Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Love It, Love It Not

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with computers. Personal computers that is.

Mainframes (big boxy computers with lots of flashing lights) gave me my 30 year career, of course, and so it's mostly a love thang with them.

But a PC is a very different box of bytes and quite often it's a hate relationship between us.

Late last night and most of this morning, it was lots of hate, frustration and bewilderment and even a red mist of annoyance.

Things had been fine until, out of the blue, I got a virus alert with a program file that had been minding it's own business ever since I got this laptop in March. Suddenly F-Secure, my virus package, said it had a suspect utorrent.exe file and promptly renamed it to utorrent.oxe and so now it didn't work. Wonderful.

I removed the whole folder just to be sure and as I had a few other minor problems with my BBC and Yahoo home pages (more later), I decided to do a full system restore. I'll spare you the details but lets just say no restore worked (I tried 3) as I kept getting a message about this utorrent.exe file just before the laptop rebooted to try and come up from a previous version.

Why ? I'd deleted the folder. There was no reference to it anywhere that I could see, even in the registry. So why was Windows still finding it AND still saying it was a potential virus issue ?

So I gave up on the restore and am just moving on with things. I've downloaded and installed utorrent again and it works fine - as of course it did before this stupid virus msg came up last night. I've run a full scan and my hard drive is as clean as a very clean thing indeed.

So what about the BBC and Yahoo sites then ? Well both of these sites allow you to build up a lovely page with the layout, colours and content you want. Want 6 items of news ? You've got it. Want 3 items of sports ? Go for it. Want to get the weather from the next street ? It's all there. White text on black background ? Yes please.

So I spent ages setting it all up months ago and saved it and it's been fine ever since. Well until a few days ago anyway and then it reverted to the crappy default page. I sighed, as you do, and spent ages recreating my beloved page again. Saved it and did a page refresh and......crappy default again.

Something that had been working fine for ages was suddenly pouting and stamping it's foot like a petulant child.

"No, you're not having your flashy page with excellent content. No, no, no. It's crappy default page for you, pal."

Same with Yahoo. I'd built it up like the BBC page to be how I wanted it. Looked grand, it did.
A few days ago it went petulant too. Crappy default page again. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

At least my years working with computers has given me a bit of knowledge and I found the cookies file, deleted the ones relating to both the BBC and Yahoo sites and all is ok now. Well FOR now I should say.

Over the years I think that's the biggest complaint people have about computers. One day they work fine and the next day something goes belly up. Of course I know only too well that if you're connected to the internet, there is hardly a second where 'nothing' is going on somewhere in the background. I can accept that. And the things we can do and the places we can 'go to' using a PC would be astonishing to someone even a decade ago.

But some simple issues remain and this rant gives me the chance to get one such niggle out of my system - pardon the pun.

I'm always connecting external units to my laptop from my hard drives to my mp3, from my camera to my memory sticks. I never like just pulling them out, or their cables if they need those and so I use the 'safely remove hardware' option whenever possible. I think you know where I'm going with this.

"The device cannot be removed because it is in use by another application. Please close this application and retry" Or words to that effect.

Hello, nothing is running. Nothing I can see. Nothing task manager can see.

If Windows knows something, why can't it tell me what it is ? Why the secrecy ?

Tell me the application, you useless pile of circuits. I bought you. I am your master !!!

Sadly we both know that's not true.


Katherine said...

I have only one thing to say... Get a Mac. End of story.

Silverback said...

Aren't those two things ?

Yes Macs are very nice little things, pretty and cute. And very very overpriced.

Daphne said...

I hate all those incomprehensible messages. My least favourite is: "Changes have been made that affect the global template, Normal. Do you want to save those changes?" - HOW THE HECK DO I KNOW?? I think you were very patient. If it had been me, the laptop would now be on the lawn, surrounded by bits of the window.

Silverback said...

Vista or XP ? Har har.

Never got that particular message myself, Daphne, and my BBC/Yahoo problems came after a Windows update so it's probably all down to that Gates fella.

Right now, thanks to the crappy (default) weather, anything I throw onto my lawn would be lost for weeks.

Bun said...

Yeh, love / hate with PCs. Hard to imagine life without them though! Our window on the world.

Jay said...

" Macs are very nice little things, pretty and cute. And very very overpriced"

Uh .. but Macs work, and they don't get viruses. Get a Mac. LOL!

Sorry you're having a tough time - I remember those times ... when I had a Windows machine. Seriously. Get a Mac. ;)

Debby said...

Geez now you've opened a can of worms. Or is that a can of apples?

Silverback said...

Was hoping to find this post again, Jay, as the other day I read about a virus that only 'attacks' Macs.

Oh look, there goes that smug smile.....hehe.

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