Tech Blech

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Nuance Paperport (Brother scanner) nightmare

I always run the latest version of Windows OS, with plenty of RAM.  About 4 years ago, I bought a sweet, portable USB scanner (Brother DS-620), and found it essential to doing business.  Soon, I paid Nuance about $100 to upgrade to the professional version of its Paperport scanner application, because that got me more compression when scanning to PDF files.

In June of 2018, Paperport failed to open.  I tried all the usual things--uninstalling, reinstalling, rebooting, amd looking for updates or trouble reports online.  In the meantime, I attempted to file a trouble report with Nuance, but I could neither create an account on their ticketing system (some bug?) nor call anyone.  In desperation, I dragged an old laptop out of the closet, let it get all Windows updates, and managed to install my scanner and the Paperport software on the old laptop.

By July 14, I had managed to create an account with Nuance (don't remember what the holdup was, there) and filed a trouble ticket with screen shots of my failures.  At this point, I had already spent dozens of hours trying to troubleshoot the problem.  After a few days, I received an email in response to the trouble ticket instructing me to call it.  So I tried that, only to find that the help desk was only open during business hours during the week (specifically M-F 9am to 8pm--earlier would have worked for me, but these hours are impossible).  During which times I am highly unlikely to be available to sit at home and call in for help with this issue. 

Furthermore, after two weeks, Nuance automatically closed the trouble ticket.  I then wrote them back, begging for an extension.  Another two weeks later, the same thing happened.  Still, I had had no opportunity to call the help desk.  Such a call requires patience and plenty of time without other calls coming in, and that was not likely to happen on a weekday in my life.  It takes 15 minutes, including 2 reboots, just to install the software, and maybe 6 minutes (with reboot) to uninstall it.  And I would have to do at least one of those during the call.

Eventually, in maybe September, I phoned the help desk and chewed them out and demanded that they leave the bloody trouble ticket open until I could get a real chance to call in and figure out what could be done.  They said they would leave it open, and I have received no more cancellation notices.  But whether it is really open is unknown to me at this point.

And now it is December, a Saturday morning, and I would like to try again to get my scanner working on my main computer at home.  But, the help desk is closed.  I look at my second laptop in my tiny apartment and feel something akin to rage.  I need my scanner!  I need it working on my main computer, not this old laptop.  And I feel helpless and cheated and angry.

The error message says "Registration check failed, closing application".  The Paperport application never even opens a window, just this popup.

Does anyone know of other scanner software that is trustworthy?  Paperport was great when it worked, but it is an old 32-bit Windows application subject to DLL hell and registry corruption issues like back in the day.  Help or advice, anyone?  At this point, I'm even willing to buy a different scanner--if only it didn't require me to use Paperport.  All the scanners seem to use it, now.  And it won't run on my perfectly functional Windows 10 laptop.

I am aware, by the way, that Paperport requires IE as the default browser.  Whatever is going on, that is not the issue.  It is also not a case of registration failing; I can register Paperport, and run it, on any of three older laptops that I have in the house.  Just not on the newest Dell that I am now using.  Even though it ran, successfully, on that laptop for about 3 years.

I need my scanner!

Somehow, this ordeal feels like some kind of analog for life today.  Nothing seems to be working well.  People are miserable in their jobs.  Everything has to be done multiple times, because the first time it doesn't "take".  Is this some function of aging, or is it happening to everyone?

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