Mr. Fix It

I’ve been using personal computers ever since they became personal back in the late 80s/early 90s, and over the years, I’ve considered myself to be pretty proficient. However, based on a recent foray into the intricacies of desktop technology, I’m beginning to question just how much I really know.

I’m the proud owner of a newly handed down laptop. It was my daughter’s computer. She has moved on to a fancy, desktop model.

Since we’re well aware of my proclivities for cherishing old electronics, I don’t need to tell you that I’m holding on to the kid’s PC for my use. In fact, it’s the machine on which I’m typing as we speak.

Before I began using the child’s computer with any frequency, I thought I’d clean it up a bit. You know, remove/back up old school work, her music (if you can call it that) files and academic programs a 50-year old won’t need anytime soon.

I guess I got a little carried away because my attempts at cleaning up went beyond simply cutting and pasting. It was taking longer than I thought it should for the machine to warm up, and once it was alive and kicking, it was moving slower than I thought it should be. That’s when I thought I’d go all Geek Squad and see if I could perform some troubleshooting.

Should have stopped here!

Should have stopped here!

I was feeling frisky so I started exploring task managers and start up files. I researched and downloaded a highly-rated anti malware program. I even ventured into the verboten no-man’s land known to us mere mortals as the DOS screen — a place I haven’t been in over 20 years!

After more restarts than I care to mention, my wannabe help desk tech jag subsided.

At the end of this uncontrolled execution of my limited technical skills, the earth was quaking and my mind was aching after being shaken all night long by this innocent laptop.

Fortunately I didn’t delete any critical files or cause any irreparable damage.

Looking back over my technological escapades, with a less excited eye, I’ve come to realize the computer wasn’t broken or otherwise malfunctioning. I was just overcome with the urge midlife guys my age have to tinker with things mechanical (And you one or two fellow 50 somethings reading these pages know what I mean!).

By now you’re probably wondering if my handiwork did any good. Since I’m hunting and pecking on the machine in question and not my old IBM Selectric, I guess I didn’t drastically screw up anything.

I guess I’ll wrap it up here and go and see if I can fix that stubborn tracking on my VCR.

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