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When idiot proof installations go wrong

BT finally switched on broadband access to the cottage yesterday and sent me their latest wireless router by way of apology. Which was nice as the nearest phone point is nowhere near the computer. What I found interesting about the literature for the router is that Page 1 is holder for the install CD and page 2 starts with ‘Once you have installed your router’ assuming that the installation is idiot-proof. Which it isn’t.

The CD autoruns a very nice set of animated instructions covering what a USB cable is, what a microfilter does and what is going to be installed next but what it doesn’t do very well is allow you to reverse the process if you think you’ve done something wrong. In my case, I gave the installer the username and password associated with my old account and which were therefore not valid. This info is asked for in step 5, then the software is installed, the computer reboots and the CD picks up at step 6 which tells you to insert the cables and then step 7 tries to connect up to the internet. This failed for me because my uid and password were wrong. “Oops,” the installer says, “try looking at our help docs to troubleshoot the problem.” Funnily enough, none of the docs suggest how to tell the router to try a different uid and password combination, so we close that down, the router doesn’t work and there’s no net connection. Reaccess the CD and it restarts at step 7, tries to connect up, fails and so on. Grrr.

So I try uninstalling the software that has been installed - seems reasonable - restart the machine for good luck and put the CD back in. Which starts again at step 7 and tries connecting to the internet!! Eventually I find I need to reset a registry key - which keeps track of which step the CD starts at - back to one before the installer starts from scratch again. Now honestly, if you’re on a BT calldesk, how would you describe that to a non-techie person over the phone. “You need to run a program called regedit sir…“ Yikes.

Of course it wouldn’t have been an issue if I had put the right pwdcombination into the installer in the first place, but BT really need to test their install CDs better for general user brainfarts during installation. All I wanted was to start the installer again from step 1 or be able to reset that combo. Registry editing should not have been involved.

Posted on April 21, 2006   #Geek Stuff  

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