At the beginning of October I had a severe laptop crash. Everything on my Compaq froze and so far as I know is still frozen. A family member who is an IT expert has taken the offending machine away but has not as yet had time to look at it. Meanwhile, a friend had recently refurbished my old Vaio so I am not actually divorced from the internet.
The good news was that I was able, in safe mode, to rescue all my documents, photographs, music, etc. to an external hard drive. I have been frantically backing up everything to other places just in case the hard drive fails….. But for the time being, all is well.
The bad news is twofold. The Vaio no longer works with a battery and has to be plugged into the mains which means that it isn’t exactly portable. However, I can cope with that for the time being. The software is the major problem. First of all, I am missing most of my software and only realise when I want to use it. At that point I have to use the admin user setting – something I’ve never had to deal with before but which was set up to give an option of more than one user on the machine. So far, I have resisted downloading any photo-editing software and have decided I can manage with online photo-editing sites. I enjoy tinkering with my pictures but I am not a serious graphic artist! I am also missing my bookmarks, which I hadn’t backed up recently… And I miss my beautifully configured Calibre library though I can re-establish it (if it can’t be rescued) once I know whether I can use the Compaq again or whether I should consider buying a new laptop – the Vaio will only ever be a back-up machine because of the battery issue.
My main gripe and the subject of this post: the refurbishment involved taking the Vaio back to factory settings and then installing programs again. For some reason – presumably with the best of intentions – our friend installed Word 10. I am now foaming at the mouth and cursing Microsoft. I was happily using the pre-2007 version of Word and had spent absolutely ages getting used to formatting. I had made copious notes and really thought I had a handle on it all. Word 10 is quite different. Apart from anything else I have to remember to save things in .doc instead of .doc.x or half my friends can’t read them and they aren’t suitable for various purposes., including transfer to my Compaq if that becomes an option. Then, I carefully removed all the auto formatting , changed the default font etc. and heaved a sigh of relief. But I am still having problems with line/paragraph spacing and in a final document all looks well until the text is converted into e-publishing formats whereupon spaces at the end of chapters turn into capital As with accents over them. Is Microsoft insane? I understand their desire to cater for business needs but templates should deal with that and leave the rest of us able to format easily for self-publishing purposes. And even for business documents, it must be irritating for those who keep their files on their Kindles to find strange As all over the place!
I downloaded OpenOffice – and yes, I know it’s less than optimal for self-publishing but I wanted something that would let me at least do posts like this with no problems – but the latest version seems to have copied Word and inserts far too many line spaces.
The trouble is, I don’t really want to spend hours on this, when it’s possible I might get my old system back… Everything is already taking longer than usual, which is why I have been somewhat absent this month.
Meanwhile – do any of you know of any formatting guides that help with Word 10? The Smashwords Guide is brilliant but doesn’t have much to offer beyond Word 20007. And what would anyone recommend if I get a new laptop – are there cheap copies of earlier Word versions available or should I try to adapt myself as soon as possible?