The perils of reducing distraction: Getting rid of Cold Turkey

Tech woes abound… 

Me trying to figure out the laptop issue

Me trying to figure out the laptop issue (image via Wikimedia Commons)

I am a terrible, terrible procrastinator. It’s why this blog isn’t as active as it should be. My downfall, like so many other people, is the internet.

Refreshing the Facebook newsfeed, clicking on obscure hashtags, watching other people argue over comment sections… I fool myself I probably would have the Great Irish Novel written by now if the internet hadn’t been invented, but before the internet came to my door I also used every tool at my disposal to avoid what I was meant to be doing. That included playing Snake, drawing maps of imaginary places and, on one memorable occasion, attempting to read the dictionary.

So, when I heard that there were programmes that block the internet for hours at a time, I leapt on board. I downloaded one called Cold Turkey, and for a while all was well. Until earlier this week, when it asked me to install the latest version. This I did, but uh-oh! It whined “Install did not complete, please reinstall me” or words to that effect (the “me” soon began to raise my hackles). I clicked OK, thinking it would go away, but the pop-up returned again and again.

Completely deleting the programme did not end my woes. It turned out that there were traces of Cold Turkey left in my laptop’s system. So how to rid myself of the pop-up?

And there was worse news. Not only had Cold Turkey begun to bug my feathers off, it had continued to block all those oh-so-distracting sites. Permanently. Unblocking Facebook, Twitter et al proved tricky.

Auntie Google pointed me to Tech Support Forum, where I must thank a user called Spunk Funk whose advice worked. So here’s what to do, if you ever find yourself in this bind:

Spunk Funk

However, I ran into another problem when I tried to save the Wordpad file; it kept saying access denied. Even if you are the only person who has ever used your laptop since it rolled off the factory line, you probably don’t have permission to modify important files like the host file. There are two things you have to do; first comes courtesy of Jenae on the Tech Support Forum;


And the other, which finally freed my computer of Cold Turkey, comes from the Microsoft forum:


If you’re lost for a name to put in the objects field, I just put in User and it worked. Et voila! I had rid my laptop of its association with Cold Turkey and could stare at the Facebook newsfeed again.

I now feel pretty cautious about downloading any “productivity” programmes again; it took me over an hour to get rid of Cold Turkey, being quite dense about technology; an hour I could have been writing! While I don’t believe the programme to be a virus, it’s still a big gamble to take to allow something such pervading access to your browser. From now on, I’m going to have to rely on my willpower to get things done. Oh dear.

15 thoughts on “The perils of reducing distraction: Getting rid of Cold Turkey

  1. Thanks for the post! I have had trouble with Cold Turkey since moving to Windows 8, but it worked well on Windows 7.

    Have you heard of Freedom? It works for Mac and PC. It’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent for a program. Very helpful for writing.

    I used to use Cold Turkey when I needed SOME access to the internet while researching, but now I suppose I’ll have to waste hours looking up willpower exercises… Oh dear.

  2. Hai
    I had problem uninstalling Coldturkey too.All I did was to disable it during start up by unchecking (coldturkey option) in the (start up tab) in (System configuration).Then I started windows in SAFE MODE and uninstalled it via control panel.

  3. Thank you soooooo much for this post!!! I had exactly the same problems today. And yeah, I’ll also try to rely on my willpower in the future. Or simply unplug the LAN cable 🙂 Greetings from Korea!!!

  4. Thank you. I followed all the steps, and it worked.

    I had problem with cold turkey continuing to deny me access to facebook even after the time I had set had run out.

  5. Thank you sososososossoso much!!!!
    I ran coldturkey yesterday for like 1 1/2 hours and it was still blocked today and I had no idea what to do, you saved me THANK YOU!

  6. It’s not working for me 😦 The host file doesn’t contain any of my blocked websites. I uninstalled and reinstalled cold turkey and nothing’s really working. I just wanted facebook to be blocked for a day.

  7. Seems the developer of CT made it a little TOO hard to cheat around. I haven’t had a problem yet, and I enjoy the software for allowing me to block specific problem sites while I write and still allow me access to my beloved research tool (google).

    I assume you guys that had issues tried to uninstall the program while it was currently “on” during a scheduled block. It would be good for the developer to warn people to make sure the program is not currently running/blocking anything, and to make sure that they completely erase any schedule they have set up before the uninstall, and then there should be no problem. A quick run of CCleaner should completely remove all traces of it from the registry after that (ALL programs leave crud in the registry after uninstall).

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