Labor Day Computer Blast

It is Labor Day Weekend. A day of rest.  And there is no question—I really do need to take a break.

For almost a month now, computer problems have beleaguered and hindered my progress preparing for school as well as adversely impacting my writing.  It all began with the mysterious midnight Microsoft update right after the first week of August.

After solving the problems of the midnight electronic intrusion, I was well ahead of the game.  I had increased my hard drive capacity by almost four times, upgraded from the notorious Windows Vista to Windows 7, and backed up all the files I thought I had lost.

Yes, I was feeling pretty good about the situation…until last Thursday.  That was when I woke up, walked into the office, turned on the computer, and watched as it hung on the bios screen.

To say I was livid really was an understatement.  I was very happy my shotgun was not within reach.  I was at the point of declaring open season on all computers.  PC, Mac, Kindle, Ipad…, it would have made little difference—they were all on my hit list.

I have told many before, I really like technology.  I do.  Honestly.  I have defended technology over the years, when people have said computers were the bane of society.  They would talk about computers in the context of not saving time.  And I would say, “Yes they do.  How would you like to do all the repetitive and boring paperwork without them?”

It is true, while some of us cuss out computers because they sometimes refuse to do what we wish of them, life without them would be…bad.  As I was coming to the end of my trials and tribulations with the office computer, Ardis said I should write about the problem.

“No, I am too mad to write about it now.”

“Someone else may have the very same problem.  If you write about it, you might help them.”

I had to admit, she was right.

When the computer started hanging up on the bios load, I started to Google the problem.  The first thing giving me great hope was a thread I read about loose cables.  So, I put my mini-flashlight in my mouth and crawled under my desk, jiggled all the cables, and tried to start the computer again. 

Success!  I could not believe the problem could be that simple to solve, but I was happy it was working again.  It worked for about two days.

Then it started hanging on the bios load again.  Now the serious troubleshooting began.  Back to the Internet and Google.

During further research, I started reading about all kinds other serious and scary things–problems probably beyond my capabilities.  Still, I could not get over the feeling this was something simple.

Then I talked to my friend Tom, at work.  The first thing he thought of was a failing bios battery.  I began doing more research and I found that dying bios batteries usually slowed the computer’s clock.  The clock on my computer was keeping great time.  Back to the brainstorming.

After more research, I discovered a thread about wireless keyboards and mice sending a keyboard error message to the bios on startup.  Then I read about other peripherals causing problems.  This was when I discovered the problem with this computer was the USB ports on the side of the monitor.  These culprits were sending a failed error message to the motherboard.

I yanked the cable connecting the ports to the computer, reconnected all the other USB connections, and fired it up.  I am happy to say I spent the next hour or so shutting the computer down and restarting–just because I could.

Now that I’m confident the computer is okay, I reflect back on what others have said about computers being a waste of time.  It’s not that they are a waste of time; it is the time you waste in either trying to fix them or run them back and forth to a computer shop.

I am just happy to have saved the diagnostic fees I would’ve been charged had I taken the computer in for repairs.  In actuality, there was nothing wrong with the computer; it was all in the monitor’s USB ports.

I am really happy now that I can use the computer again—and get on with my work. 


©2011 J. Clark

Hey–all y’all be safe over the Labor Day break.

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