I was setting up a new laptop, and it was a Windows system laptop. I guess that means the Microsoft spy tentacles are already buried all over the place.
But then the Microsoft spy tentacles wanted to ensnare themselves even further — way more than I wanted. Have you ever tried to configure a brand-new Windows laptop, just to reach the point where it demands that you sign into Microsoft Live during the set up? I guess some people like Microsoft Live, because it’s supposed to give you a way to back-up your files on your computer onto the Microsoft “cloud”, and … I’m not sure what else it does. Microsoft makes it sound like you will absolutely die if you don’t sign up for it. But I think it’s really just their way to get their tentacles around all your private information.
Any case, the last time I configured a brand-new laptop, a few years ago, I was presented with the option to create a Microsoft Live account … but it was just an option. So I skipped it.
But this time around, there was no option to skip, which made me really mad. They have no right to force you to create a Microsoft Live account just because you’re using the Windows system. What should have been an easy set-up job turned into a circus. I had to get out an older device and start googling how to get around the Microsoft Live set-up. No one on google had any good suggestions, except to create the account, and then go through complicated steps to cancel it.
But then one website suggested, just turn your Internet off. If there’s no Internet, then the Microsoft Live set-up can’t proceed — you can’t get the outerworldly spy tentacles slurping from your private affairs. I liked that. If I had known, I would have not connected to the Internet when I’d been prompted by the set-up. But now it was too late, I was already connected and just like there was no option to skip the Microsoft Live account creation, there was no option to un-connect from the Internet.
I ended up walking like a quarter of a mile, carrying the laptop, away down the road from where I was, just so I could escape the pull of the wireless Internet. Mind you, normally, all I have to do is take one step into the yard and the Internet throws a fit: sorry, you’re outside the bounds of the wifi perimeter, no more Internet for you! But this time, I walked out the front steps … still connected. I walked out into the yard … still connected. I walked to the yard in the back, still connected. I walked to the furthest corner out front, still connected. All of a sudden, when the Microsoft Live account set-up was at stake, the Internet refused, simply refused, to disconnect. I had to walk all the way down the road and cross a bridge before the Internet gave up. Finally out of the Internet range, I was able to proceed with the set-up all the way, and I got out of creating a Microsoft Live account.
Before doing all this, though, I did something that I was a little scared of doing; I pressed down on the laptop power button to force the laptop to shut down. I was scared of doing that right in the middle of set-up; what if forcing the laptop off during such a fragile time of birth would cause irreparable harm? But nothing untoward happened. And I could see no other solution — I was stuck at the page demanding that I sign up with Microsoft Live. There was no option to go back, there was no option to skip. After about 20 minutes of hemming and hawing, during which all the excitement over the new toy vanished, I finally forced the laptop to close. When I opened it back up, I was back at the start of the configuration process, and I was able to complete it safely (while hiked out over the bridge out of Internet range).
So I did all that, and configured the laptop without signing into MS Live. But then came a new problem! It seems like there is a new rule that if you have Microsoft Office on your device (so MS Word, Excel, etc), you can no longer use it if you do not create that dreaded MS Live account! Can this really be true? Everything seemed to indicate that this was the case, so while I had bought a license for MS Office, I returned it without opening it, and the laptop remains MS Live-free. I’ve been able to get away with it because I have access to other computers with MS Office already installed. But can it really be that the new conditions for using Microsoft Word and Excel is that you must create a Live account?
I’ve been testing out the open-source software, OpenOffice, in the meantime. The Excel version kept crashing. I don’t like it too much. I thought about Google docs and Google spreadsheets, but they steal your information, too, and you have to have Internet to access your files. WordPad, which just automatically comes on Windows computers, is a nice alternative if you are just making notes for yourself, and not really doing anything super formal. But I don’t have a long-term solution so far.