Computer, why do you hate me so?

It was late on a Friday and my computer gave me the all too familiar black screen with blinking cursor. By now, I should know what to do, I thought to myself. Keep turning it on and off again until it magically works a few hours later. After seeing many technicians and calling Dell over the years, I knew the cause of the problem: The computer couldn’t find what it needed to boot.

This had happened a few weeks before, accompanied with the failed internet connection. Could they be “connected?” haha. According to the American University tech staff, no. I had two separate but equally irritating problems.

I learned by taking it into tech support that sometimes, the problem with Internet isn’t an inept, outdated PC that’s suffered years of damage. Even if your Internet connection seems to be working on your friend’s computer (although you’re the one paying for it), the problem could be more complicated. Sometimes it’s the cable box’s ability to communicate with your PC.

To put it in my terms, the Internet wasn’t working because my cable box didn’t feel like giving my computer the correct IP address. Each IP address is different on each computer, so my friend was able to get internet while I couldn’t. Was it the computer’s fault I wasn’t getting the right IP address, or was it Comcast? All I knew was that it sure as heck wasn’t me.

To sum up a long and arduous process, the simple fix to a problem like this is to restart your computer and reset your cable box. I unplugged it for 45 seconds, plugged it back in, and waited for all the lights to start blinking. I then restarted my computer and the IP address was corrected. It’s also important to remember that sometimes your computer might be looking for wireless connection, so you should disable your wireless network if you are using an Ethernet cord.

So back to my failure-to-boot conundrum: I got it to boot again a few weeks ago, but it was once again back to its old tricks. Although the hard drive might be new, the reason a computer fails to boot can go beyond a virus. Sometimes if you leave your computer on for too long, it can overheat and mess with the interior of the computer. In my case, I often leave my computer on for days on end so I don’t have to wake up to a computer that won’t turn on. I would hear this little humming go on sometimes, which apparently is a little fan inside the computer trying to cool off the interior. Every time I hear the fan come on, I shut the computer down. Now I do it every single time I’m done using it to save energy, battery, and keep it from overheating.

This time, the solution astounded me. I called my old friend Dell around three in the morning, simply telling him, “The on and off strategy hasn’t worked for two days. What now?”

“Well, do you have anything plugged into it?” He said almost knowingly. I looked down to see my white IPod cord protruding from the side connected to my Nano. I thought nothing of it since I typically leave it plugged into the computer to charge.

“You should unplug your IPod, and then it will boot, since it’s trying to recognize the IPod but can’t,” he said all too enthusiastically. This had to be a joke. Something as arbitrary and simple couldn’t be causing my computer to stay dead for two days.

“Yeah, but who cares?” I told him. I unplugged the IPod and pushed the power button.

It turned on.

“Alrighty, anything else?” he laughed, sensing my feeling of frustration and stupidity. I never thought I’d see the day when I was outsmarted by my IPod trying to charge up through the night.

Someone explain this one to me.

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