Worst Computer Mistakes of A Lifetime

Dell Dimension 8300 desktop
June 12, 2011 at 16:54:42
Specs: Windows XP Home Edition, Intel Pentium 4 @ 3.20GHz, 4 Gigabytes RAM
This forum is about the worst computer mistake you have had in your lifetime. Have fun posting!

My Worst Incident:
So I looked one time at the root of my Windows Drive. I saw 2 files called NTDETECT and NTLDR. They looked suspicious, so I checked if any of my other computers had them. None did. So I just thought if other computers were working fine without those 2 files, mine should too. So I deleted them. BAD MISTAKE! Next time I restarted, "Windows cannot boot because NTLDR is missing or corrupted!" So I didn't know how to fix it then, so I ended up reformatting the drive, and reinstalling Windows, losing everything. So now I looked up online and found out you can just copy the files over again off of the Windows CD. I felt so stupid after that. Now I know to wait before I delete.

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.


See More: Worst Computer Mistakes of A Lifetime

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#1
June 13, 2011 at 00:39:28
I guess the "worst" computer relaited thing I have done would be when a friend and I sent.....basicaly a virus, I say virus because when you interact with it it performs a task on the "infected" computer without the users permission. All it was was this thing called a free gift from coca cola. When the user clicked the button labled "click to recieve your gift" their cd rom tray would open. That's all it did. One friend we sent it to her tower was in a cabinet under her desk. When she clicked the button the tray tried to open the door. After the third time of nothing happening on screen and her seeing the door patially opened she slamed it. Yep busted cd rom. Another friend actually thought he could set his pepsi there but I don't take responsibility for stupid.

Likely


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#2
June 13, 2011 at 00:46:43
To me this

ranks high on the list of bad computer ideas too.

Likely


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#3
June 13, 2011 at 10:09:42
In the mid-80's I inadvertently executed rm * on a Xenix system. Yes, I was root. It took me two days to re-install the OS and recover my backup which was all on 16-inch floppies. I learned a very hard lesson.

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Related Solutions

#4
June 13, 2011 at 12:29:37
To Likelystory:

Holy cow! Now that is something very odd you'd probably see once in a lifetime. I wouldn't mind putting one of those in my computer! :)

To Nails:
I feel so bad for you. The worst I had was in my first post on this thread when I deleted those 2 files. But 2 days my God! How often did you have to switch the floppy disk for the next one to install the OS?

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.


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#5
June 13, 2011 at 13:45:03
Nails,
should have had a Bernoulli Box...
Best back up, at the time.

MIKE

http://www.skeptic.com/


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#6
June 13, 2011 at 14:30:04
... deleting rather than renaming the file "win.com" when upgrading from win95 to 98
(works without upgrade cd)

... then trying to boot back into win98 forgetting to copy the file to destination! win95 for some reason or other.

... and trying to remember the nightmare that followed! ....lol ... (still has hair left)
.
Demonstrative exspelling
... there is logic to this madness!
http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/...
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... .im


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#7
June 13, 2011 at 21:46:47
About 10 years ago I pulled a Slot 2 Xeon out of its processor slot, with the power on, when I was testing the motherboard out of the case. Because the processor was cooled by a large passive heatsink, there were no running fans to remind me that the juice was still flowing.

No fireworks, but I did smell magic smoke. Motherboard and processor were toast.

Super PIII | Unlocked ES Tualatin @ 1.8GHz (150x12, 1.65v, 512K L2)
2GB PC2700 | 500GB | Radeon x1950Pro | Apollo Pro 266T | Win 7 Pro


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#8
June 14, 2011 at 10:08:58
How come you didn't get shocked jackbomb? Seems like it would be at least enough juice flowing to the processor for it to shock you when you took the processor out.

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.


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#9
June 14, 2011 at 20:59:49
Processor cartridge was made of plastic, and the heatsink wasn't making contact with any of the electrical components.

