I have a new motto.
Here’s how it happened.
I spent Saturday evening playing World of Warcraft with friends. About 9pm, my laptop lost connection to the Internet, knocking me offline (in the middle of an instance – my apologies to the consequently-dead). This happens sometimes, because my office lies about as far from the router as it’s possible to get without standing outside the house.
I normally play with the settings until it reacquires, but given my gaming status I decided to take a shortcut. I returned to desktop, told Windows to restart, and immediately stripped off the power supply, mouse and keyboard and headed for the kitchen (closer to the router, the easier to reacquire a signal).
This made Windows angry.
“Angry” is shorthand for “Windows failed to restart due to a hardware change. Would you like Windows to repair itself?”
Selecting “yes” resulted in a lockup.
Restarting brought me to the same “windows failed to start” error…followed by the same lockup when I tried to repair.
Things improved when I tried to boot from the Windows 7 CD. That is, if moving from the Black Screen of Mocking Repair Offers to the Bluescreen of Death actually qualifies as an improvement.
It only got worse from there.
I eventually managed to get the computer to the Windows 7 start screen by using the boot discs, but even that ultimately failed. [Bluescreen of Death Mocks You for 5000...You Die.]
I tried to start up in safe mode, but the computer would not let me. It did, at least, explain why. Safe mode was not safe. (No, really. That’s what it told me. I can’t make this stuff up.)
After over an hour of patience, prayer and (futile) perseverance, I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere. Windows was angry, and it had taken its four-colored flags and gone home.
The computer came with a year’s protection from the Geek Squad, so I called their 800 number, hoping to get a tech that could shed some light on the situation. I did get a tech, but she didn’t know what to do. I had already done everything she would have suggested, most of it more than once. In the end, her only advice was the same thing I’d already decided to do: go to the store in the morning and let a live Geek Squad rep take a look at the problem.
I packed up my angry computer and drowned my sorrows in lemon cupcakes until I fell into a sugar coma. This morning I took the computer to Geek Squad, laid it on the counter and explained the problem while the tech opened up the laptop and hit the power.
And Windows started.
No blue screen. No black screen. No mocking Dos-text of doom.
The tech ran some diagnostics, but the computer is fine. His guess, and mine, is that I made it angry by detaching the peripherals too soon, but the flash memory reset that happens a few hours after you power off probably cleared the problem, allowing Windows to restart as normal today.
All of which brings me to my new motto: DO NOT ANGER THE TECHNOLOGY.
Trust me. You won’t like it when it’s angry.