Or, why are things so hard with Microsoft? (People whose eyes cross at the sound of geek can stop reading here; I just want to vent.)
I've been having a little trouble with my laptop - I decided to buy a faster wireless card, and in the process of installing it, I managed to turn off all wireless connectivity on my laptop. The built-in card that came with the laptop, which has worked flawlessly for 2 1/2 years including through the upgrade to Windows 7, simply stopped detecting wireless networks. Any wireless networks, including mine.
In case you want to avoid this nefarious product, it was a TrendNet TEW-642 EC, an N-class wireless express card adapter. It came with a "wireless utility client" which TrendNet support swore would never leave my system broken like this after uninstall. As a matter of fact, I think the TrendNet card I received was defective, and I've returned it for a refund; but I don't see how plugging in a defective adapter could shut down a working adapter. I'm deeply suspicious of that utility software. But what do I know?
I've literally worked on this daily, or almost daily, since January 26 - since today is February 5, that's 10 days. I've busted my brains, tried everything I could think of, researched arcane Windows system commands. I was reasonably sure that I could get things working again if I could successfully do a system restore to Jan. 22 - the last restore point before I started messing with the new adapter. System restore rolls your system back to an earlier configuration without touching your data. I've tried this at least once a day; and every day (until today) the restore failed "because a file is in use." I learned to turn off the stuff that loads at startup; I tried shutting down ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite; I tried shutting down ZA and telling it not to restart when the system restarts. Every restore failed with the "file in use" error, and no wireless.
I finally found, on an Internet bulletin board, a warning that I might have to uninstall ZA to make system restore work, so today I tried that. And it worked. The restore succeeded, and my wireless card leapt back to life. Now, I like ZA because it tells me what it's doing. But this one has me wondering if I should give Norton another try.