Silly Little Machine - 11.10.97

Last Thursday evening, just as I was shutting down my computer at work, something funny happened. My e-mail program had just finished closing when suddenly an error message popped up on the screen. It was one of those classic grey-square Windows 95 boxes with the small red circles with the white x's in them. It was the end of the day and I was in a hurry to get out of there, so I clicked on the OK option and finished shutting off my system. I grabbed my lunch bag and coat and busted out the door into the cold weather.

When I came in Friday morning, I turned on my computer as usual and went down the hallway to get a mug of coffee and a big glass of cold water. When I sat down and looked at the screen, something was wrong. Instead of showing the network login screen like usual, it had stopped opening Windows and given me an error message. I hit return a couple more times and tried to go through them all, but I only got dropped to a C prompt in DOS. After trying a few other things to get up and running, I went for help. I know a bit about computers, but I'm admittingly much more of an applications person. I know how to use most programs, but I don't know a lot about what makes them tick.

After some more examination by others, it was decided that I had a major problem with Windows and I would have to re-install it. After doing it once, I got some more errors and soon my computer wouldn't even regognize anything but my hard drive and floppy discs. After creating a boot disc with a CD-ROM driver and re-installing windows once again, my computer was in an even worse situation. Now, the only drive it would recognize was my floppy (whoa, I'm getting excited here).

After all this, it was time to go. I headed into the weekend knowing that something was very wrong with my computer and I didn't have a clue how to fix it. Fortunately, someone was supposed to be coming in Monday morning to look at it and hopefully get me running again. When I arrived at work, I turned on my computer, hoping that something had miraculously changed in my two days absence, but it was still FUBAR. Knowing that the time would pass faster, I looked for little things to keep me busy. I filed reciepts and did lackey work for several hours, hoping that the technician would soon show up.

As luck would have it, he showed up promptly at 4 pm and I gave him the diagnosis. After fiddling around for about 5 minutes, he got on the phone and called the manufacturer for assistance. He came back into my office at about 4:30 and immediatly starting going to work. We popped the cover off it and I tried to watch as he copied and deleted files and manually reset something inside the shell of the beast. After about 45 more minutes, he said 'thank you' to whomever he spoke with on the phone and announced to me that everything should be working normally. I hopped on and messed around a bit to try and get my settings back to normal, but was soon sick of dealing with it. I shut down the machine, put the cover back on, grabbed my lunch sack and coat and headed home.

On the way home, I began thinking about how much my job relies on my computer. If I had to put a number on it, I'd probably have to say that about 95 percent or more of my time at work is spent on it. When it went down, I simply didn't know what to do. I piddled around and did crap jobs for other people that needed to be done. Through it all, I learned that even though I don't like to be, I am very reliant on computers to get by. It's true that I could survive without one, but it does provide me with a decent job (and several other nice features). Another important thing I learned is that I should backup my hard drive more often, just in case.