Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Adventures in Microsoft”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, August 12, 2020

After three weeks of lost access to Word and Excel, I finally got the help I needed. I had one more month before my annual Office 365 subscription expired, but I was so fed up with Office 365 that I didn’t want to waste another second using it. 

After my Office Home & Student 2019 software arrived, I installed it and began using it immediately. I was in control of Word and Excel again! Yay! Until one day, when that ugly pestering banner appeared at the top of my Word doc and on my Excel spreadsheet, reminding me that my Office 365 subscription was about to expire and for me to renew. I could ‘X’ it closed, but every time I opened the app, the banner would reappear. I tweaked around and managed to get rid of that banner, so I thought. Office 365 continued to be a pain like the Hotel California, where you could check out any time, but you could never leave. After I did my Mac OS upgrade, that nasty banner reappeared everywhere! It’s like the temp from hell, who you can’t get rid of. This time, in my attempt to rid of it, I was not so fortunate. I have no idea what I did, but suddenly, my Word and Excel functionality greyed out on me. There was no resolution in sight, regardless of where I looked or what I attempted to do. I Googled and learned that many, and I mean many, users experienced the same situation I was experiencing. Alas, their solutions didn’t work for me, as it was often in the Mac world where it didn’t work.

I surfed around Microsoft’s website, hoping for a ‘Live Chat’ option but found none. At one point, I found a ‘Contact Us’ and clicked on it. It was an email to Microsoft, which got me a case #. I was elated and waited on pins and needles for a tech to respond. It turned out I could’ve walked to China and back and wouldn’t have missed their response. Five days later, I finally got an email that dumped the responsibility back on to my lap, saying that they hadn’t heard from me and if my problem was resolved to let them know so that they could close the case. I immediately emailed them back that this was the first response I received for this case, and yes, I still need help. I had to follow up with them again two days later, but I have not heard a peep back to date.

This week, I made it my priority to try reaching someone from Microsoft to get my case rolling. I lucked out and found a phone # (800) 642-7676, where I drilled down the automated system and got a live person who, unfortunately, couldn’t help me with my kind of problem, but she would transfer me to the team who could. Yes! There was little lag time before Jessa Trina picked up my call and began the mending process.

It turned out calling them was my only solution as Jessa spent an hour and ten minutes working on resolving this one teeny tiny little problem that stemmed from Office 365 not letting me go. The problem was, usually, once you install a standalone Office package, the new license trumps the old license and replaces everything in your hard drive wiping out Office 365 from memory. That’s how it’s technically supposed to work. In my case, it probably was because I installed the new software before Office 365 expired. However, from the online community complaints about the same problem, I was having, and because Jessa said this was a common problem that she services, I feel it’s more a quality control issue with Microsoft than anything else. 

What began as an easy fix, required Jessa three attempts to delete both the Office 365 and the 2019 licenses, uninstalling both apps, and finally reinstalling my 2019 software before Office 365 finally released hold of my hard drive. I was so glad that Jessa shared my screen and did all those tasks while I was watching instead of having me be her hands while she talked me through the process. She had to search my file manager to locate where my 2019 was installed. She asked me, but did I have a clue? No. When I did the install, I followed the instructions on the box, and voila, done. Did I bother to figure out where it was installed? No. I don’t see why that would have dawned on me to check that. Isn’t that why the tech folks get paid the big bucks?

That tech call was free but was worth every penny had I paid for it. Jessa fixed my problem and answered all my questions that I had about the Microsoft world in general. I learned how Microsoft works. I always thought I had to use my Hotmail whenever using Microsoft products. Don’t ask me why I thought that. My pea brain told me to do that from the start, so I did. I regret it because that email’s not my primary account anymore, but now all of my Office documents are tied to that email. Jessa said if I were still an Office 365 subscriber, she could transfer all of my files to another email address; however, since I signed up for my 2019 software with Hotmail, the license is linked to that email address and cannot be changed or transferred. I wish they had a disclaimer or footnote alerting us on stuff like this. Considering my dilemma, she didn’t recommend that I change my email at all, else I wouldn’t be able to sync my files between OneDrive and my 2019 apps.  

I’ve been pulling out my hair whenever I had to change my password regarding Microsoft, and thanks to Jessa, now I understand why. I never knew that if I changed my Hotmail password, it would automatically change my OneDrive password and vice versa. All products in the Microsoft suite included the auto-password change—Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneDrive. OneNote, and Skype. However, adding to my confusion, it turns out that my OneNote was excluded from this license because it was the free version that I’ve been using from day one; therefore, it had a separate password. Did I lose you now? 

When Jessa said she had to delete my Office apps from my hard drive and she drilled down all the apps, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. When she mentioned Outlook, I freaked because I didn’t want her messing with my Outlook since deleting the app sounded like I’d have to recreate all my email accounts afterward. She was very thorough. I lucked out with this exceptional tech. She looked at my Outlook and told me that what I thought was Outlook was not the Microsoft Outlook but rather the Mac mail system Outlook. Oh, okay, nice to know. All this time, I thought that Outlook was Outlook. I had no idea there was more than one.

I didn’t renew my Office 365 subscription because that meant Word and Excel were online. I could open a document to my desktop and work there; however, it saves to OneDrive online. If I didn’t have internet, I had no access to any of my files or to use Word or Excel. So much for going to a coffee shop and opening Word to write. That was how I quickly realized the problem with Office 365 and that it wasn’t going to work me. There were other complaints, but that’s neither here nor there.

When I told Jessa this, she explained that I could access my OneDrive files without internet access if I docked OneDrive to my desktop, which she did for me. She showed me how I could easily download my files to my hard drive via the right-click option to ‘Always Keep on this Device.’ If I change my mind, I right-click and choose the ‘Free Up Space’ option, and the files return to the cloud in OneDrive. 

After I hung up and looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes were bloodshot, and my face was flushed, which was the result of the hour-long data dump into my pea brain. It was time well spent, and I am forever richer in knowledge because of Jessa, my Microsoft tech hero.

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