Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

My demonized computer

My computer has a demon, it really has.

OK, it’s probably a daemon, but it’s a demonic daemon.

It takes control of my computer most mornings about 9:20, just when I’m trying to get some work done, and wastes about half-an hour every day.

What happens is that the hard disk starts churning, and the computer then takes an age to respond to anything. The only way to gain control again is to press and hold down the power button until the thing stops, and then reboot.

But this morning I decided to do it the long way. When I clicked a few times and there was no response, I checked, and sure enough, the disk activity light showed that the hard disk was churning. I’d been viewing a web page, and tried to close it, as I thought it might be trying to send me something long and expensive, like a video. When it took a long time to close, I realised what was happening.

09:23 – Decide to shut down
09:26 – clicked the Restart button
09:28 – htqtra08 closing, then computer closed down and time disappeared
09:36 – time reappeared on reboot
09:43 – Loading ZoneAlarm
09:45 – Reboot complete.

OK, so that is 22 minutes, but from the time the problem starts to the time I get back to where I was working and start working agan, it’s more like 30 minutes.

It’s possible to save 5-7 minutes by switching off with the power switch instead of going through the close-down but it’s still a long long time.

I’m running Windows XP, and if ever I have to replace this computer, I’ll probably be forced to use Vista, which to all accounts is worse.

One of the problems is that Windows never tells you what it’s doing half the time. Microsoft don’t see fit to tell you. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to see what program is running and misbehaving so one can close it down, and there’s nothing there. When you boot up, there are all kinds of “processes”, and I’ve read that you can speed things up by omitting some of them, but how do you know what they do and whether you need them or not? Microsoft doesn’t tell you.

There are other things Microsoft doesn’t tell you, or someone doesn’t tell you.

Some program, I don’t know which, underlines things it regard as spelling mistakes in some documents. But it underlines some spellings that are correct. So where is it, and can one adjust the settings and update it’s spelling dictionary?

There is another (or perhaps the same one) that “suggests” things to use to fill in fields on web pages. The trouble is, it “suggests” every typo I’ve ever made. What is this program, where can one find it, how can one adjust its settings and remove the typos?

Are there any fundis out there who can answer some of these questions?

Someone I know had a hard disk crash recently, and when her hardware had been repaired, she had a problem “revalidating” the Windows operating system. She tried every available method, but nothing worked.

Eventually a friend helped her by loading a pirate version of Windows XP on her computer. It was half the size, booted in half them time, and ran at about twice the speed. It was a stripped down version that was an improvement on the original.

Actually for most of my work I’d be quite happy to use MS DOS. The only trouble is that it hasn’t been updated and can’t handle modern hardware — disk drives, controllers, video cards etc.

People say use a better OS, like Linux, but I don’t know whether the programs I use most often would run under Linux. I have 20 years of work on my computer, if not more. I really don’t have time to start all over again and redo all that stuff.

So perhaps it’s time to exorcise my computer.

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