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Google solved Microsoft's problem for me

Google solved Microsoft's problem for me

My own experience with Windows 10. Crisis averted by Google Drive. Thank you Google!

Published on
December 2016

I work from home. This really means that “I work from train” or “I work from Regus offices around the country”. I use a Dell Precision laptop running Windows 10. There are currently only two us in my team, so we don’t have a massive IT infrastructure. Just a couple of laptops and a free server on Azure! We use Google Apps for Work to host our email. We also get 30GB of file storage each on Google Drive. This means we can access our files from anywhere, including on the train!

I recently had what can only be described as “a Microsoft moment”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Microsoft hater, or basher. I love Microsoft Office. Yes, I have a mug that says “I love spreadsheets”. It was a gift from a co-worker, I always hurriedly explain! No, it really was. Thank you, Simon, by the way. At work, we also exclusively use SQL Server, Visual Studio and a host of other Microsoft products. But Windows 10 irks me. I’m irked by it.

I'm not a Microsoft hater… I have a mug that says "I love spreadsheets"

Anyway, I digress. My “Microsoft Moment” happened last week. I turned on my laptop and waited the requisite time for it to load. Which means: “longer than Windows 7”. This time though, things looked different. My menu had returned to factory default, and all my desktop icons had gone. I then got a friendly little message informing me that Windows had created a temporary profile for me, and that perhaps if I tried turning it off and on again it might work better next time. I tried this. It did not work better. I tried it again. Still all gone.

I Googled the problem. It happens all the time, apparently. The single file on the computer that stores my profile was “in use” so couldn’t be opened. The common advice: admit defeat and create another profile. Start from scratch, create a new user profile (called something different of course) and go about getting it back to how you like it. Reinstall any apps, add-ins etc. I later found out that this was bad advice, and that a “restart” rather than “shut down” may have fixed the problem. But by that point I had gone too far, and it didn’t work for me.

This is where I was pleasantly surprised. So, my first job was to re-install Google Drive on my machine. Suddenly the problem didn’t seem so dire… I watched as all my files returned to their proper place, as if they had never gone. Yes, we have a strict policy of saving files to the corporate Google Drive.

I then went on to reinstall Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook (cutely abbreviated to “GASMO”). And again, I watched as it created a new Outlook profile and populated it with all my emails.

I then logged in to Google Chrome, and, as if by magic, all my shortcuts, history and even installed extensions fell in to place as they synced with my Google account.

A horrendous flaw in a Microsoft product, solved by Google.

I did lose a few bits: time tracking, Excel Add-ins, Office Themes, Office Templates, shortcuts etc. But I was back up and running within a couple of hours. As if nothing had happened. Needless to say, we have amended our policies, so that everything gets backed-up to the companies Google Drive now. We’re prepared for next time! Thank you, Google.

Obviously this article represents my own experiences and opinions. Your experience may vary. If you have had a good or bad experience with Microsoft or Google, please do share it in the comments section below.

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About Middlestone

Middlestone Business Analysis helps small businesses achieve more with their existing resources. We help reorganise operations, automate tasks and install customised processes and systems to keep small businesses organised and to speed up administrative work. To learn more, visit our services page.

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