a good illustration of how much businesses can rely on technology and infrastructure - communications infrastructure, in this case
Postscript - This morning, after collecting a bit of information and sleeping on it, I upgraded Zone Alarm. I should be good to go - for a while, at least.


Melinda said...


Thank you for your business! We're sorry for the inconvenience.

Melinda Byerley
Head of eCommerce

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


You're quite welcome!

Thanks for leaving your comment.

online stock broker said...

It seems to be very bad experience for you.

online stock broker

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

online stock broker,

Actually, not so much. I've got suspicion that you're a robot, but in case I'm wrong - and for the benefit of humans who read this - I'd like to clarify something.

The situation I describe in this post was very frustrating while it was going on, but it was nowhere close to being a "very bad experience."

In fact, some quite positive things came out of it: I learned to be sensitive to updates, and their possible effect on my computer; I learned that Zone Alarm reacted quickly to this situation - and probably will react quickly if faced with a similar issue; Besides, it gave me an excuse to write this post.

I have had very few 'very bad' situations in my life. Mostly because I insist on learning from what I experience.

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