When you're a computer technician, questions come at you from all possible angles.
Recently, a friend instant messaged me about a problem. David's computer was packaged with a trial version of the graphics program Corel Draw. To encourage the budding designers in the family, they decided to purchase the full program. The Corel Web site, in compliance with our immediate gratification society, allowed him to download the program to his machine.
After the wait, David installed the program and tried to register it with the serial number provided from the purchase. At this point, the program came to a halt - invalid serial number!
The trial version is the key. Or rather, the trial version cannot use the key. Here's how it went down: David and his family were so excited that they installed the full-featured Corel Draw before uninstalling the trial version.
This is a good rule of thumb with trials: Uninstall first. This is not the same as upgrading a program.
Upgrades are made to be added onto with the next version. Trial versions are an afterthought whose sole purpose is to entice users to purchase the program. They often last a short time and lack functionality.
They are microcosmic versions of the program and mimic enough of the original software to write the version information to the registry of your machine. This is what gets checked against the serial number during registration.
Trial versions aren't usually touched after a major release. Therefore, the trial serial number will not be compatible with the most recent version. The full install should have rewritten this registry key, but it's not uncommon to have this problem.
Whenever I purchase a program, I always ship the physical disk. I like to feel the disk in my hands and store it in my software catalog. Call me overly cautious, but you'll be happy you stayed safe should your hard drive crash and, as we all know, sometimes support isn't so supportive.
SPEAKING OF SUPPORT, Microsoft canceled support for the Windows XP Service Pack 1. If you've been living as a Sherpa in Tibet, then I can understand that maybe you missed the Service Pack 2 (SP2) update. It's still not a very good excuse; enlightenment alone will not keep a computer safe.
SP2 offered a much more secure environment for Internet browsing and e-mail if you use either Microsoft mail client.
When a company stops supporting a product, that's a declaration to the world it will not provide any updates or fixes to the program from here on out. If you call about a problem, their first answer will be to upgrade (which is never a welcome suggestion after waiting on hold for an hour). I hope this is enough to persuade everyone to be up to date.
Check your version of Windows by right-clicking once on My Computer. Go to the end of the menu and left click on Properties. At the top of the first tab, it will state whether you have Service Pack 1 or 2.
Upgrade to Service Pack 2 by turning on Automatic Updates or have the CD shipped (expect shipping and handling charges). Option two is better if you don't have a very fast Internet connection.
Installing large packages such as SP2 over the Internet can take some time. Option one is better if you're a little lazy about checking the updates.
Whatever your method, get on it and check yourself.
Reach computer technician Heather Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.