Okay let me start with a few disclaimers.

#1. I know this is a “first world problem”. I live in the first world. So yeah.

#2. I’m a former Microsoft employee but this has NOTHING to do with ex-employee griping (which is how many Microsoft employees like to write things off).

#3. Don’t tell me “you shouldn’t use Office, you should use iWork / OpenOffice / LibreOffice / Google Docs and just import/export”. Bullshit. I’ve tried them all and the import/export stuff is still broken. Fonts go missing, images move, and when you work (as I do) in MARKETING, writing and editing client documents, FORMATTING MATTERS. Do you think I pay Microsoft because I hate my money? NO.

#4. I don’t expect anyone at Microsoft to give a shit, but I’m writing this JUST IN CASE THEY DO.


Right. So. Rant done. Well… that part of the rant, anyway. Let’s get onto the REAL rant.

I just wasted an entire day of work thanks to Microsoft “tech support” (and I used that term loosely). 

Here’s how it went down.

I turned on my Macbook Pro (2010 model, not that it matters) and it told me I needed to update Microsoft Office to 14.3.9. Fine. So I let it download and tried to install it. FAIL. So I manually downloaded the update pack and tried again. FAIL #2. Re-boot the Mac. Try again. FAIL #3.

So… and here’s where I made a mistake – I LOGGED A MICROSOFT SUPPORT CALL.

A nice lady with a delightful accent (whose name I will leave out) offered to log into my machine via LogMeIn and sort it out for me. Great. She tried to install the pack and, again, it failed. She spent another couple of hours trying to make it work AND IT STILL FAILED.

Okay, now this is the good bit. She advised that she would have to un-install Office and re-install it. ARE YOU KIDDING?? Sigh. Okay.

So… an hour to download a 1GB .dmg. Then she installs it. Then she tries to install the update. Oh, but wait – she has to install TWO updates – because the .dmg doesn’t include them. THEY FAIL.

Finally – and by this stage it’s about 1pm (and this has taken up my entire day because she is using my laptop) – I say “THAT’S ENOUGH! I’ll just use the old version of Office because I have work to do.” Then I open Powerpoint and… it won’t open. It’s borked. I can’t even sign in because it’s asking me for a product key and I don’t have one because I bought the Office 365 licence (where you pay by the month or something). I ask the lady “how do I get a product key?” She says she has to install the updates before I can login with my email address. BUT THE UPDATES DON’T WORK, I say. Yes, she says, I know, so I need to keep working on it.

Resigned to this, I agree to let her keep working on it.

TWO HOURS LATER – this is about 3pm, mind you – I look at my laptop and notice nothing is happening (I’ve been talking to her in a chat window). I type “hello?”. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

So I ring the Microsoft support help line, wade through the options, talk to someone, explain the situation, she puts me on hold for a few minutes… and then comes on to tell me this:

“Oh they cannot help you at this time because their support tools are being updated. They will have to call you back in an hour.” 

I ask… befuddled.. “Why would she choose to update her support tools IN THE MIDDLE OF A SUPPORT CALL?”

“Well it’s not her, it’s an automated update, it’s out of her control”, I am informed.

I SHIT YOU NOT, ladies and gentlemen.

BUT WAIT – there’s more.

I wait for an hour. No phone call.

Then I say “fuck it” and look over what she had done to my laptop. I notice that the version of Office she downloaded for the fresh install seemed to be the WRONG VERSION OF OFFICE. She downloaded and installed the standard version – NOT THE 365 VERSION. Which, of course, is why it was asking for a product key.

So I go to http://www.office.com/myaccount, log in, download ANOTHER 1GB file, install – and PRESTO, I have Office back! I can work again!


PS – Tech Support don’t know that I’ve fixed it and they STILL haven’t called me back after updating their “support tools”.

PPS – This time I’m not going to bother with Microsoft’s “critical update” 14.3.9″. Fuck it. I’ll take the risks until I have another day to waste.