Chapter 1. Dealing with Disaster (While Keeping Your Sanity)

When you notice that something is wrong with your computer, my guess is that the first thing you do is to blame yourself. Don't.

It's natural for any human to think, "What did I do?" any time that the computer goes wacky. Unlike the car, which people refer to as a "stupid thing" when it refuses to start or does something else unexpected, the computer seems to stare back at you innocently when trouble looms. With a sad face and an angelic disposition, the PC seems to sob, "Look what you did to me!" And the human feels the instant pang of guilt.

Yet, in over 20 years of dealing with a computer, I've discovered that only a few odd times have I either intentionally or accidentally caused my computer ill. In fact, I recommend that you adopt the same attitude I have when it comes to dealing with those inevitable computer boo-boos. It helps to know and recite my PC troubleshooting mantra:

Oh, my. The computer is behaving in a random and unexpected manner. I suppose that I shall have to look into this to see what can be done to remedy the situation.

In only 32 words (and 32 is a Holy Number in computerdom because it's twice the Holy Number 16), the mantra lets you profess a neutral observation about the computer's sickly state. Accepting this positive attitude allows you to better fix the problem rather than futilely fix the blame.

Computers shouldn't crash, of course. They're not designed to. Really! But they do, for two reasons, ...

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