Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Black Screen of Death is even more formidable

First of all I would like to apologise for the very poor quality of the Blog over the last week or so. I have been distracted by the Hendos and by Migraines and possibly the worst Hay Fever I have ever had.

I have sneezed so much I have whiplash and dehydration – but the cats no longer jump when the numerous explosions take place. They just roll their eyes and sigh.

You have voted with your feet and readers have deserted me in droves. You fickle bastards! 360 posts and you desert me as soon as I have an off week!

Was I this bad last year – I just cannot remember. Nadia Poponova came on Tuesday and we compared notes. She looks worse that I do and has a red nose and puffy eyes and looks like death warmed up. She has been to the Doctor and has pills.

I have been for blood tests because I was sure that not all of my problems are Spring related – and the results say that everything is in order. Dr Mordor does not know what the matter is - it may be Spring or the Volcano or the problems in the Vatican.

He sighed and said ‘there is not much I can do for you but I hope that despite your problems you will feel better soon’. I am not kidding – this is what he says – he should not be a Doctor – perhaps a philosopher – or vivisectionist.

Something went seriously wrong last week. Rozalin borrowed my Dell notebook PC for a conference Cate was hosting – and it crashed. It was not a Blue Screen of Death - it was a Black Screen of Death. This is actually worse because there is no sign of life at all.

This is the only major software failure I have ever had with Dell and – the weird and seriously wrong thing – the PC is still under warranty! Not by much mind you – but still there.

So after the Hendos left on Wednesday night I metaphorically girded my loins to tackle the software problem. Now what I could do would be ring the Dell Service people in Europe – and I thought about this – but the PC ID is not recognised on the European website so they probably would not talk to me.

I could ring the Dell Service people in Australia – well – in India actually. I have spoken to Dell many times about many things in Australia and it is always a very nice Indian man who deals with my issues.

But I knew that it would be an excruciating process as what they do is get you to run through an endless series of software processes and procedures because they will do anything to avoid sending a technician if the PC is under warranty. I have had only a few glitches with software – but I know how it works.

I thought to myself – what would William do? Now William lives in the wilds of France with Sophie and Donkeys and Goats and sure he could ring someone but he is a very practical man and I just know that he would roll up his sleeves and deal with the issue. So that is what I did.

A BSoD is a formidable obstacle. There is no sign of Windows or anything approximating something you can try to click. Indeed - there is no cursor. It is inky black! It is blacker than Dick Cheney’s heart.

All you get on a boot is a choice of F2 or F12. So I played with these for a while and made no progress. I then delved into the innards of the Dell help site – which I must say is bloody marvelous. I actually used the terms ‘black screen’ and ended up with loads of sound advice about messing about with the BIOS to boot from the original Windows disk.

After an immense amount of farnarkling and backtracking – it worked. I reloaded Windows – changed the BIOS settings back and now no longer have the BSoD.

Of course I had to do a clean reinstall so lost all my programs and settings – and files - and these will take me years to reestablish - but I did not have to talk to Dell Indian Man!

I will reload the programs I need over the next few weeks-months-years – but I am losing interest in Dell and Windows because – as you know – I am now an Apple convert. As we speak my baby is being built somewhere (China?)and will soon wing its way to Vienna.


  1. I didn't leave you, you snarky old curmudgeon!

    Seriously, I've talked to that Indian dude too. Once or twice I talked to his wife though, but she's less patient.

  2. when you get your imac you can use a program called coconut identity card to find out exactly where it was built, the name of the person who built it, their address, next of kin and what they had for breakfast. then you'll know exactly who to call for help!

  3. I am still here.
    I am out a lot.
    I deserve them.
    No kidding.
    Keeping you in my thoughts. ;-)
    Cate and cats included.