In truth, it wasn’t a PC at all anymore, rather a hulking square of electronic junk spitting out random invective and refusing to respond to my increasingly desperate measures. And although my blameless motives had engineered this state of apparent computer suicide, nothing could prepare me for the horrors of going toe to toe with the Operating System From Hell.
Microsoft chuck it out of the” Windows was not “ as is their inspirational tag line “ helping me to realise my potential”. Unless my potential was as of a serial wrecker of PC’s or to hunt down Microsoft employees before dispatching them in messy and interesting ways. And it’s not like I’m a total PC numpty; in years past, I was the go to” guy for simple explanations of Extended versus Expanded memory, the data retrevial expert, the hardware guru. Honestly, I had the pen protectors and everything.
Technology has apparently moved on bloating software and gobbling up ever increasing processor power. Like a geeky Bobby Riggs facing the Billy Jean King of PC world domination, I was found wanting almost everywhere with experience offering little against the nonsensical abstraction of the XP layer.
I like to make it clear that the PC was broken before I embarked on this life wasting experience. I know this to be true because it was I that had broken it while stupidly modifying the registry on the reasonable grounds that it was editable. Stuff stopped working, worked to rule or worked at all the speed needed to hunt down a lettuce. Worst of all Media Player was cattled beyond all redemption leaving my MP3 player locked in a world of two hundred tracks listened to about two hundred times.
So the rebuild rationale was to preserve my sanity and protect innocent civilians should the shuffle feature offer up the Arctic Monkey’s one more time. The PC rebelled at such wanton destruction of it’s hard drive and took on the anthromorphic representation of a small angry child.
Alex: Insert rebuild Windows operating system CD in drive
PC: Uh, Err, wrong service pack. Not playing. Try again.
Alex: Boot off rebuild CD
PC: Pah, hit wrong key, boot into bizarre alternative reality mode
Alex: Remove power, try again
PC: Here’s 20 options, none of which make sense. Choose. Go on, dare you?
Alex: *Worried* [Phones a friend]
PC: Timeout expired, selected random option
Alex: Remove power, wipe brow, move away from hammer
PC: Delete or Format Primary Partition” Press H for Help
Alex: Press H” in desperation.
PC: Help Mode: You can now delete or format the primary partitionï¿½?.
Alex: What’s the fuck is the point of the help key?
PC: Keyboard disconnected, press any key to continue”
Alex: Smash fist on keyboard, whirl it above head and prepare to hammer throw it up the garden
PC: That is not a valid option. Idiot.
Alex: Delete everything, start again, die you bastard
PC: If that’s what you want, that’s what’s going to happen. This is all your fault remember. Reformatting, please wait
PC: Still reformatting, are you annoyed yet? I’m here all day.
Alex: Begins to see Linux as the future. Admirably restrains violent use of the formatting hammer
PC: Still there? Copying software, suggest two week holiday
Alex: No I’m not American, UK ENGLISH, UK ok, GMT -0, GET IT?
PC: I shall now reboot 100 times for no reason and make sure you have to press keys every time. Why? Because I can.
Alex: *Folds arms*, not pressing any keys. Bored
Eventually after a number of hours in which the operating system mocked me almost continuously, the PC offered up a screen which looked recognisably windowy. I couldn’t decide if this was a good thing but stormed on loading a thousand CDs and lamenting my backup regime which failed to take into account cookies, favourites and other useful information. I expect to have finally re-entered all this data some time before I die although I fully expect still be tapping away on my deathbed.
At the end of this rather trying day I was left beaten and despondent, yet still feeling the injured expressions of disappointment from the kids who had rather hoped for some parental affection. I’m not sure that look, the bloody thing is acting like you, it’s not my fault it doesn’t work, and no offering it a nice biscuit isn’t going to help” counts.
So success at any cost then. Well yes but actually no. For reasons that I never expect to full comprehend, a rival media player – installed in desperation pre-rebuild “ has destroyed the digital rights to my music collection. So while I can bask with impunity in a plethora of forgotten songs, only about 50 are available to sync to the MP3 player.
And yes, 11 of those are the bloody Artic Monkey’s.