Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Needed to Boot Vanilla

Sometimes your computer chokes.  It might run super slowly for a while first.  You get the sense something's wrong.  Eventually, you can't put up with it any longer.  You have to call your computer friend.

Maybe you're the computer friend.  Maybe it's a spouse.  Maybe you don't have a computer friend and have to take it somewhere to be fixed (in which case, I feel very sorry for you; everyone should have a computer friend).

The first thing your computer friend will say is, "Did you shut it down and restart it?"  Trust me.  That's what he'll say.  (I'm going to say he, because my husband is my computer friend.)  Know why he'll say that first?  Because it truly does fix it a ridiculous amount of the time.  Those magic computer boxes just need to shuffle some things around and put them back in their places - they do that when you restart.

But sometimes it doesn't work.  And sometimes you can't get it started again properly.  Maybe you need to boot vanilla.

To boot vanilla means to start your computer up as basic as possible, without all the bells and whistles.  To only load the essential programs.  The minimum needed to gain access to the system.  Not enough to run any of the normal programs you use.  This requires a special vanilla boot disk or a vanilla install file.

From there, your computer friend can do some troubleshooting.  He can search for things he knows might be possible problems.  After asking about your recent activity, he might be guided to look for a particular virus.  And if he still doesn't find anything, he will try adding programs back in one by one.  (Yes, I know there are many possible ways to handle this process.  Let's just pretend this is the one every computer friend does.)

As he adds each program back in, he'll watch for errors.  This way, he can hopefully find the source of your frustration.

I needed to boot vanilla.

My life kind of choked.  Things were running choppy.  I was functioning sluggishly.  Some days I couldn't get past the boot up screen.

I have several life "computer guys."  This time I took myself to my psychiatrist and therapist for repair.  (I just happened to have appointments scheduled with them on back to back days.)  We did lots of troubleshooting.  We figured out some workarounds.

But eventually I decided I just needed to boot vanilla.  I needed to get rid of everything in my life that wasn't absolutely essential.  I've actually been stripping things out for a while now.  Activities.  Obligations.  Friends.  And, more recently, social media.  I kind of feel like I've put myself into quarantine.

I think I've gone bare bones as far as I can.  Well, as far as I can and still be somewhat healthy.  I'm hesitant to add things back in, because I don't want to freeze up again.

But I will add things back in.  Very.  Very.  Slowly.  I will go for a short time to a few activities.  I will spend some time outside my home.  And I will very carefully tiptoe back into social media.  Very carefully!  Probably in a ways but then back out again.  Social media is a slippery place with lots of potential viruses, many of which I know I'm susceptible to.

I'll be running a different machine when I'm done.  After all, we have to make upgrades over time or become incompatible with new programs.  I've made a lot of changes lately; it's not surprising there were conflicts.

I think my main error has been trying to do a system restore.  Trying to go back to the way I used to be.  But I've altered too many things for that system to do the job.  I need to let the new me become.  Whatever I am going to become.

No comments: