I am involved in my annual computer meltdown. Every year since 2004–every single year–I’ve had major computer problems sometime between mid-April and mid-May. This is a particularly bad time for me compared to, say, July–and yes, I have PCs. (I hear chuckles from the Mac users. You know who you are.) Over the years I’ve seen Blue Screens of Death (a Windows crash-and-reinstall and hard drive failures on a desktop and laptop), fatal driver incompatibilities, and this year’s endless reboot hang-up. I caused it, apparently, by moving the computer in my home office. I failed to replug all of the USB peripherals into the exact same ports they’d previously enjoyed and, when I turned the computer on again. Windows XP played the role of xenophobic INS agent to a non-resident alien. “This USB connection wants to be part of your computer. I don’t trust it. If you allow it then anything bad that happens is ALL YOUR FAULT.” It warned me thus about 20 times and, when I rebooted, Windows got hung up, the little progress bar cycling endlessly as if it was working overtime to compensate for my irresponsible ownership. Since Sunday I’ve fiddled with registry clean-ups, system restore points–a friend said that if I keep restoring to earlier points soon I’ll be using DOS (students may be too young to remember DOS. It was the earliest Microsoft operating system. One booted up by turning a hand crank)–and have twice installed Windows XP Service Pack 3. Right now I’m reinstalling Windows XP. I’m not optimistic. A sledgehammer might be next.
These problems are less problematic than in the past because I’m obsessive about protecting my data. My redundant backups have redundant backups.
I browsed Macs at the Apple store a few weeks ago. I’m not there. Not yet.