PCs are great productivity tools – except when unexplained problems become time sinks, many of which in my personal experience arise from Microsoft. 

After reading recently in e-week and elsewhere about security problems in Office applications, I decided it was time to update my Office suite with Microsoft’s latest patches. (I last updated Office about 3 months ago; I have updates to my operating system set to run automatically but not for Office.) I ran the Office update from the Microsoft Update site. After re-starting Outlook, retrieving e-mail generated an error, as did trying to view my e-mail accounts. The pop-up box suggested there was a registry problem I should fix or do a re-install.

I ran a registry clean-up tool to no avail so I had to uninstall Office and re-install from disk. Things seem ok for now, but of course I face the quandry that if I try to upgrade with all the MS patches, will I end up with the same problem?

I’ve mentioned several productivity tips here before, but this is the dark underbelly of working with PCs. Being my own IT department, I sometimes spend way too much time fixing problems that should just not occur. I don’t do anything unusual with my PC; I keep it current and follow “good PC hygience” rules. Too bad I can’t bill Microsoft for the wasted time!