tmcg: (quill)
[personal profile] tmcg
Well, that was a pain.

It turns out that if you have the Web 11 (Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition) electronic version already installed on your machine, the current Web 3 (Merriam-Webster's Third New International Unabridged Dictionary) electronic version won't load correctly. You need to uninstall Web 11, install Web 3, then install Web 11 again.

I pretty much figured that when I ran into a problem, but I contacted tech support.

I said:

Operating System: Windows XP
Office / Word:
M-W Product: Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged 3.0

I tried installing Web 3 version 3.0 on my system, which already had Web 11 version 3.1 installed. The Web 3 setup program offered me the options of reinstalling and uninstalling. I chose reinstall. [Edit here to add: When you install Web 11 after Web 3, "reinstall" is the correct choice, however confusing that seems when you're installing it for the first time.] Web 11 still works fine, but Web 3 doesn't appear in the dropdown menu from within Web 11 (which is what opens when I click on merriam-webster.exe) or in the Preferences > Reference tab. I got the same results after restarting the computer. The folder /books/web3 did copy from the CD-ROM into the Merriam-Webster directory on the hard drive.

I saw from the Website and the readme file that Web 3 v3.0 isn't compatible with previous versions of Web 3, but I could find no mention of Web 11, so I'm not sure whether I should uninstall and try installing them the other way round, or if there's an easier fix.

Thanks very much for your help.

They replied:

1. Uninstall the dictionary or dictionaries from add/remove programs in the control panel.
2. Search the computer for "merriam" without the quotes and delete any files or folders that come up
3. Shut down the computer (don't restart). Press the power button and then start pressing the F8 key repeatedly until you get an advanced startup menu. One of your options ONLY says safemode. Pick that one. Then press enter for your operating system. Once you get to the login screen, do not pick the administrator login. Just use your usual login name. In some cases it may be a generic name such as valued customer, or user. Once you're at the deskop, re-install the unabridged dictionary first. Then install other versions of the merriam webster dictionaries you may have.
4. Test to make sure the program works (please note, audio is disabled in safemode)
5. Restart the computer and you'll be back to the regular windows mode.

This worked, except that I can't seem to get into Safe Mode on this computer using the F8 method, and repeated attempts seemed to be screwing with the system, so I used the MSCONFIG method instead. Which was protracted and irritating, especially when combined with the fact that the Web 3 installer needs to restart the system when it finishes, which means yet another reboot to install Web 11.

Possibly I'm just missing it, but I still can't find anything about order of installation on M-W's site. It would be useful to know that Web 3 has to be installed before other M-W references if you plan to load more than one. Probably I'm one of, say, three users worldwide who actually want to run both dictionaries on a local machine, and I can see where requiring uninstallation of previously purchased products to run one you're considering purchasing might put people off, but it seems to me that issues like this are what FAQs are for.

Maybe eventually they'll revise the FAQ, or maybe it's just not a Q that's F enough A. Or maybe they'd rather we all subscribe to the online versions of the dictionaries. But I can't always get online when I need access to Web 11 and/or Web 3, and I'd rather buy once than subscribe, so I am still thrilled that they offer these references on disk. And tech support got back to me within a day.

January 2013

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