Super PIII | Unlocked ES Tualatin @ 1.8GHz (150x12, 1.65v, 512K L2)
2GB PC2700 | 500GB | Radeon x1950Pro | Apollo Pro 266T | Win 7 Pro


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#10
June 14, 2011 at 22:55:24
RMT2:

Thank you for your concern, but I've had 25 years to recover from the ordeal :). I learned a lesson, and I've never had to such an incident again - at least not one created by me.

Mike:

You are right; in those days, Bernoulli was a good backup choice, but I am afraid my Xenix fiasco predated Bernoulli by a couple of years. I used Bernoulli as early as DOS 2.1, but I don't think the TRS 80 (affectionately known as Trash) Xenix system I was using ever had the drivers for Bernoulli.

Radio Shack developed the TRS 80 systems - both using their own OS and Xenix (created by Microsoft). I got my start in the *nix world because of them. At that time, RS had one of the largest installed base of multiuser systems in the country. They threw it all away because they wouldn't pay their best technical people.


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#11
June 15, 2011 at 08:53:18
Nails:
By the way, I actually have an operational Radio Shack TRS-80 Pocket Computer Model PC-2! I've done a few programs on it, but it still is hard to understand.

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.

Dell Dimension 8300
Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.20 GHz
4 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce FX5200


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#12
June 19, 2011 at 19:50:43
Biggest mistake - saving the password to my "secret" Hotmail account. Partner accessed account, read what I sent to another guy and took off like a rocket. He should be at the edge of our universe by Christmas.


Please come back & tell us if your problem is resolved.


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#13
June 20, 2011 at 06:25:41
Worst mistake I made as a younger one was not inserting this RAM upgrade into my Dell Dimension 4600c fully (n00bish) and it shorted out the RAM slot. ._.

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#14
June 20, 2011 at 13:28:13
Well I just made another not really a mistake, but a failure. I was trying to straighten out the pins on a processor and ended up breaking off an important one. I straightened out all of the other ones except for the one that broke off, and the computer is dead. ;( I did this just today.

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.

Dell Dimension 8300
Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.20 GHz
4 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce FX5200


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#15
June 20, 2011 at 18:39:30
I have a feeling you're not the only one that has done that RMT2. I have although not recently.

Likely


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#16
June 21, 2011 at 09:33:07
Hot solder iron, external circuitry attached to 8086 PC XT machine.... poof! Lost both.
The circuit worked wire wraped...I think it was an external 'voice box' ran from the parallel port.


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#17
June 22, 2011 at 07:34:22
- Bent pins on CPU. Luckily none broke when straightening them out and everything worked fine after

- Had a PC that wouldn't power up and spent 15 minutes trying to figure out why, then remembered to check the power plugs (should always be the very first thing you check right) and that was the problem

- My son used to love playing with mspaint when he was about 5. While doing so on my then PC, a 486, he accidentally opened the config.sys file and deleted all the contents then saved it. I didn't notice until my next reboot. Once I discovered why my PC wouldn't boot I then understood the necessity of good backups and then promptly backed up the config.sys and autotexec.bat after rebuilding the config.sys from scratch

I know there are some more, I just can't think of them at the moment........lol

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#18
June 22, 2011 at 09:53:34
I think it is astonishing how kids know just the files to mess up so that the computer is damaged! They know that anything in the "Windows" folder is a good thing to delete. I don't know how they do it, but they are sure smart in that aspect! :)

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.

Dell Dimension 8300
Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.20 GHz
4 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce FX5200


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#19
June 22, 2011 at 20:54:43
A 4 year old can use a toy phone to discover hidden keyboard shortcuts to open and modify and save the most important files then reboot the system all in less than 30 seconds. They make Garcia on criminal minds look like a lite weight.

Likely


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#20
June 23, 2011 at 08:58:47
Indeed, indeed. They should make a contest out of this. Get a bunch of old computers running Windows 1995, and a bunch of 5 year-olds, and have them try to delete something that will damage the OS, and have them restart until they have damaged the OS, and whoever does it the fastest wins! :)

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.

