Friday, November 21, 2008

Microsoft - Not Responding

I had an unveiling experience. I was working on getting a piece of code working since morning. It was evening and I had just cracked the code (written in VBA embedded in Excel 2003). The joy and excitement was extreme. There was a point when I had completely given up and thought that probably I will have to do it in some other way (which I deemed less efficient). So when it finally got cracked and I saw my code working, I was literally in the seventh heaven. I think, when we feel so happy with ourselves, we do end up doing something stupid the next moment. I was no different. I became a little too ambitious and made some other changes only to realise that my Excel was ‘not responding’. Phew! For heaven’s sake tell me that this is a bad nightmare; that after a couple of minutes of mental agony, this ‘not responding’ ghost on my Excel will go away; that I would be able to retrieve my code I had painstakingly worked on since morning. Someone please tell me this.

In the next couple of minutes I frantically googled starting from “how to save a ‘not responding’ file” or “how to retrieve a document” to the extent of “help on using Excel 2003”. There was some Microsoft help which directed me to go to

Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Office Tools -> Microsoft Office Application Recovery

But as guessed by most of you, I did not have this feature in my machine. I asked the colleague beside me to search (thinking probably insanity had taken over me that I can’t even find Microsoft Office tools), but it was not there in his machine either. Helpless! Demotivated! The grief of having wasted the whole day was worse than having to reproduce the gory code.

I tried looking for ways in which I can contact Microsoft to get some help on this. A Google for ‘contact Microsoft’ led to a Support Microsoft page. I then ticked options for the next few pages to specify with which product (Excel 2003) I had a problem. I was calming down a little during this process, felt some ray of hope. Only to be led to a page wherein I was asked £46 (including VAT) for an e-mail request or a phone support. Gosh! I heard myself screaming! I could not believe it.

A simple google of ‘Contact Google’ leads to so many phone numbers/email-ids/address using which one can contact them. While I found no way in which I could contact Microsoft (for free). I have never fancied their “Was this information helpful?” question with every help they provide, and after this no-way-to-contact-Microsoft-experience, I can only see myself fancying it lesser.

After this long struggle, I finally gave up. I vowed to click on ‘save’ after every significant code line that I would write in future. Dejected I pressed, Ctrl-Alt-Del. The task manager popped up. An ‘End Now’ to the ‘Not Responding’ Excel. Couple of seconds and the irritating message box “You chose to end the nonresponsive program, Microsoft Office Excel." Don’t Send. Everything was over! Sigh!!

While I was opening the Excel sheet again, I prayed that I have not forgotten the important bits of the code which I will need to write again; told myself what a wasteful day I had, and what a torture it would be to write the code all over again. Excel opened. I opened the module to start writing the code again, only to find it already there. I must have clicked the ‘save’ button at some point before I ran the code and before it decided ‘not to respond’. My day was just saved!

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