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19 January, 2004

Not again...

Something odd happened when I switched on my PC at work this morning.  It booted okay, I logged in, it displayed the usual 'loading personal settings' message, then went blank, displaying the mouse pointer against a plain black background (that could have been my wallpaper, but I doubt it).  I could move the mouse, but there was nothing on which to click.  Ctrl/Alt/Del didn't work, I discovered that this new PC doesn't have a 'reset' button, the 'Off' button didn't respond, and there's no power switch on the base unit, so I had to reboot by unplugging at the wall - not ideal.
It wasn't a one-off bad boot, as the same happened again twice more.  I rang Staff Help Desk, who'd received a report of exactly the same symptoms on a PC in the English department, two floors away but in a contiguous building.  Nothing odd was showing in the network logs, so a tech would have to investigate.
Terrific.  A week after receiving my new PC, and that after three month without a work computer of my own, the new one was out of action.

Rather than sit by the 'phone staring into space, I went to the library to check my e-mail at a public-access terminal. Having done that, I popped into ISS (tech support), since Staff Help Desk is based just by the public computers. Three more cases had been reported, spaced well across campus, with nothing obvious linking us.
Back in the office, I thoroughly cleaned my keyboard (I was bored, okay?), then went to lunch early. I ate at my desk as usual, in case the 'phone rang, but it didn't. I tried booting again anyway - and it worked.

Staff Help Desk later told me all cases had resolved themselves - the tech had found no faults. In one sense, that's great, but in another: what if it happens again tomorrow?

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