Dell Dimension 8300
Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.20 GHz
4 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce FX5200


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#21
June 23, 2011 at 14:17:36
I have an old Win 98 machine I keep for several games we have that the kids play. My wife babysits. A while back she sat down in the chair in front of the 98 machine and a 20 some month old she was sitting came along wanting held. She picked up the child that promptly stepped on the keyboard. The wife told me that when he (the child) did this the computer shut off. Being that this is not a needed system I blew it off for a day or two until my son wanted to play an old grand theft auto game. He told me the computer no longer worked. When I attempted to boot ofcourse "No Operating System Found" was displayed. I know simple enough fix but out of curiosity I pulled the drive to hook up to another system so I could try and see just what had been done. I could not find anything deleted or modified. I put the drive back in the old machine thinking maybe it had been just a losend connection but no go. I attempted to do a repair but it could not find any operating system. Went ahead and did a full restore. Still have no idea what happened but I am thinking of taking that kid to my bank next time I go.

Likely


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#22
June 23, 2011 at 14:54:57
I would love to hear the outcome of that! :)

Ask and Answer. The way of learning.

Dell Dimension 8300
Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.20 GHz
4 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce FX5200


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#23
June 23, 2011 at 16:17:01
For me it's probably a tie between two things: First one was when I dropped something (I think it was a book) right on my laptop. Seemed okay (no visible outside damage), but sure enough when I tried to boot the laptop up the next day the hard drive started going: click click click click, grind! click click click, grind! $100 for new laptop hard drive (thankfullly I can install them myself).

The second one was when i was about 10 years old playing around on my Dad's old DOS machine (this is when DOS was still mainstream). Back in those days, us kids were only allowed to save files on floppies, not on the hard drive. So when i went to clean my floppy drive by doing "del *.*" I did so at the DOS prompt....only instead of the A: drive I was in C:\Windows..... boy did I get it from my Dad when he got home and tried to start Windows 3.1! (And he knew it was me....somehow......not that it has anything to do with I was the only one of my siblings who actually tried to learn DOS commands. :) ).


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#24
June 23, 2011 at 17:52:02
My ole Win98 still only has only one onboard sound channel. Way back I was trying to get it to record a landline phone call. Connected it to the phone line via a series capacitor (thinking that would keep the DC from wrecking anything). Sure, but obviously the capacitor was too large because the plug-in surge wrecked my onboard sound.

I remade the cable with a much smaller capacitor (just enough to get the low end speech frequencies). I even fitted a carefully calculated bleed resistor across the "computer end" of the cable, to rapidly discharge the capacitor - kinda belt and braces. The irony is that I've never had the courage to test the new cable.


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#25
June 25, 2011 at 10:30:07
@ RMT2 Apparently the bank has some sort of brat proof crash protection. I took the little guy yesterday. Right away one of the young female reps. had to fawn all over him. He went to wiggling and pushing with his feet and wah lah contact with the keyboard. Her screen went blank, I thought "yeah I am on to something here", she smiled and said " No No" tapped a couple keys and all was well again. Another million dollar dream down the tubes. Hey we both got free lollypops though! :)

Likely


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#26
July 4, 2011 at 09:47:58
I think one of the dumbest things I ever did was, while trying to reinstall the operating system on a friends computer, every time the press any key to boot from cd message appeared, I pressed it. This went on for about three presses before I realized, you only press it the first time. It was an old Compaq and was slow as hell to begin with. I couldn't figure out why it started all over again. A half a pack of cigarettes later, it dawned on me. I guess that's how you really learn a lesson :))

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#27
July 4, 2011 at 10:13:30
Yes, I often think that "experience" can be loosely equated to "I got it wrong at some previous time".

Of-course, the trick is to gain experience from others mistakes too - that's one of the benefits of Computing.Net.


