All went pretty well really, I set it all up, transferred all her documents from old computer to new one via a nice serial cable - I did think of linking her up to our home network, but decided that was one headache too many. Yesterday I was all set to reformat old computer and reset that up for her neighbours children who are having it, when the first of the day’s interruptions turned up: [oh, yes, it’s the weekend before Christmas, people like to pop round or ring up]. Now don’t get me wrong, I was delighted to see the people and to talk to the ones who rang, but by the fourth interruption, I was getting a tad irritated, not to mention I’d planned my day out and visits/phone calls didn’t come into my plans.
Thus, the old computer wasn’t reformatted, which, as it turns out, was very fortuitous. I finally told the last person who rang that yes he could pop round, but I was afraid it could only be a fleeting visit as I was trying to sort Mother’s computer. I then added that if he came during the next two days he’d see my husband [they were at Uni together) which would be much nicer - I think he’s coming for tea today! Then I turned my hand to the final bit of setting up the new computer: the broadband setting. It was at this point that I came close to matricide. This is how the conversation went:
Me: I need your password. What is it, please?
Mother: I don’t know.
Mother: But I do have it written down.
Pause for paper rummaging.
Me: Er, are these three zeroes or Os? And if the latter are they upper or lower case? Or if a combination, what’s the combination?
Mother: I don’t know.
Me: [After counting to ten]. Right. Er, it is your password.
Mother: Well yes, but you set it when I originally signed up with this ISP.
Me: [After another count to ten] True - but that was some six years ago - I didn’t memorise it.
Me: [Thinking] Oh, well, let’s try setting your email up on my computer and guessing.
After what I thought was every possible combination, all tried with Mother hovering over my shoulder and making ‘useful’ comments, I had a blinding headache (which given he amount of pain killers I take, I can’t see how I’d have), I was close to screaming or hitting something/one.
Mother: That’s not my user name.
Me: Yes it is.
Mother: No it isn’t, my name is my username.
Me: [After counting to twenty] No, Mother, it isn’t. Look, I’ll prove it to you.
I did, I showed her it on her old computer.
Mother: We could change my password.
Me: [Counting to twenty] Not without knowing your old one we can’t.
Mother: Yes we can.
Me: [Through gritted teeth] No. You. Can’t.
Mother: Yes we can. My friend did.
Me: [Logging onto her ISP’s website] Fine, go ahead and change it.
Mother: [Subdued a few minutes later] Oh, it needs my old password.
I didn’t say ‘I told you so’; I swear I didn’t.
Then I saw the ‘if you’ve forgotten your password send us your email address and we’ll email it to you’. Fortunately it wasn’t one that asked you for answer to questions - because I swear she would have forgotten what she’d used. Okay, all I had to do now was set up her email account (which of course I couldn’t do sans password) and retrieve the email. Thank God, I hadn’t reformatted her old computer, because I could (after remembering to set it so that the emails would remain on the server so that she could retrieve them on her new computer), set up a dial-up account (at the time it seemed easier than changing the broadband settings to ours) dig out the connector and download and voila, password arrived and I discovered what the little circles were!
It occurred to me this morning that actually, given that I’d used the XP file and transfer wizard, her password would have been transferred to her email account, so I could have downloaded the email to her new computer, so reformatting wouldn’t have been the disaster I was imaging it was. The fact that this little thing didn’t occur to me yesterday is an indication of just how wound-up and close to screaming I was. [NB. I wonder why it didn’t transfer the broadband settings? That would have been so nice - oh, well.]
Never mind - it's done now and her old computer is being reformated and reinstalled on at this moment.