One thing that often baffles me is just how poorly people treat their computers. It’s like when you sit down at someone else’s machine, and see that the desktop is completely filled with incomprehensible clutter, and the system tray icon has like 16 icons of running applications or utilities that aren’t actively being used. And then they’re asking you what’s wrong with their machine.
Obviously, I’m not an IT guy, or someone who’s really that great with the general operations of a computer. But I do know how to do clean installations, and understand that pre-made computers come loaded to the brim with unnecessary bloatware and egregious bullshit applications that don’t really need to be on them. Needless to say, I’ve done quite a number of clean installations for my own machines as well as the machines of pretty much everyone in my family. What happens to these machines once they’re out of my hands is basically, the will of god or whatever deity sounds like the best to reference.
One of the worst phone calls I could ever get is whenever either of my parents call me up whenever they’re having computer problems. Seriously, I think I’d rather have jury duty over having to deal with the computer problems that my parents encounter, because at least while I’m waiting to get called up, I can usually get a very good amount of quality reading time in the process, and it’s something that has a definitive ending to it. My parents’ computer problems? The endings are vague, future uncertain, and it’s only a matter of time before something else occurs.
Today, I get word that my mom’s computer isn’t working. “User Profile Service failed the logon” error, which probably means that something has genuinely fucked with the system registry. In a perfect world, the remedy is as simple as F8ing at the system start up and starting up Windows with the last known working settings, but I’d bet my lunch money that the result of this whole issue is one of those weird Korean* virus/malwares that leech themselves to unsuspecting users from all the random Korean websites that my mom is enamored by. Honestly though, trying to talk my computer illiterate mother into hitting F8 at the appropriate time during the startup itself, I’m banking on being about as difficult as painting the Sistine Chapel.
*Fuck you, Korea. Why the fuck do your stupid fucking websites all have so much fucking malware on them in the first place?
It really sucks, and I do not look forward to having to deal with this. I’ve told my mom countless times to be careful of what sites to go to, and to not download anything at all from emails unless it’s 100% from a genuine source, but it’s pretty much like telling a kleptomaniac to not steal anything, it’s just not going to happen. It’s also not as if my mom’s going to completely abstain from going to Korean websites, which is pretty much all she does day and night when she’s not working these days, so dealing with issues like this is somewhat inevitable.
The bottom line is that it’s exasperating to see how people treat the computers I set up for them. I don’t set these machines up very differently than how I set my own up machines, and I like to believe that my personal computers are pretty clean and not too heavily spammed up by malware and bullshit. It just feels like a slight metaphorical slap in the face when the users of these machines don’t do the most very common and no-brainer of simple things like running and actually installing Windows updates or periodic virus scans, and then their machines becomes vulnerable to the hourly-evolving threats of the internet, and then they come whining to me when shit goes bad, and expect me to fix everything.
I have a lot of admiration for those who do this kind of shit for a living, because I sure as shit hate computers that aren’t mine. But at least they get paid for it, whereas I’m expected to do it under the guise of “family obligation.”