My diabolical computer


it’s because the devious bastard thing is staying up at night thinking of ways to drive me right round the bend

Like most computers mine has a “sleep” button, but I must admit I’ve never used it. Perhaps that’s why my PC has been giving me some gyp lately, lack of sleep can make one cranky. But if you ask me it’s not because I didn’t press that button that my machine is sleep-deprived; it’s because the devious bastard thing is staying up at night thinking of ways to drive me right round the bend. I understand now why it’s called Windows, because out of one is where I want to throw this thing.

I grant you this is not a new piece of equipment and that it gets a whole lot of use, but recently, out of the proverbial blue (Big Blue?), it has started doing some weird and annoying things. Can older PCs show signs of Alzheimer’s disease? Because if so, I’ve got a case on my hands!

I’m not talking about that cute little trick an iPad plays when you want it to display in portrait and it insists on displaying in landscape, or vice versa. That’s a real chuckle that has the user turning and twisting the iPad in a manner resembling a Formula 1 driver steering through the streets of Monte Carlo. What I mean is a PC that all of a sudden decides ‘Nope, I’m not going to open any links unless in a new tab. No reason, just to irk you’. I have no problem with opening links in new tabs, but just let me know that’s what you want to do before I go bonkers trying to get you to open them in the main tab as you’ve done for seven years but which now causes you to freeze, much like a child taking his ball and going home!

Not being a total fool I understand that the first step in any computer problem, including the apparently dead link issue, is to restart – and this is where my old pal becomes absolutely diabolical. Once the link has been clicked on, the computer freezes –  for a few days I thought “not responding” was part of every page title. You know what that means, yep, it’s Ctrl+Alt+Delete time. But hold on because now the task manager itself won’t respond. Bring on the hard reboot, push and hold that power button. All the while amid the grinding of the hard drive I’m sure I heard the sounds of chortling coming from the box.

Now the fun really intensifies as the silly PC just plain won’t restart; no matter how many times I attempt it, the restarts all hang at the point where the green Vista worm is constantly going across my screen. On and on it goes … and on …

Why can’t it just be a matter of pressing the F8 button once instead tapping at it like a drooling lunatic bashing away at a Morse-code transmitter?

Still undaunted I pull another trick from my sleeve, the F8 button. Here the computer just about pisses itself laughing at me because merely getting the F8 button to work often takes several attempts. Why can’t it just be a matter of pressing the button once instead tapping at it like a drooling lunatic bashing away at a Morse-code transmitter? If you’ve ever gone to F8-land you know it can be a scary place; for the average user, in the world of computers once you get into places that have white writing on a black background you’re in over your head. Like creeping through a haunted house you keep your eyes peeled for something that is familiar to hang your hopes on. Then is appears – safe mode. Thank-you sweet Jesus for that word: safe. Think of it as a condom for your computer.

Starting in Safe Mode allowed me to see all my stuff, albeit in giant resolution, but it was all still there. A sense of relief descended upon me, like a warm bath. But I didn’t stay too long; the key is to initiate a restart from Safe Mode. With a bit of luck and not a small amount of prayer, things were restored to normal – at least until the next time this allegedly inanimate object comes up with something else to push me to the breaking point!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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