Wednesday, August 17, 2005

things falling apart

is the law of entropy speeding up?

yesterday when i got back from lunch, my work computer started experiencing weird restarts. an alert would come up, complete with a 60-second timer, telling me that windows was about to shut down. this happened frequently enough that the thing was damn near useless: it would restart, then sometimes even before windows could fully load, the alert would come back up and it would restart again.

i ended up working on one of the interns' computers. but it wasn't configured for copy editing and runs a newer, harder-to-configure version of word. (i'm becoming convinced that each new release of word is an order of magnitude more sucky than the previous one.) so i was able to work, but only at about half my normal pace, because all my keyboard shortcuts and stuff like that were gone.

eventually they got my machine patched enough so it would run, but there was still one problem: it was infected with a virus! and though we didn't seem to have any info about it yesterday, this morning i know it was the W32.Zotob.E virus:

W32.Zotob.E can run on, but not infect, computers running Windows 95/98/Me/NT4/XP. Although computers running these operating systems cannot be infected, they can still be used to infect vulnerable computers that they can connect to.

this POS computer runs win2k, apparently the only version of windows that this virus actually infects. hooray. maybe that will inspire the company to actually get me a new computer. at least the outbreak seems to be under control for right now.

so last weekend barry finally got the part he needed for his truck, which has been sitting in the yard immobile for many months, maybe even a year. he had to get the part specially welded. so we were eager to use the opportunity to move some furniture to virago's place. we got the couch loaded into the truck, and he managed to drive it as far as 38th & meridian (read: not very far at all) before the truck up & died on him, then the engine wouldn't turn over. so he called AAA to come tow him back to the house, and virago didn't get any furniture. but we did at least have the couch cushions in my car, which we took to the apartment and set up as a quasi-couch, where we sat and watched donnie darko: the director's cut. it was better than sitting on the floor.

i got home around 12:45am, ready to relax for a couple minutes then hit the sack. but when i got upstairs, i saw that my boot problem had returned: it was stuck at a boot screen with the BOOT DISK ERROR at the bottom. after a few tries, i managed to get it to boot into windows long enough for me to tell it to scan drive c:, which it did after a restart... but it wouldn't book back into windows again. i was already fairly stressed from being so busy at work coupled with the virago move: i've had extremely little time to myself in the past couple weeks. and this was the last straw. i started freaking out, trying to get windows to come back despite being unable to find the actual winxp cd: either barry took it back and put it somewhere funky or it got lost in the piles of junk in the attic (i'm pretty sure it's the former).

by 2am, it still wouldn't boot to windows, so i gave up and went to bed. somehow i was able to get to sleep. this morning, after a few bad boots, it booted back into windows normally (and ran the scan on c: again). i ran windows update (once, which is probably not enough), and it restarted and went back into windows again. that's good; very promising. but i didn't have time to stick around and see if it would continue to function, because i had to leave for work. i just left it running as it was.

so maybe it's "fixed" again... maybe that scandisk worked the second time. or maybe there's some other intermittent problem. i don't know. right now, maybe it's running and sleeping normally. or maybe there's already a BOOT ERROR screen waiting there to taunt me when i get home. i'm not sure i really want to know; it's not like i could fix it from here at the office.

i probably wouldn't have time to fix it tonight, anyway: virago & i are going to the state fair, in part to see the prairie home companion live show tonight. that should be fun... though if my computer isn't working i might not be in the mood to really enjoy it.

but maybe it's already fixed! as mysteriously as the problem began, it might have also vanished inexplicably. at least, that better be the case, as i'm already overstressed as it is, and i have neither the time nor the patience to put in a bunch of hours trying to see what's wrong with my brand-new computer.

No comments: