Over the years I have been called upon by friends, family and coworkers when they ran into computer problems that had them stumped. I have been called early in the morning and late late at night. It has given me a sense of pride, having never taken any courses, to be able to walk people through the steps necessary to get them up and running again.
Logging onto computers in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta from the comfort of my easy chair has been fun and challenging and has usually ended with success. At times I have made house calls when other means failed. I guess I haven’t had 100% success, but a good 98% of my attempts have proven successful.
So when is a Guru Not a Guru? When you can’t get your own damn computer working. I have a laptop as well as a desktop computer. Both running Windows XP and both relatively newer machines. I set up a home network so that I could access the desktop from my laptop and print out documents on the printer that is connected to the desktop. Everything has worked like a charm until about three weeks ago and all hell broke loose.
I began having some trouble with my desktop. I could see that it was getting serious and could get down right nasty. I backed up all my important documents and thousands of digital pictures I had taken over the last four or five years and decided to make a clean install and start fresh. I have done this numerous times with Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows 2000 so the task, though tedious, did not leave me with any doubt that in a few hours I would have the desktop up and running again. And so …… “Format C:”.
I first tried installing my “Rescue” copy of Windows XP that I had created prior to formatting the hard drive. While copying files, it stopped saying that “Setup can not copy file xxx.xxx” It gave me a choice of trying again or skipping the file. It also warned me that skipping the file may cause the operating system not to work properly. I tried again and again and then had to skip the file. This happened to about 12 different files. In the end, the operating system failed to work.
This is getting kind of long winded and I don’t mean to do that, so the long and the short of it is that I have tried two different copies of Windows XP on two different hard drives. I have asked for help on 4 different “Forum” sites where true Gurus live and still have had no success. The same message comes back about not being able to copy the same dozen files.
This week I will do something I have never had to do before. I will take my computer in to a computer shop and let someone else look under the hood. I will actually pay someone else to correct a problem that likely has a simple answer. I will hang my head in shame, pay the “Expert” and slink back home with my computer under my arm.
I could have just done this and kept my mouth shut, leaving people to continue in the belief that “When it comes to computers, Bruce can’t be stumped”, but I though I would bare my soul for two important reasons. Reasons that I think you should know.
1) Your computer “WILL” crash. Not “IF”. “WILL”. It may be that your computer has worked flawlessly for years. It may be that you are very knowledgeable in the working and fixing of computers. But it will happen and it will happen when you least expect it. For this reason alone Back it Up Regularly. Trust me, it will save you a lot of grief later.
2) And the second reason I am writing this is to let all those people that I have assisted know that even I can get stumped. Computers are complicated machines. When you made those calls late at night or early in the morning, when I logged onto your computer to straighten things out and you felt a little embarrassed when you saw your mistake …….I too know exactly how you felt.
I just thought it was something You should know.