Monday, September 20, 2010

Little glitch turns into huge problem

My little computer has been just about right for me. I left the world of Mac when I left that place with the printing press 16 months ago and decided it just wasn’t worth the extra cost to buy an Apple product to surf the web, write a few e-mails and the occasional feature story.

For a year or so my thinking seemed to be right on the mark. My laptop has done my bidding with little problem. Occasionally there has been a tiny glitch, something that I’ve been able to easily fix by hitting the off button and rebooting.

That all changed a few days ago and I’ve found myself in computer hell, thinking right now that it might have been worth spending the extra bucks to stay far away from Microsoft and its vulnerabilities to the worms, viruses and hackers of the world who eventually will sneak into most every corner of the webified universe.

My problems started small – isn’t it always that way? I got a little message when I booted up a few mornings ago, something about an error loading a .dll program. I say program. Of course I didn’t have a clue what .dll stands for in computer talk – it’s all Greek to me! This wasn’t something they taught back when I was in school and they were still offering Latin as a foreign language option.

I, of course, have worked with computers for years at work, but whenever there was a problem – and that wasn’t all that usual since I was USING A MAC – the solution was just a phone call away in the IT department.

Turns out .dll stands for Dynamic-link library – who knew? And it’s Microsoft’s implementation of the shared library concept in Microsoft Windows and OS/2 operating systems. And even though I just typed that sentence, I DON’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT ANY OF IT MEANS!

All I wanted to know was if my computer was okay and/or was there anything I was suppose to do to rectify the glitch. So I posted a few notes on some social media sites, talked with a few experts – my son-in-law, brother and a guy I saw pounding away on his laptop at Dunkin’ Donuts.

The consensus seemed to be that my computer is looking for a program that, for whatever reason, it can’t spot. It’s probably some sort of redundant program that’s not even needed. That said, it’s simply irritating to get a message that something is wrong each time I log onto my laptop.

That’s the reason I went out onto the web – big mistake – and started looking for fixes. Of course I found lots of quick fixes. I simply searched .dll errors and immediately spotted several sites that promised to take care of my problem.

One seemed so promising that I downloaded it and my little problem immediately became much bigger. The program ostensibly began scanning my system and reported that I had all sorts of internal problems that it could quickly solve. It then sent me to a site where, for a few bucks, I could buy special software that would not only fix my computer but would re-grow hair on my shiny noggin, add a few inches to my height and other places I won’t be mentioning and provide me with Emeril Lagasse’s secret lasagna recipe!

Realizing I had, um, acted hastily, I uninstalled the program. But, alas, the damage had already been done. Apparently the very first thing such bogus programs do is shutdown any anti-virus programs running on your computer.

So the next time I booted up, I couldn’t get onto the web or into any of my word processing programs. After consultation with my IT team, all agreed that my laptop could be saved, but my computer license has been temporarily suspended and I can only use it now if a computer expert is within earshot!

So I’ll need to cut this posting short. My proctor for this hour is nearing the end of her lunch break and needs to get back to middle school. Now if I could just figure out where I stored my old IBM Selectric ii typewriter!

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