Computer problems update... TL;DR: My friend Tim's computer is now back up and running smoothly. That took four hours of work this morning to accomplish.
When I arrived at his house this morning, the first thing we did was to look at his computer to see if our attempt to do a clean installation of Windows 10 had succeeded. Nope, it was a dismal failure. So we tried a second time. Failed again. Then I tried carefully making sure all running applications were closed, disabled his anti-virus software, and tried a third time – and that time, it worked.
That gave us a brand-new copy of Windows 10 with no crapware installed, only the Windows anti-virus, and none of the apps that Tim depends on. The next three hours were completely consumed with getting his applications, configurations, backups, and bookmarks back. When we finished with that, his computer was running the cleanest and fastest it ever had. I think that was mainly due to the absence of the large number of crapware apps that Dell shipped with the machine.
The final step we took was to create a “restore point” (using the Windows lingo). This we named “clean and pure”. If his computer ever gets hosed again, we're hoping we can restore to that point and salvage it. Most of all, I hope Tim and Jeannie never call one of those scammers again!
Feels good to get the poor guy up and running again, though. He was completely lost on repairing that, of course, as he's about as non-technical as you can get...