The Computer Conundrum


How a computer can send you on a wild goose chase

Talking with techs Jon and I have had computers since I gave him a Commodore 64 in the early '80s. We've had XT's, 286, all the 86's, and pentiums.   Jon has pretty much built them all and, though there have been challenges along the way, nothing made us crazier than trying to put in a new hard drive with the new Windows OSR2.

We had to do it.   Over the last four years I'd changed hard drives but not data.   Rampant DLLs were dancing all over my disk.   Software was crashing and corrupting and it was getting to be a real pain just to run the thing.   Plus, it had what Jon calls a "disk mangler" overlay on the hard drive that slowed things down, and It seemed that a new hard drive and careful, choosy re-install of software and files would solve the problem.

Jon formatted the new 2.1 gig Western Digital hard drive and installed Win95 OSR2.   Things seemed to go smoothly.   We installed some of my high priority software, Net access stuff, Paint Shop Pro , Web Edit Pro , printer and the like.   We defragged regularly.   We got the basics running and tried to install some files from my tape backups. Computer abuse animation

That's when we started running into troubles.   Little did we know we'd run through all the Exedrin headache numbers before this was over with.

The tape backup just wouldn't work. We thought of compatibility problems so went along looking for another way to transfer the data. This was the beginning of the Wild Goose Chase. A few things failed and we treated each event as a different problem at first.

Day two. Computer runs but only for a few minutes. When it crashed it reported "error writing to Drive C:". We suspected the hard drive and figured maybe we formatted it wrong or there was something wrong with the drive. Jon found a diagnostic program which declared the Western Digital 2.1 gig drive fit for duty, A-1.

Yet the thing kept crashing.   After about 45 minutes of cajoling it, I could get online, get mail and even browse, it wouldn't do anything else.   Besides, I'd stopped loading software into it for obvious reasons. It must've crashed hundreds of times before being fixed.

Day Three.   Monday. Work interfered with The Computer Conundrum but Jon's brain didn't stop working, the wheels turned. Meanwhile, to get online, I kept cranking the handle on the side of this daing thing, and cranking down the valve on its steam regulator.   It was hot, hard work. Plus we've been having a heat wave. I didn't know it Monday but it was going to be nearly two tortuous weeks and more error messages than anyone has seen in a lifetime before my computer had any get up and go again.   That's where the Wizard comes in.

Part III

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