Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Near Cat-astrophe

Patches, as is wont in a young kitten, likes to explore. We have been allowing her to wander on the desk area of the fifth wheel, where she explores all the nooks and crannies. Part of her routine has been to walk across the keyboard while crossing one side of the desk to the other.

While this normally only causes strange screens and tabs to appear, yesterday afternoon the computer shut itself down after she walked across and I just figured she had managed to hit the start and turn off button somehow. I turned the computer back on and...nothing. The computer stopped running at the Compaq logo screen. Okay, turn it off and try again. Nothing. No F1 to go to the set up screen, no ESC to go to the boot up screen. Nothing. Crap.

I confiscated Denny's laptop and got online with HP's online tech support. I explained the problem, he gave me steps to try. Rebooting, hitting F1 repeatedly to go into the set up screen, etc. Nothing. We tried several more things and then he started to get technical with instructions like "take off the cover, remove the hard drive connection and plug it back in as it may have come loose when the cat was on the computer". ??????? The tower is two feet away and well below the keyboard. How does walking on the keyboard loosen a hard drive connection? The tech sent me instructions via email on installing a new hard drive which was supposed to show me where all the connections were that he wanted me to pull/reseat but the file included the note that since it was over 1mg in size that the pictures may not show up. Great. How do I know what these connections look like without pictures? And why should I start yanking things that have nothing to do with the problem?

Visions of corrupted/damaged hard drives filled my head as I had that experience once before with a Gateway tech who got things so boggled up that the only thing I could do in the end was reformat my hard drive (which was not backed up except for digital pictures). So I chose to ignore this tech's advice/instructions, thanked him and closed the session. I vacuumed out the interior of the computer (dust bunnies that obviously weren't helping matters, shame on me for ignoring that bit of maintenance) closed it up, reattached all cords/cables and do-dads, turned on the computer and voila', I was up and running. HUGE sigh!

Lesson learned, no more kitten on the keys.

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