For everyone who's ever had problems with computers

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Maysie Maysie's picture
For everyone who's ever had problems with computers

So I'm checking out my fave blogs, and it seems Jay Smooth has had some hard drive problems.

I watched it twice in a row, laughing my head off each time.

Nice voice!

Video here:My Stupid Hard Drive (it's about one minute long)

Please take this opportunity to rant about technology, that all of us seemed to get along fine without 10 years ago, that has now become such an intricate part of all our lives.

Oh, and radiorahim, no open software propaganda! Enough already! Tongue out

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The elderly (even more so than I) neighbour lady down the street called me on the phone the other day to say she couldn't send e-mails, but could receive tham. Could I come over and take a look?

I did, and sure enough she was right. She was using Microsoft Outlook Express, which I don't use, so I wasn't immediately able to determine the problem. Her ISP's so-called "support" line had told her she has a virus (I did a scan and of couse she didn't have a virus). I tried sending test messages to myself and to herself, but every time a weird error message would come up, with a bunch of geeky numbers that wouldn't mean anything to anyone but about three people who work at Microsoft.

After a couple of hours I finally figured out what had happened: Her ISP had detected a virus in an email attachment and helpfully deleted the attachment before forwarding the message to her, with a scary explanation about how they had found and removed a virus in the attachment. She was concerned, because person X that same day had warned her about a new virus going around.

So she had decided to Forward the offending message to person X and ask if that was the same virus (I know, but she's very naive about computers). Anyhoo, the problem I was asked to solve turned out to be a combination of three things:

1. The offending message was still "flagged" as having an attachment, but (naturally) no such attachment existed on her computer. This caused Outlook Express to abort and display the unintelligible error message as soon as she tried to forward the original message to person X.

2. When you try to send another e-mail to someone else, Outlook first goes to the queue of unsent messages and tries to send them, starting with the oldest one (in this case, it was the one with the phantom attachment), and when it can't do that, it stops. So nothing can be sent out. Maybe there's a "setting" on OE that can get around it, but I don't know that.

3. The third and biggest reason for the problem was the failure of Microsoft to provide a clear, plain-language error message, saying something like, "Unable to send message; attachment not found".

Afterwards, I reflected on the fact that this problem would never in a fortnight have been properly resolved by a tech support person over the phone. The "solution" would have involved erasing all the archived e-mail messages, reinstalling Outlook Express, reinstalling Windows XP, reformatting the hard drive, or any permutation of the above.    


No problems here, knock on wood. My only real complaints are for ISP's, telecoms, and our laissez-faire stooges in Ottawa. I guess that's another thread though.