The 5-year old Dell died with a struggle. It was getting “thermal events” up until the end. We tore it open. The inside was mercifully clean of dust. We had stopped at Best Buy to pick up a can of compressed air on the way to my sister-in-law’s house. Amazingly, the compressed air wasn’t needed. I complimented her on keeping a very neat house.

There appeared to be no way to resurrect it. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that a new laptop appealed to my sister-in-law more than the potential cost of handing it over from amateurs to professionals with professional fees.

She is a typical non-geek computer user. She thinks that the favorites stored in IE are actually in her Yahoo home page. She wouldn’t be able to tell a Word from an Excel document. Hopefully, that is the future of most computer users and we can soon all forget this esoteric, geeky stuff about printer drivers and Office vs Google Docs, etc, ad naseum.

iTunes music, crossword puzzle programs, favorites, cookies, and a few documents. That’s all we had to rescue from the hard drive. Let’s make it really easy for her, we thought. Let’s hook her disk into one of our computers, boot from it, run the Microsoft Settings and Transfer Wizard, and we’re done. But no. Microsoft detected an activation error and wouldn’t let us log into her account.

OK, Microsoft. You win. I don’t want to fight your activation battles anymore. We had already ordered her a Windows 7 Lenovo laptop for less than $500. That is the last PC I’m buying or recommending. It’s Apple MacBooks, Mac Minis and iPads for all my friends and relatives from now on.