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Another unexpected hour sacrificed to the computer gods

So… I decided to get a jump on the day and put the stack of receipts on the desk into Quicken, only to discover that the computer was once again hung on a BIOS screen. Apparently Windows Update had rebooted the computer, and this is what happens about 75% of the time when that elderly computer gets rebooted. Still feeling pretty ambitious, I thought ‘well, I know there is probably a BIOS update to fix that issue, I might as well just go ahead and fix it’ and off to Dell’s site I went.

Dell is apparently unhappy that I had updated this old machine to Windows 7 a while back and refused to show me updates for that OS, but there was indeed a BIOS update – 1.1.11 as opposed to the 1.1.4 I was running. I downloaded it and it told me I had to unplug everything except the mouse and keyboard (I grumblingly did so) and then refused to update because it needed admin rights to access the flash memory. Huh. I was logged in as admin and UAC is disabled. I had to tweak compatibility settings to run it, then it flakes out at the next step, says I am running an ‘unsupported configuration’ and it can’t read the BIOS. WTF? BIOS has nothing to do with the operating system, it loads on the machine hardware itself. Argh…

I had to haul the machine out of it’s little cubby in the desk, which is always a pain, and plug the old Windows XP disk (thankfully I am a bit of a data hoarder and never erased it) back in and boot to that. Updated the BIOS and it didn’t hang – the issue is intermittent so it remains to be seen if that was the fix. Oh, and when I plugged everything back in, I was reminded that my Kensington Expert Mouse only works if it’s plugged in to the front of the machine. The mouse is even older than the computer itself, but I love that thing – best trackball ever made – so I put up with that glitch even though it means the door to the desk won’t close properly.

So now I am booted back into Windows 7, the stack of receipts is still on the desk, I no longer have the inclination to fool with them and am questioning why I didn’t spike my coffee this morning.

I think the computer is well past retirement age. I haven’t replaced it because I hardly ever use it except for Quicken and to print, but I hardly ever use it because there is generally extensive drama involved when I try (see above) so maybe it is time to think about a new machine.

BTW, I am well aware this is my first real post in over a year… that is a topic for another day. Right now I guess I just need to bite the bullet and balance that checkbook.

317 comments to Another unexpected hour sacrificed to the computer gods

  • Joel

    I can get you a machine from surplus next month of you’d like. It would be a few years old and without a hard drive. I’ve been doing that for our home machine the last few years and it works well. We run Linux on it to get more mileage from the specs but with a RAM infusion Win 7 should run fine.

  • Chris

    I might want to take you up on that, Joel; anything newer than 9 years old has got to be an improvement…

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