Computers are such fickle things…..working well one day and dead the next. Yesterday when I had left it alone for a little while, I returned to find half of the screen was black, and nothing I did got it working again. I switched it off, tried again, switched it off, disconnected the leads and plug, tried again, and again…….nothing but a blank screen and an error message that appeared and disappeared so quickly that I did not manage to read it no matter how many times I tried.
This morning I rang Dell, and eventually got through to a tech person who spent an hour and a half talking me through the process of diagnosis and cure…….from Manilla. Again there were numerous steps to follow, with me explaining I really was not a computer expert and did not know what he was talking about at times, attempts to reboot using the original discs, cables removed and replaced, waiting or chatting while the computer did its own thing or while he went off to consult someone else, endless boring music in the interim, and more of the same fruitless attempts when he returned. He even had me take the back off the tower and remove and replace leads inside – never having seen inside before, I was most apprehensive as well as fascinated to see all the bits and pieces that make it work. When I tried again, the screen came back with various messages, mostly that there was nothing wrong with it, and to consult the manufacturer.
The tech then went off to get someone else, promising to return while I waited on the phone…….only for their phone system bump me back to the beginning after another ten minutes, as if I was a new caller. Once more pushing buttons on the phone, and waiting, waiting to speak to a real person, I find the original tech is not available and did not leave any notes of what he had done. This time the tech was a woman, who asked for all the details again, so I began to explain. The first thing she asked me to do was to switch it off and start it again…….of course it then worked! Perhaps I had done something to fix it in all the earlier fiddling, perhaps the innards liked being exposed to the fresh air, perhaps the wind changed direction…….who knows? The whole process took more than two hours…………I’m so glad to be back online, but I’m wondering……”who pays the phone bill?”