Not very it seems. And not the politically-correct variety either.
I switched on the home PC as usual this morning to find that the mouse didn’t work. Not a flicker of the red optical morning rising mouse sunshine that normally accompanies my first cup of Twinings Breakfast Tea of the day. A reboot didn’t solve the problem, so I thought the worn and wasted rodent was deceased.
On my way to work, I stopped off at PC World to buy a new one. (How can they flog a Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse for just £9.97? There must be slave labour involved somewhere in the supply chain surely?)
Having got my nod towards ethical manufacturing out of the way, I trekked home thinking that my cardboard and plastic wrapped parcel would solve the problem. It didn’t.
Somehow — and I don’t know how it had done this — my switched off PC had switched itself on again and there was a black screen informing me that a file was either missing or corrupt, namely WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/CONFIG/SYSTEM or some such.
Why do MS have to shout so much? As in the way we’re not supposed to do when we email? Even in uper and lower case I would have had that sick feeling in the stomach. Written large, it definitely: OH SHIT!
As ever in these situations, I turned to the instructions on screen which told me to place the original install disk and hit ‘r’ for repair. Except I don’t have one. Apparently the providers of new PCs don’t supply one. Unless you ask. Except that no-one tells you to.
So I switched to the manual. This tells you to insert the Recovery DVD that you’re supposed to make yourself when you buy the thing, which I had and did. Except it did sod all other than to waste 20 minutes of my time only to bring up the same error message.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. After all, I hadn’t been able to load the latest Archers Omnibus onto CD for me and Mrs P to listen to in the car. (Can anyone tell me why the sound quality is so crap on BBC Listen Again at the moment, by the way?)
And so I turned to Master P and MSN. A staccato conversation ensued with our computer expert who eventually turned up, spending an hour or so sorting things out that involved dashes to our Macs to Google solutions, and the ghost is back in the machine.
To stretch the Mastercard ad, PCs are mostly bobbins; priceless are the folk who can make them work right even when they have gone so spectacularly and catastrophically wrong.
And in this instance, he was aged 16. Blub, blub.