What I Learned In the Last 24 Hours

  1. When using a 5-year old PC, walk very, very carefully.
  2. Do not do a hard shut down on your 5-year old PC unless you're ready to waste a lot of time fixing things.
  3. If for some unnoodly reason you have to hard shut down your 5-year old PC, for noodle's sake wait for the processor to finish spinning down before restarting, even if you are feeling pissy.
  4. Microsoft help will cost you big time, cost a lot, and be hard to find on their Web site anyway.
  5. CompUSA stores close after 8.
  6. Geek Squad will cost a lot and take two weeks to show up.
  7. Dell will outsource your call and keep you on for a half hour or more until the outsourcing guy finally tells you that because you have a hard drive added to your computer that is not Dell installed, you will need to remove your computer from all of its connections, open it up and remove that hard drive because clearly, nothing can be done before you do that.
  8. That it was not a driver failure, despite the Safe Mode screen listing a whole bunch of System32 drivers at me.
  9. That it is a good idea to save all of those stupid CD-ROMs Dell sent in 2002.
  10. That even after a driver diagnostic and an apparent re-install of the OS the issue can still crop up.
  11. That even the stupid option may work: That is, turning off the computer, turning off the power and then vice-versa got the install going for real this time.
  12. That even once the install gets going it will ask some stupid questions along the way, so don't leave the room.
  13. That the re-install may come up with COM+  and .dll errors, but it will still boot the system back online so you can breathe.
  14. That in the quiet of the room during reinstall you can hear a soft pffting when your dog poots.
  15. And so you have to stop breathing again.
  16. That once the re-install is finally, finally done and the computer comes up again, you may get a message saying that you need Windows XP ServicePack 2 and your computer is not safe.
  17. That until you get ServicePack 2 you can't run your firewall or virus protection and you'll feel like you were in a dream where you wake up in class naked, because that's what you are, naked and open to the world with your high-speed cable line flapping in the breeze.
  18. That Windows would not let Firefox download the ServicePack 2.
  19. That IE would not function.
  20. That IE would not function without ServicePack 2.
  21. Rinse, repeat.
  22. That the Microsoft site would sell you ServicePack 2 for a mere $3.99 shipping, and get it to you in 4-6 weeks.
  23. Again: FOUR TO SIX WEEKS.
  24. That banging your head on the keyboard produces key-shaped indents on the forehead.
  25. That you're desperate enough to order the CD, and try to do so.
  26. Then learn that you can't because of some problem with their system. At this moment.
  27. That your forehead is becoming numb.
  28. That your Google Instant Message works and that Jen knows computers. And will generously loan me some software if I need it.
  29. That Mike can put ServicePack 2 on a CD-ROM and give it to me by the next day after work.
  30. That Mike is really, really, really cool.
  31. That it might be a dirty CD-ROM drive, so for $15 I can get a CD-ROM drive cleaner at RadioShack.
  32. That in the end, all you seem to have needed post-install was the ServicePack to get things back to normal and functioning.
  33. That Microsoft machinery/systems/programs/web site/customer service blows and sucks at the same time.
  34. That I'm definitely, definitely getting an Apple in a few months.


  1. Schomer on 1/04/08 at 7:08 pm

    If I can help you buy a Mac, let me know! I don’t get a huge employee discount – 15% – but it might still be worth it!

  2. Armchair News on 1/04/08 at 7:13 pm

    Holy Mac (no pun intended), you’re now my bestest friend. Absolutely — I’ll take the 15% discount!

    I’ll probably be buying it once taxes are done this year, so I hope I can still take you up on it post-April. Thanks for the offer!

  3. snoringKatZ on 1/04/08 at 7:34 pm

    [this is good] That I’m definitely, definitely getting an Apple in a few months.

    An Apple a day keeps the evil away.  If you have any questions about such things, Mr. sKz is uber-Apple-guy.  He knows stuff about those PC things too but when he works on them, he feels like he has to take a shower.

  4. LeendaDLL on 1/04/08 at 7:51 pm

    about 8 years ago was when I learned to never EVER shut down a PC during hard boot, while the hard disk was still spinning. Result of doing that was that something “sat down” on the spinning hard disk, destroying it – and my entire PC – forever.

    It was my bday… which, due to many similar (and worse) situations, I had quit celebrating. The perma-crash happened while a “friend” walked up my stairs with a cake and singing “happy birthday”. My wrath upon him, for acknowledging my bday – thereby reminding the universe to F with me, caused him to never repeat that mistake. I still think he owes me a computer.

    But I’m still a tried and true PC person. MACs make me CRAZY – for the exact reason that other people like them.

  5. Armchair News on 1/04/08 at 8:14 pm

    Oooh, more Apple folks! This is great to know. And same with PC. It is a little unnerving to be navigating these waters without a rudder … 

  6. Armchair News on 1/04/08 at 8:16 pm

    Wait, how did cake get implicated with your computer crashing?

    Cake is innocent! (And yummy.)

    I’ve had Mac and I’ve had PC. Overall, I just psychologically like Mac better: I know where I can find things, I “know” how they operate. With Windows I always feel like there’s a vast hidden area I can’t know about or it might hurt me (according to The Experts).

  7. LeendaDLL on 1/05/08 at 6:29 pm

    “Cake” would have been fine. “Birhtday cake”, with birthday singing, reminded the Universe to F with me.

    Funny – I’m the opposite way with PC vs MAC. I feel more in control of the unit, and it’s operating environment on a PC. I think like whoever designed it – so once I got the basics in my head it became very easy to customize and/or debut. Whereas with a MAC I just don’t get it and feel like my only option is to accept everything as designed. Though I do admire the lack of user-built viruses & trojans that infect MACs!

  8. gt on 1/05/08 at 9:07 pm

    Get Apple after their upcoming expo!!!

  9. Armchair News on 1/06/08 at 6:12 am

    You bet!