Archives for: April 2007, 12
As I mentioned previously, I had the unfortunate pleasure of becoming acquainted with the computer now not so affectionately named, “The Computer From Hell”. Yes, I could have said, “No”, to my friends request for help, and enjoyed the rest of my vacation. But that’s not me. Since I work with computers every day, I understand the frustration felt, when things don’t work properly. I just didn’t know how much of a battle I was in for.
When my friend called, she said that she couldn’t connect to the Internet. O.k., usually not a difficult fix, whether it be a hardware or software issue. So I headed over to her house, and started poking around. Modem Driver was working properly, no exclamation point next to the modem listing under System Devices. When I attempted to connect to her Internet Service Provider, came back with a ‘no dial tone’ error. Doing a modem query showed an error.
O.k., looks like the modem went bad. No biggie. I went home, grabbed a modem that I knew worked, and went back. When I swapped the modems, I found that the one that I had brought was the exact same model as the one that I was pulling out. Interesting coincidence. Seated the new modem, fired up the computer, went to connect, and.....nothing. Same error. Uninstalled, and reinstalled the modem driver, thinking that it wasn’t playing well with the new modem, but there was no change.
Well, it looked like the computer was going home with me. Still, I thought that it wouldn’t be too long before I figured out what was causing the issue. In our discussions, I found that the computer was a hand-me-down, so thought that maybe someone had installed the wrong modem driver. I spent time criss-crossing the Internet, finding the proper modem driver for this particular modem, going by the model number of the chipset in the modem. No matter what I did, I was unable to connect to the internet with her computer, even from my house.
However, my progress was about to come to a screeching halt. My fingers clicked before my brain engaged, and I suddenly found myself locked out of her computer. In the words of Scooby-Doo, “Ruh-Roh, Shaggy!” Ahh....the “stare and swear” was now in session! I had no operating system cd’s to work off of, there was no Guest account set up that I could go through, and my friend didn’t know the Administrator password. Things were getting ugly in a hurry.
Suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was my Stubborn Gene, asking to come out and play. Needing the help, I let him out, and the tag team match was on. It was Man vs. Machine, and this computer was about to have its circuitry kicked 100 years into the past.
Off I went, scouring computer forums, and Google, looking for ways to get around my dilemma. After several hours, I found what I needed, and burned it to make a bootable cd. That is, when you start up your computer, it will start up off of the cd or dvd, rather than your hard drive. I put the cd in, fired up the computer, saw the cd drive light blink, only to have it start up off of the hard drive. *sigh* Checked what’s called the BIOS settings of the computer, to make sure that it would read off of the cd first, and not the hard drive. That was set correctly.
So, thinking it was a bad cd, I burned another one, inserted, and had the same issue. I now thought that maybe my cd burning software was the issue. Yes, yes, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Welcome to the world of computers! Found, and downloaded ImgBurn, and made yet another cd. Put it in the cd drive, fired up the computer and.....Bam!...I was in. We were back in the hunt.
One night after bowling, I stopped into Wally World (Wal-Mart), and picked up a new modem. Installed it the next day, and I was able to connect to the Internet. Yay! Success at last. I cleaned up her computer, updated all of her spyware and anti-virus, and figured I was done. Oh, how wrong I would be.
I took it back over to her house, hooked it up, and again, “no dial tone”. Yet it worked fine at my house. It was starting to look like our next problem would be outside the box. I could set up her parent’s computer, and it would connect fine. But connect my friend’s computer, and it refused to play nice. Next thought was maybe the phone line. So I checked the phone lines in the room, even swapping them out in case there was a bad line, cleaned the contacts at the wall plate, as well as the contacts at the junction box outside the house. Still no go. I was running out of options. But I had one more idea. I bought a surge suppressor to replace her power strip, and as soon I next tried to connect, she was good to go. I don’t know why, but it appears that somehow, the power strip was interfering with either the modem, or the computers power supply, since it sat right behind the computer case.
The “stare and swear” had conquered another ill-behaving machine. My friend was happy, and my stubborn gene got to come out, and play rough for awhile. As for me, I learned a great deal, and found a number of utility programs to help me the next time I work on a computer. The experience also taught me that it was time to build a “Crash Kit”. A toolbox filled with tools, software, cables, various media (cd, dvd’s, flash drives) with spyware and anti-virus programs, external hard drives for backing up, or cloning another hard drive, along with other odds and ends. I never thought that I would need such a thing before, but when the computers of friends and family decide to be temperamental, I answer the call. A good challenge keeps the mind and the body young. Mine just happens to be computers.
Computers are great, when they work. But when things decide to quit, or it doesn't want to play well with certain software, that's when things can get frustrating. Now you know why I keep my hair short. Less chance of me ripping it out during a good 'stare and swear' session. *chuckle*
In my last entry, I was fumin', because the radio station that I listened to no longer carried Dr. Demento. I like my two hours of weird and wacky comedy music every week. The Stubborn gene got to come out and play again, but after much searching, I finally found another station that plays it. Even if the radio station is in California, and I'm here in New Hampshire. What's a little time zone difference? Laughter is good for the soul, and I'll take it where I can get it. The more, the merrier!
Until next time.