Writing tools

Adventures with Microsoft (episode 294)

I failed the Apple quiz.

But then, I’m not really an Apple fan, although I do like the iPad as an eReader. I’m a Microsoft user from way back. Sometimes I think I’m the only person in the world who likes their products, but Word is still my favourite word processor by a long way.

I’ve been using Office 365 ever since it was introduced, and it took a while but I really got to like OneDrive.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud service, where you can store files online and access them anywhere you have access to the internet. Think DropBox or Google Drive.

It’s fabulous when you’re writing together, because both authors can work on the same manuscript at the same time. It’s especially ideal when you’re fine-tuning the story in those last weeks before sending the finished product away, or when you get the edited version back and want to work through the edits together.

Plus, it stores an off-line copy of the document you are working on, and synchronises it when you’re back on line.

It had some weird habits, like sometimes reinserting deleted text, so you’d get sections with duplicates, and some other strange stuff, but in general, it worked well.

Best of all, both Sherylyn and I can link to the same OneDrive files no matter which computer we are using.

Along came Windows 10

Windows 10 was introduced mid-year.

I work in IT. I know not to download an untried operating system while it’s still buggy. I know to check to see if my computer is compatible, even when the little “Hey, Windows 10 is here, do you want to download it” message keeps popping up on my laptop.

Yet one day I foolishly click the button. Long story short—bad idea. Windows 10 won’t load. So I revert to Windows 8.1.

My laptop has never been the same. I have to close it down completely now because it runs hot all the time if I don’t. It takes minutes (literally) to save a file onto the c: drive, even though it only takes seconds when I save the same file onto a USB port.

Worst of all, it killed my OneDrive.

I can see the files, I can click on them, but the files won’t open. I can open them from other computers. If I log into OneDrive I can open them from there. I just can’t open the files in Word.

I do everything I can think of. Uninstall and reinstall Office 365, uninstall and reinstall OneDrive. Log out of my account, log into my account. You name it, I try it.  I google it, naturally, and find other people who’ve had similar problems. But no solution.

But wait, there’s more

Finally, I go to Microsoft support. They have a service where you can talk to an online representative to help solve your problem.

I wait for half an hour. “You’re in the queue. There is one person in front of you.” I use the time to write up a summary of the problem, including the links and solutions I had tried.

It times out in the end.

I start the whole process again.  I finally connect with the help desk and paste in my tale of woe.

“I’ll look into it,” the operator says.

I wait, and wait some more. And wait some more.

Eventually, I get a message. ‘Ticket was closed’.

So I go through the whole process a third time.

This time we get further. The operator logs onto my laptop remotely. She looks at OneDrive, checks things there. “OneDrive is working fine,” she says.

“It’s only OneDrive files in Office,” I say. “It’s when I try to open the file in Office, or when I click on a file in Windows Explorer to open it.”

There’s no answer.

I wait. Then, over in the message box, I see the message—’ticket was closed’.


I still haven ‘t got OneDrive back to normal. Right now, I’m preparing myself for a fourth attempt at the support line.

4 replies on “Adventures with Microsoft (episode 294)”

You have a lot of patience! I made the same mistake (my wife asked “Why did you do that?!”) System was so buggy after that, similar to what you described. I finally downloaded a newer version of W10, and somehow, after a few more slowdowns and hangups, it worked itself out. Oh yeah, I did disable a bunch of stuff from starting automatically – via Task Manager. Maybe that did it.

One will never know.

Mine’s gradually working itself out too. Little by little by little. Same process you went through (installed later version, disable some stuff).

I can’t believe how much we’d come to rely on OneDrive though. For two writers, working on the same document, losing that Office functionality … it cut our productivity by half.

Which is another thing. I think it’s cool that you can collaborate on these novels as you do. You must have similar writing styles, and it must be helpful to have each other to bounce ideas off of and edit each other’s work.

I really enjoyed “Linesman” and have pre-ordered “Alliance”. Looking forward to its release.

So true. We’re at the stage now where we find it difficult to write on our own, because we’re so used to bouncing the ideas off, and the editing.

Glad you enjoyed Linesman. We’ve just received the ARCs (unproofed copies) for Alliance. It’s starting to feel like a real book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *