Turning On a Compaq

WARNING: This is a bit of a rant. You may think I am an idiot after reading this.

I’ve been playing with computers since I was five. This fact should not particularly astound anyone who’s even remotely familiar with my generation or those younger than me, but I mention it just for reference’s sake. Why? Because I’m having a particular problem that is usually only prevalent in those who have never touched a computer in their life.

I can’t turn my computer on.

That’s right. I program computers; I even teach other people how to program and use computers, but I still cannot turn my computer on. Specifically, every once in a while when I turn my computer off and then try and turn it back on, then fans will start a whirring but the monitor will stare blankly at me and the hard drive / floppy access lights which churn so happily after a healthy boot stay ominously quiet.

I called Compaq technical support, and was absolutely humiliated by the guy on the other end of the line. Once I had explained the problem to him in detail

(“Yes, I have the monitor plugged into the back and turned on.” “Yes, the monitor is functioning perfectly on other computers.” “Yes, the computer is plugged into the wall.”)
, he walked me through “The Power Tutorial.”

The Power Tutorial is a step-by-step guide to turning on your PC. Now maybe I’m just getting old fashioned and stuff, but I think that a big honking rocker switch is really the best possible thing. “CLICK” and it’s on! “CLICK” and it’s off! Why a power switch needs to be any more elaborate and less functional than that is absolutely beyond me. At any rate, the instructions weren’t that bad. If you hold down the power button for 10 seconds, your computer turns off. If you press it briefly, it turns on. Keep in mind now that I’ve been using this computer for the last four months.

I stepped through each part of the Power Tutorial and still it didn’t boot successfully. At this point the support guy suggested that I take it to the nearest Compaq service center. I was dismayed to hear that I’d have to take it anywhere (being without a car), but delighted to
hear that it wasn’t my fault. Or so I thought.

I asked him what he thought was wrong. He said. “At the service center, they can show you how to properly turn your computer on and off.” In fury I bid him a good night and hung up.

Now, there very well may be something wrong with my computer. If there is, the representative should have been less hasty to classify it as user error; but if there isn’t anything wrong with my computer, good lord — the maker of the Compaq Power Supply should be dragged out onto the streets and shot.

Turning on a computer should be easy. Yes?

I’ll sit here and fume next to my blank screen. (I’m typing this from my roommate’s computer)

Author: dweekly

I like to start things. :)