I. Computers of the Past and Present
Ever since my two Apple computers blew up (literally) twelve years ago, I’ve been using Dells. One is an Inspiron 540 Tower, which has never been on the Internet and runs like a dream. Fast, with nary a glitch. (Knock on wood!) I typically write content on my virgin Tower, print the content out on the attached Dell black-and-white, high volume printer, copy the file to a DVD, and transfer it over to the present Internet computer. In twelve years, I’ve replaced the motherboard and the clock battery. It won’t last forever, I know, so I periodically copy all the files to a rewritable DVD and put the dated DVD in a drawer. For now, I’m completely happy with the arrangement.
The second is an Inspiron laptop, which I briefly used as my Internet computer until some very big, very bad virus took the whole laptop down. The whole machine blacked out. I logged off the Internet and the laptop is so extremely good, it totally restored itself. It’s attached to an HP Laserjet scanner, color printer, and copier that is simplicity itself to use. I now use the laptop and the HP for graphics, including covers for ebooks and for print books published by Bast Books. Visit for our beautiful covers, some twenty-two of them.
That meant I needed to fill the Internet gap with another computer. Seven years ago, I invested in a Dell 2020 All-in-One and a Canon Pixma scanner and color printer. The Pixma is crap as a printer, slow and guzzling ink (which is probably why it was on sale for a hundred bucks). But the printer produces good prints. I mostly use the My Image Garden subprogram which crops and fusses around with photographs I take with my cheap little Sony camera. In fact, I use the photo cropping function a lot.
II. Trouble Looms
Meanwhile, in seven years, even though I had various programs through AOL that purported to clean and protect the computer, I’d inadvertently acquired a number of malware programs and unnecessary programs. One night, in late January 2020, I turned the Dell on. The Start Up took a long time and when I got to the screen, I couldn’t get any functions to work! I tried a System Restore, which took hours to run—and failed.
I have often used a neighborhood computer repair store located in a busy shopping district. Not only are people flocking in (one rude man butted ahead of me though I was there first), not only do they have dozens of computers awaiting repair in their back room, but the parking is hideous. After the Attack, I can’t walk very well, so I would have to drop my husband off with computer and find a place to park nearby. Everything is metered and the parking meters are only good for fifteen minutes. The last time we brought the Tower in to have the motherboard replaced (BTW, I researched and found a Dell phone number for spare parts, so I ordered the motherboard myself), we were late returning to the meter and were stuck with a $45 parking ticket.
And the 2020 began to fail on an early Saturday, the busiest time for the shopping district. So I took out the Yellow Pages (yes, it’s good to have a print telephone book in case you can’t get on the Internet to look something up!), and lo! there were several computer repair specialists who make house calls.
I picked the ad that said they were Dell specialists and called the number. Within twenty minutes, the tech called me back, listened to my description of what was happening. Within the hour (on a Saturday afternoon!), he was at my home, at my computer, and running diagnostics.
He showed me the results: the hard drive was bad, was failing. He told me he would try to save all my data (seven years’ worth; actually it was more like twenty years’ worth since I had files for a number of books I’d written years ago on the drive), but he couldn’t guarantee it. He unplugged my computer and took it away, promising to call me on Monday.
I’d never a hard drive fail before! I had a very bad evening and Sunday.  One saving grace was I wouldn’t lose everything. I have a Seagate external hard drive attached to the 2020, which my husband bought for me as a birthday gift. The Seagate is actually not that expensive and simple to use (recommended!), but I’d recently neglected to copy some updated files to it, so the data on the drive were not completely up to date.
NOTE TO SELF: Always update your files on a daily basis to the external hard drive!
As a precaution, I didn’t want to work on the Tower or the laptop until I had my newest computer back up and running.
At noon on Monday, the tech called me. He saved all my data (hooray!), replaced the hard drive, reinstalled the data, and set the computer up with Windows 10. Within an hour, he came to my home, plugged everything in, acquainted me with the new system, installed my printer/scanner with its software, the modem, the Seagate, and a flat Samsung DVD drive (I don’t like the right-side sideways DVD drive on the 2020 since I’m left-handed find the sideways drive hard to use.)
