Geek Kid to the Rescue!

Geek Culture

I had a perfect storm of difficulties last week, which included but were not confined to a old kitty finally passing away, a sick child in the middle of the night, and a writing deadline nearly destroyed by a problem with MS Word 07.

There wasn’t much to be done about the first two items but it turns out I had an ace in the hole on the Word issue: the son I refer to jokingly as my tech genius minion.

The tech minion, in a rare moment away from the computer The tech minion, in a rare moment away from the computer

The tech minion, in a rare moment away from the computer

My Office 07 was basically sent on the fritz by a Microsoft update that didn’t install properly. Every time I opened a document, I got a little “program being installed” box.

First, I tried to uninstall the entire program, so I could reinstall from the disc.

No go. It won’t uninstall, it won’t let a new install override it.

Second: System Restore. That didn’t work either.

So I asked around for help and got some excellent advice from a tech-savvy friend, which was to download Windows Installer Clean Up Utility.

So far, so good. That seemed exactly suited to my problem.

But the Utility program wouldn’t run. Back to square one.

With a deadline looming and my documents still locked shut on me, I became desperate. First, I emailed the edits I needed to finish over to the daughter’s computer. (There were howls of protest at lack of access to her IM buddies.)

Then I installed Open Office on my computer.

Problem temporarily solved by going around it.

But when I rebooted the computer the next morning, Open Office wouldn’t work either.

At this point, I was ready to go out and buy a Mac. (Except I don’t have the money for a new computer.) Instead, I was likely going to have to bite the bullet and resort to a MS chat help session, which would cost money, or take it to my local computer tech, which would also cost me money and I wouldn’t have the computer.

And then along came the youngest son, age ten.

He’s the guy who installed Linux on his own computer and takes out tech manuals from the library to read for fun.

Son: Ma, right click on the icon of the Utility Clean Up program and select “Run As Administrator.”

Me: Okay. What the heck. Worth a try.

It worked.

With the help of the Clean Up program, I was able to uninstall Office 07, then reinstall from the original disc.

Me: How the heck did you know about right clicking and running a program as administrator?

Son: Oh, I read about that in Maximum PC magazine.

I gave him a Dark Chocolate Reeses Peanut Butter Cup as a reward. I got off cheap. But he says he’s planning to remind me when he wants a new computer of his own.

And I’m very glad I paid for the magazine subscription.

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