Computer Repair and Passwords

I got up this morning, went to my computer, and my mouse wasn’t working. The cursor was there at the upper right corner of the monitor screen, but it wouldn’t move. I unplugged the mouse and plugged in another scavenged from a previous computer. That did not work, either. What to do?

I rebooted by the switch on the computer box. (Hold it down for about 15 seconds to turn the computer off, then again to turn on. It turns on quickly. Or, you could pull the wall plug, wait a  minute, and plug it back in.) When the reboot was complete, the mouse worked fine. What caused the problem? Who knows, who cares?

When I was taking the mandatory ROTC course at Penn State, they had a fancy name for this type of correction: a general corrective action without knowing the cause. If your M-1 rifle wasn’t working, first slap it hard on its side. Often that simply shakes loose whatever was stuck. It doesn’t matter what as long as it is working again. It’s like we used to slap a TV set to stop the picture from rolling over, again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

But I don’t remember the name they gave for this action. If you do, please let me know.

To get back on the computer, you will be asked for your password after the reboot. I write my Microsoft password on the underside of my desk. All of the other passwords (about 50), I keep in a file on the computer. So all I need is the one password to get on the computer to get to that file.  (Only criticize this procedure if you remember all of your passwords.)

Many programs require that the password contain at least one special character. I meet this requirement by ending each password with an exclamation point (an idea from the Longwood Gardens staff).

(You may have some other operating system, such as Mac OS X or Android. They all have similar password requirements for their operating system, then each application has its own password with its own requirements: the password must be at least 8 characters long, must contain upper and lower case, and must contain at least one special character, and must not be a dirty word. I made up that last one myself.)

“Reboot” simply means to reload the operating system, which a computer automatically does when turning it off, then on.  It comes from the saying “lifting yourself by your own boot straps” because it is loading the operating system that tells it how to load the operating system.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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