The tech also reinstalled (from the Internet) Microsoft Office Word, to which I still have a valid subscription. (NOTE: Be sure to save the card with your registration number that comes with Word. You will need it for situations like this.) He also reinstalled my Adobe DreamWeaver software, which I use to create and update my website. Fortunately, I updated for 2020 before all this transpired. I haven’t needed to update yet and I haven’t tried that out for reasons that will soon become apparent.
The tech told me I didn’t need McAfee or Norton (or need to pay for souped-up versions of those programs) since I now had, as a feature of Windows 10, Windows Defender, a powerful anti-virus program. Too powerful, as it turned out.
The tech charged me nearly $500! That cost included the price of the new hard drive, a drive twice as powerful as the old drive that came from Dell with the computer, plus all of the services described above, including immediately coming to my home on a weekend.
All in all, it was worth it. But now I have to figure out how to pay the bill!
III. Three Serious Interrelated New Problems and How I Solved Them
I was happy with most of what the tech did. He set me up with the browser Microsoft Edge, which I dislike. He said, “AOL Gold is crap,” but I’ve had AOL as my email address for twenty years, it’s on my business card, the editors I sometimes do business with recognize me as that email address, I have several other AOL screen names under which I do business, and I’m essentially happy with it.
Using Microsoft Edge, I downloaded AOL Gold back onto my computer. So I restored that myself.
Then I did a usual thing—photographed my Friday Fish Fry dinner for a Facebook post. I like to arrange my humble repast artistically. People like such posts and my cat pictures, amid occasional promotions of my books and stories. I usually just unplugged the Samsung DVD drive, plugged in my camera, uploaded the photos I wanted to a folder on the 2020, unplugged the camera, and plugged back in the Samsung drive.
The computer beeped warningly like it did before, when I go unplugging and plugging devices in without following a protocol (which I can’t find on Windows 10, actually, where it was before). Both camera and flat drive work just fine during this whole procedure.
The problem arose when I went to crop the photo of a plate of pan-seared shrimp using My Image Garden, a part of the Pixma bundle of programs. The computer alerted me that the program hadn’t been installed, so I installed it. Easy.
Then I went to the photo in my Facebook folder, cropped it, and Saved it to the folder just as always.
PROBLEM ONE! Windows Defender (WD) told me I was attempting to save a file to a Write-Protected folder. WD blocked the Save and Write-Protected MY ENTIRE DOCUMENTS FOLDER. Talk about losing twenty years of work! WD was treating a harmless little program on my own device—NOT from the Internet—like a virus.
To check, I went to a Word document, made a small change, and tried to Save. Same thing. Blocked by write-protect! My entire Documents folder was inaccessible.
I panicked. I don’t know where that reaction comes from—probably from my late mother. She would freak out over the least little thing—the cat throwing up on her pristine wall-to-wall living room rug, for example. Panicked, I thought about contacting the tech again, thought again about the unaffordable cost.
Still panicked, I clicked on the START button and asked how to remove write-protect from a folder. The computer directed me to the Internet for several solutions. One website had three different routines for Windows 10, none of which worked. Then the site offered a program that would remove write-protect for me.
SILLY ME (AND YOU, TOO, IF YOU DO THIS). I downloaded the program, which looked perfectly legitimate. I ran the routine to remove write-protect, and the program removed write-protect from my Seagate drive. Which was not the problem. On the program’s menu, it didn’t include my C drive, which WAS the problem.
I panicked again, calmed down again. Thought carefully again. I pressed the START button (at the lower left corner of your Windows 10 screen), typed—instead of remove write-protect—remove read-only.
What a difference the right question makes! Instead of directing me to the Internet, the simple answer was right there on my computer.
And here’s the solution to Problem One. This will also work if Office Word inexplicably makes a document you’ve been working with Read-Only—which means you can’t save any changes to it. This has happened to me several times after Word updates and which I couldn’t figure out how to fix other than Save As another document.
Yeah, I’m not going to reveal the solution here, or Problem Two and its solution. Same for Problem Three. I need to raise funds to pay for that expensive tech fix! I went through days of hell and trial and error so you don’t have to. The serious Problems and their solutions are on my Patreon page at
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