A Wasted Day

Do you like spending a day fixing something that worked perfectly the day before? If so, a computer is something for you. The good thing is that computers get cheaper and cheaper, you can already get them for a couple of hundred of dollars, or for free from the dump. A computer is a must for people with too much time on their hands. I wouldn't consider myself someone with a big pile of minutes in the corner of my room, waiting to be used. Yet, for some -- probably ridiculous -- reason, I starting buying PCs a couple of years ago. This morning, at 10 a.m. a new wave of fun was awaiting me. I put on the PC, it booted, Windows started up and then the screen said it no longer received a signal. A second or two later the screen switched on again, ten seconds later it again received no signal and switched off. This time it remained off.

Nice.

First thought: probably a hardware problem, VGA cable not plugged-in well, or something like that. But I figured out that the computer also froze as the screen received no signal, so it wasn't the VGA cable. I switched on the PC by hand and restarted it. All it did was beep. I switched it off again and kept it like that for a while. Then I started it again and booted from a Ubuntu Linux Live CD. All seemed fine, luckily I was able to retrieve the Power Point presentation that I'm supposed to give tomorrow morning. I tried some things under Linux, but all seemed fine. Maybe it was a problem with some video driver then? It wouldn't explain the beeping, but still. So I recovered (i.e. re-installed) Windows. Then I booted it up and it just kept showing the "Starting Windows..." screen.

Great.

OK, time to open up the box. I looked inside and everything seemed fine, no overheated parts, no obvious burned parts. I just pushed in some cable, blew some dust off and tried again. Same result.

Then I saw that my iPod, which is connected to my PC through firewire, had crashed. It sometimes does that. It's really easy to fix, but could have caused some of the problems that had been occuring. I pulled out the iPod, rebooted and low and behold, Windows booted again.

However, as I reinstalled Windows, a lot of software no longer worked. The essential kind, particularly Microsoft Office. Because I installed an older version of Windows XP (no service packs), I had to run Windows Update. I started it and after IE unfroze after ten minutes, it said that newer Windows Update software was available. It downloaded it, did some other things and then ended with an error. The error didn't say anything, just that an error occured. I rebooted, tried again: same result.

Having enough of this all I decided to install Ubuntu Linux again on my Linux partition. At least that works. Right now I've set up most of what I need, so I'm in a tolerable working environment again.

It's 7:40 p.m.