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#28
July 5, 2011 at 23:36:46
I have one that I just ran into yesterday. A neighbor brought me a 2 year old dell saying "I don't know it was hot but I cooled it down then poof." It was a computer he was using on a construction site. They had a trailor but it was taken to another site so he set up a makeshift office in an area where there wasn't a lot of work going one. For a while now the temp has been running between 90 and 95 degrees during the day hey it's summer go figure so they rented some portable air conditioners to help with the working conditions. He said he had been on the computer for about an hour when he stepped away. When he came back he was standing next to the end of the desk where the tower was and noticed it seemed rather warm. He had a couple workers place one of the portable ac units nearby to blow cool air on it thinking it would save it. At the end of the work day these units were shut down. He said he didn't plan on staying long so it shouldn't be a problem. While sitting at his desk on the phone he noticed a little bit of smoke. So he shut it off. After his call he said he looked it over and did not smell any burnt oder so he turned it back on. That's when it "popped really freaking loud and let off a cloud of smoke. Can ya fix it?" When I opened it up I saw a couple spots that look as if a flame has been applied, several burn marks on the MB and a few melted or blown capacitors, diodes, or resisters. Oh yeah and everything is still wet very wet.

Can I fix it?? Sure I can and hey while you wait are you interested in this bridge I got for sale?

Likely


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#29
July 6, 2011 at 08:07:32
A couple of my favorites that were somebody elses:

- Kid spilled soda on the K/B of a brand new laptop. The owner brought it in complaining of "sticking keys" and had "no idea" why until I brought out the K/B and showed her the dried cola under the keys. Luckily for her only the K/B got it and nothing else. Being the nice guy I am (on occasion) and feeling sorry for her (she had several curtain climbers with her and she looked tired and harried) I replaced it under warranty. Somehow the "bad" K/B got "lost" in shipping back to the factory.......LOL

- Lady calls in, her PC won't start. Our helpdesk ran her through the usual checks, power cables plugged in firmly at both ends, nothing in the floppy drive etc and still won't start so they call me and dispatch me. I call her first and specifically ask her to push the button beside the floppy drive to ensure there's nothing in there. She says she did and it still won't start so I drive 3 1/2 hours to the town they live in only to find there's a floppy in the drive @!#&*}+()

When calling it in, I told dispatch it was a one-dee-ten-tee error code = 1d10t

I wasn't unhappy about it because I logged 700 km's round trip at 25 cents per km AND booked 3.5 hr's of OT since I arrived there just at my normal quitting time.

- guys computer keeps randomly rebooting after it's been on a while. I tell him, "That sounds like an overheating issue, check to make sure it's getting free airflow around the tower" He says it's got plenty of free airflow so I go to his house. I walk in the door and see 4 long haired cats, one of which is lounging on top of the nice warm computer tower. I start laughing and he gives me a puzzled look. I shoo the cat off the case, power the PC down and open it. There's enough hair in there to build another cat. CPU fan was clogged and not even moving. I took it out back, gave it a thorough cleaning and tested, everything ran smooth with no reboots. I told him to buy a can of compressed air and to blow the case out once a week.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#30
July 6, 2011 at 08:21:19
Re #29.
I used to do TV repairs and that reminded me of a problem with my own TV.

Every now and then we would find the TV had failed due to a blown transistor - it was before the days of microchips. This same transistor popped quite regularly and I spend many happy hours on the floor with the circuit diagram spread out, feeling certain that some other component was causing this and trying to fathom out which one.

It was a big TV and gave out a fair bit of heat. The cat used to regularly sit on top of it but I never linked this with the fault. One day I saw a long dribble come out of the cat's mouth, drip inside one of the slots in the projecting back, then pop went the transistor. A clean up of the board and a bit of protecting polythene got around the issue.

I can't help wondering if this had happened to one of my customers TV's, how many brick bats I would have received for not being able to fix the problem "properly". I would have never dreamed up the cat as being the culprit unless they saw it and told me.


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