31 March 2009

We have a fully functioning new computer...

...in German.


We recently purchased a new desktop computer to replace our barely functioning notebook. My notebook was getting so bad, that most of the letters had faded off the keys, the Z key went missing, the left mouse button only worked when it felt like it, and there were many many things I could no longer do on my laptop. It was time for the old girl to be retired.


Generally we put a lot of research and thought into a purchase of this size. However, as it happens our new computer ended up being a total impulse purchase. We happened to be in Le Buffet the restaurant at the top of Karstadt Hauptbahnhof Saturday night. As I was heading for the escalators, I went by the computer section noticing that many of their computers were on sale at a fraction of their original cost, and before we left, I dragged Paul back through the computer section.


We talked to the computer sales person for awhile, and he showed us a couple models to choose between. We decided to go home and talk about it, and come back the following weekend to make our purchase. However, for some reason, we decided to turn around right then and go back and make the purchase. It ended up being the last model other than the display model, they had in the store. The poor sales guy was trying to go home, and the store was closing, but the manager decided to let us purchase it anyways.


After we lugged it home, or Paul lugged it home via S-Bahn, bus and trail, in a drizzling rain, we were too exhausted to unpack it and set it up. The following morning, we tried to set up a computer in a language we barely know. Not only were we trying to translate German, but we were trying to translate German computer speak, or more specifically German Microsoft speak which is confusing enough on its own.


The first thing we tried to do was change the operating language from German to English, not realizing that you can't do that in Windows Vista Home operating system without an upgrade and purchasing a language pack. We did manage to change the keyboard to a US English keyboard, which isn't helpful at all since it's a German keyboard. I also managed to accidentally delete the German keyboard settings, which Paul somehow magically fixed.


Next we tried the Internet. So far, we've been able to just plug in our USB cable into my laptop and Paul's work laptop without a problem; this wasn't the case with the new computer. The new computer kept saying it didn't recognize the network. So after doing a snails paced search on the Internet, we uncovered all kinds of problems that people have had with their Internet and Windows Vista, and the network card. We also called a couple of our computer nerd friends and family, but they weren't able to help us either.


We were dreading contacting Karstadt, and HP to try and resolve the issue through broken German, but Paul was going to do suffer through it, and he was going to lug the new computer back to the store so they could show him how to fix the problem. He emailed HPs support desk and gave them my contact info so they could contact me during the day. So today after I received HPs email, I logged on to the new computer to tell the the exactly error message we were getting, and suddenly the Internet was working!


I have no idea how it resolved itself, and I don't care. Now if I can just get used to the German keyboard.