Yesterday my wife casually mentions that her computer isn't working.
"What's it doing?" I ask.
On booting up a cryptic message flashes on the screen telling me that LSASS.EXE can't initialize and I have to terminate it. Hmmm. Off to google.
According to the allmighty googletron LSASS.exe is a common file used by Windows to load account settings and should not be tampered with. However ISASS.exe is a trojan, a worm, a virus that will cause all manner of harm to my wifes computer and will likely herald the birth of the antichrist. Of course, because of the way fonts are displayed in Windows, A lower case 'L' and a capital 'I' look exactly the same. In any case the antivirus installed on her system might have missed something. Time to pull the hard drive. After 10 minutes of concentrated swearing and several cuts I get the drive out and scan it on my system. My antivirus finds 14 evil creatures living on my wifes hard drive. I perform deletions and exorcisms and re-install the drive. Still no boot, but as a bonus its giving me random blue screens of death.
It's off to the windows XP recovery console. Which finally 'repairs' her installation of windows. Except that again, it doesn't. I am forced to do a re-install. I pull the drive and put it back on my system, pull off all my wife's email and other files. Pop it back in her system and start the clean install.
Once its done I find I'm missing all kinds of drivers. I crawl around in my wifes closet to find the Dell drivers disks. Then there's the missing wi-fi drivers that must be downloaded, then a download of Thunderbird, Firefox, Avast Antivirus and an attempt to restore the email.
By the time most of it was over it was 2am. Fun Mcjoyjoy. Today I got her email restored and working again. I almost wish it had been a real hardware failure. Computers are so inexpensive now it's almost cheaper just to chuck one and get another. Wouldn't that be great? Your rig starts to slow down and you decide to get a new one. At the comp-u-mat you select B7 and rub your hands in anticipation. Then the new computer get stuck on that stupid spiral wire thing. You end up smacking the plexiglass front of the machine and trying to shake it for 10 minutes to no avail.
Of course, once you stop your rant the computer magically falls off the wire and you are able to pull it out the bottom and take it home. The old system? You throw it on the compost heap (because in my work computers are biodegradable).