Technology

Terror in the Tech World: When Nightmare Computer Problems Come to Life

By James Tehrani

Oct. 26, 2015

Things, terrible things; horrors, horrendous horrors.

Yeah, that’s technology for you.

I’ve navigated the cold, dark, gory mazes of haunted houses where ghouls and monsters — some brandishing fiendish weapons — approached from the shadows. I’ve spent a night alone in a stately old fraternity house during spring break where voices emanated from what turned out to be an empty basement. I’ve watched Jason, Freddy and Michael do their worst to people in films.

But I never knew true, unbridled fear until I spent time searching online tech forums. Real monsters lurk there. I have a new appreciation for the men and women of IT who are able to steel themselves to go to battle against the PC towers of terror, the laptops of lunacy and the sinister software.

I never knew true, unbridled fear until I spent time searching online tech forums. Real monsters lurk there. I have a new appreciation for the men and women of IT who are able to steel themselves to go to battle against the PC towers of terror, the laptops of lunacy and the sinister software.

So follow me, if you dare, into another dimension, a dimension we call the IT Zone. (Apologies to Rod Serling.)

Poltergeists are polarizing figures: It’s back … One end-user’s machine seems to have a mind of its own; it doesn’t want to stay shut off. “When I initiate the shut down sequence, it runs perfectly fine and does turn off. But moments later, my PC restarts itself and boots up,” the user says. The person fears the problem is caused by a new motherboard, but we think this is one mother of a paranormal problem.

Suggested solutions include: Updating drivers or possible LAN issue.

Our suggestion: Better call in medium Tangina Barrons. Tangina will know what to do. She saw dead people well before Haley Joel Osment was even born.     

Mummies, not of your museum variety: Computers running slowly are nothing new, but antiquated computers that are slow but getting slower all of the sudden? Is it a registry issue? Not likely. It sounds like a curse to us, kind of like the one in King Tut’s tomb — just ask Howard Carter, the man credited with discovering said tomb. His benefactor, Lord Carnavon, died shortly after the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb was made. Coincidence? “I keep the programs to a minimum and do regular spyware/adware removal as well as regular maintenance,” the user says.

Suggested solutions include: Clean up temp files; download Windows XP Service Pack 3.

Our suggestion: Cover it tightly with bubble wrap and bury the dead (computer) with all its treasure-trove of problems.

An alien invasion? How can a new computer get infected malware? Not through Alienware, but by real aliens. How else to explain “popups, pup-fnk and pup-fps” popping up on a new machine. This is no close encounter of the weird kind; it sounds like an alien language to us.

Suggested solution: Download anti-malware software.

Our suggestion: Send for Sigourney Weaver, aka Ripley, believe it or not.

Nosferatu, is that you? A printer that doesn’t print color? What is this 1922? This problem’s scarier than Max Schreck’s portrayal of Dracula in the silent classic “Nosferatu.” Films have been in color for decades and so should printouts. “The problem is that when I try to print an image which contains colours, it prints in greyscale,” the concerned party said.

Suggested solution: Ink could be drying up.  

Our suggestion: Break out the garlic, gather a few key stakeholders and watch the 1958 film “Horror of Dracula,” which is in color. Ooo, color.

Frankenstein’s monster, how’d you get in here? It’s alive, it’s dead, it’s alive. Something is definitely Abby Normal with this person’s laptop. It only seems to work when it’s not plugged in. Guess what, Frankenstein’s monster prefers its freedom, too. The laptop “gets hotter and noisy when plugged in,” the poster said. Guess what, so does old Frank, but that’s probably because he got shocked by 100 million to a billion volts via a lightning bolt.

Suggested solutions include: Clean the air vents and fan; check the DC jack for damage.

Our suggestion: Monsters are sometimes misunderstood, and so are problems. Don’t play with fire, but sometimes loud grunting helps.

Tell us your scariest tech problems. Remember, the devil is in the details.

James Tehrani is the director of content strategy at FlexJobs.

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