Saturday, October 10, 2015

My computer meets Windows 10: A tale of operating system mayhem and horror

The day I installed Windows 10 was a day just like any other. Beautiful skies, acceptable dinner, some light-hearted TV sitcoms that left me in a happy, optimistic mood. I’d heard whispered rumors in the corners of the internet about Window 10 fails, but really, what were the chances it would happen to me?  

So I clicked the button to install it, albeit with apprehension nipping at the edges of my consciousness. The installation went quickly and easily; all was well. Sure, a few little tweaks of preferences here and there, but nothing more. A remarkably smooth transition, in fact.

For two blissful days, Windows 10 and I got to know each other—long afternoons relishing the joy of discovering one another’s quirks. Easier access to system preferences? Lovely. Default photo display doesn’t show the file name? Hmm, I can figure out how to make that work, not a problem, you nutty little OS. 

But. Unbeknownst to me, a silent, insidious force contained in a Windows 10 update was patiently waiting to strike, like a diseased cyber zombie ripping at the core of my computer’s brain. And on the third day, I finished my work for the evening and compiled it, then went to put it into Dropbox. But Dropbox wouldn’t open. 

These things happen from time to time in my laptop’s world, and I have developed a series of troubleshooting steps to deal with them. I initiated the first, a system reboot—the fatal mistake that allowed the cyber-zombie herd to overrun my beloved electronic fortress.

A barrage of error messages pounded the screen: my computer’s screams of virtual terror in the form of incoherent messages about ‘bad images’ with strings of random numbers and letters. One after the other they named the programs that had fallen victim, whose byte-ridden corpses were now strewn dead over my laptop. Dropbox. Google Updater. Chrome. Skype. And so many more. 

I tried to initiate my virus scanner.
Another error message.
I tried to reinstall Dropbox. 
Another error message.
I scrambled to write down the error messages, and clicked to open Chrome so I could look them up.
Another error message. 
I tried Firefox. 
Another error message. 

Luckily, the new Microsoft browser ‘Edge’ opened up (go figure), and I was able to Google the problem—I wasn’t the only one who’d been hit by the cyber-zombie affliction. Microsoft forums had offered several suggestions to the others, and I rushed to try them out. I scrolled down the pages, tried them one by one, and read other’s feedback; other users determined the source of the problem to be a Windows update, and asked for it to be fixed, but were met with silence. And still nothing seemed to be solving the problem: Admin command prompts. Sfc scans. DSIM restore health scans. Reinstalling programs. Multiple reboots. I tried them all, to no avail.

I continued to scroll, desperate for answers, and watched the thread thin as each person succumbed to the inevitable terror when the solutions wouldn’t work. There was one final set of suggestions from the Microsoft representative that involved two pages of nightmarish instructions on booting in safe mode and troubleshooting each application/program individually; at the sight of that, the last hold-out gave up, and I was left alone, staring at an eerily quiet ghost town, surrounded only by the memories of those who had come before. 

My mind grappled for something to hold on to. I was surrounded: the problem clearly wasn’t in any single program—everything was being hit by something else, and hard. Reinstalling the programs hadn’t worked; the victims were beyond help, and the solution would have to eliminate the cyber-zombie king itself. I couldn’t see how it made sense to boot in safe mode to troubleshoot and reinstall the programs one by one; at the very least, that would take hours and hours and hours, with no assurance that there would be any point to it at all. No, it was becoming clear there was only one thing that could be done.

Nobody can ever anticipate what it’s like to be faced with it: the need to look into the eyes of something we once loved and had high hopes for, now turned foul and hopeless, and to know that the only solution is to reach down deep and find the courage to put a bullet right between the zombie’s eyes. At first it seems unthinkable, but inevitably resignation must come. 

I clicked to open my settings, navigated to the right place, took a deep breath and--then I did it. 

I clicked the ‘Return to Windows 7’ button.

That’s right, I did it. I did it. 

And dammit, I’d do it again if I had to. 

1 comment:

  1. This would be hilarious .. if it wasn't so frustrating for you. :D *Of course* you made it into a zombie story.
    Great read. Awful experience.


Are you a writer? Prove it! Leave me a comment!