Sunday, July 19, 2015

Computers - Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Dynamite 'Em

Sorry, fun seekers.  It was a crazy day; crazy weekend really.  Typical computer stuff. 

I have a Canon multi-function printer (printer/copier/scanner) about four feet behind and left of my left shoulder as I type this.  It has been there at least five years and I've been using it for that whole time, through at least a couple of computers (this one turned four years old in March) and running XP, Win 7 and Ubuntu operating systems.  As a rough number, I print something about once a week. Yesterday, my computer decided it wasn't going to work with it any more; in fact, it decided the printer had left the known universe.  Mrs. Graybeard could print to it just fine, but my system couldn't even find it.  One time during the day, I turned the printer off and back on again (universal software fix) and my computer found it, then lost it within the next half hour.  For the rest of the day, nothing I did would make it work.  I even turned this computer off and on again.

In frustration, I uninstalled it yesterday, figuring I'd reinstall it this morning.  And then, just because I haven't done it in a while, I defragmented my data drive yesterday. 

This morning when I started up the computer, this computer thought my 1 TB data drive was gone.  It offered me a chance to run a disk check while booting, but I opted to go to Windoze and work from there.  I keep a pretty good backup, doing a differential backup every other day, so I wasn't that concerned, but it's nice to have that terabyte there without having to work at it.  So I spent about two hours running disk checking utilities, and the process was very slow.  The task would sit there with no feedback to me whatsoever for long periods, then advance.  Just as I was about to head up to the local Staples and pick up another Terabyte drive, it started working. 

Again, I shut down and started up again, and this time it was fine.  On to the printer.  This time it only took about a half hour out of today, starting from no printer installed at all. 

Today's computers really are amazing technology - when they work.  You can buy anybody's accessories for it and they work - for the most part.  When they don't work, they can make you pull your hair and wish for the old days of dip switches and manually assigning IRQ numbers.  At least you felt like you had some control.


  1. Well, it sounds like you have a computer problem.

    I don't have enough data from your description to go on, but my "professional" opinion is that you are on borrowed time with your hardware. And if I had to hazard a guess, it's the motherboard that is starting to go. I'm assuming you are using on board networking functions.

    Sometimes you can work around this by adding expansion boards and disabling the on board functionality through the BIOS, but all that does is delay the inevitable. Computers are like boats, they all eventually end up cheaper to sink than repair...

  2. You might want to get a spare HD ready.

  3. I'll bet it's the hard drive.
    When I first install Windows, I make a system image. Once in a while I'll reload that image, update, and re-image.
    With over 10 years and three Windows editions doing that, I've had your problem a few times. With my setup, it's an easy fix.

  4. Went through many Canons, finally got an HD.
    Eventually the HDs started giving me problems.
    Now I have an Epson.
    Given the decrease in costs to veritably disposable...
    Now I have problems with after-market ink cartridges!

    It's always something...



  5. BTDT, and been doing it for the last 20 years.

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  7. Techy joke:

    Four software engineers are traveling eastbound on SR520 towards Redmond, WA.
    Their car, for no apparent reason, stops running.
    They coast over to the side of the road and have a brief discussion.
    After some manipulation of controls they start the car and resume their journey.
    What did they do?
    They closed all the windows and restarted the car.

    I will not own a Microsoft product, but that is another story in and of itself.

  8. I thought my comment was on-topic and non-offensive, but it's gone. That'll teach me to comment on blogs.

  9. Anonymous 7/21 0915 and 7/20 0914 - Don't be offended, it was Blogger. Blogger sometimes puts entirely normal comments into the spam folder and that's what it did with yours. I'm supposed to check that, but since most nights I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger, I tend to forget. I usually check when I'm at the "submit a post" page. I forgot.

    Re: your point, I have a NAS drive with a system image on it. My system is a little abnormal because I run a SSDD for the OS and this 1 TB drive that was acting up is bulk file storage - and I have about 180 GB used up out of the TB.