#411 When your computer heals itself


Sometimes your buzzing box of lights and wires crashes a bad crash and completely stops working. So you reboot, unplug everything, plug everything back in, unplug everything again, plug everything back in again, and finally call in backups in the form of teenage kids or nerdy friends.

Unfortunately, after hammering keyboards and searching for clues for hours you eventually give up and go to bed where thoughts keep running through your worried head: Did I lose my assignment? What about my photos? Will I have to start my Bookmarks from scratch?

That’s why it’s great when the sun breaks through the blinds and you groggily shuffle over to the computer to find a big surprise.

It just suddenly works.

And no one knows why.


Photos from: here and here

42 thoughts on “#411 When your computer heals itself

  1. Haha I love it when that happens… coz it saves me from just picking it up and hurling it across the room therefore it saves me a LOT money =P

  2. Hahahaha so true! My computer is an attention freak it seems! It gets the maximum attention when it troubles and when it is ill. And the only way I have observed that sets it right… is to avoid paying any attention to it! and booooom it comes back to life… it must be thinking – some attention is better than no attention! :P :D

  3. So, in my classroom I have two computers: a student computer and a teacher computer. Sounds good, but no. The student computer is some kind of mutant, Frankenstein’s-monster-esque compilation of assorted parts. It runs on … get this … Windows 98. It’s a total piece.

    I always think, “Well, rest in piece, little buddy, it was fun while it lasted … ” as I’m attempting in vain to remedy any issue. The next day I hesitantly turn it on and … lo and behold! As good as new! Uhh, I mean, as good as it gets for a slow and crappy computer.

    1. Hhahah, I think some of the computers in our library and classrooms run on that. I sometimes go insane with them, that is why it is freaking awesome when they work!

  4. YES!!! That IS awesome when that happens. Of course having a person in the house who fixes computers for a living is even better. :)

    1. Or not even for a living, but they just know from experience. Then you don’t feel like you are mooching, you aren’t asking them to do their job, just their hobby.;)

  5. this just happened to me! after trying to get the internet working for two hours, I just kinda quit. but then I tried it again five minutes ago, and it worked as if nothing happened. AWESOME!

  6. I am not very tech savvy, so anything electronic that fixes itself is so very awesome. I’m afraid to even attempt to fix any of it myself. I use to know a lot about computers, but over the years my knowledge has slowly disappeared.

    here’s one that I thought was on the list, but I’ve looked and looked and I might be over looking it so if someone finds it, lemme know~~~ fixing electronics by smacking them. I do that a lot.

  7. Very nice, although I don’t usually have that problem – I usually just call my dad and he helps me figure everything out (he works with computers for a living, so he can help me solve my problems). And if something does go wrong, I have all my data store on an external hard drive!

  8. My computer has been fixing itself for the past 2 years now. Just as I’m planning on getting a brand new one, it suddenly comes back to life. Never fails… It’s like he knows if he doesn’t clean up his act, he’ll lose me forever.

    1. And the computer de-bugged itself, and it was good.

      At a company I used to work at, when we had IT troubles, we had to call the phone number of the help desk. The person that answered the phone announced themselves to be a “Level 1 technician”. They would ask you to describe your problem in detail so they could “open up a ticket”. After this lengthy process, they would tell you to reboot your computer, no matter what your problem was…

      Word document frozen? Reboot.
      Too much spam-ware? Reboot.
      Need to install the latest version of Java? Reboot.
      Can’t find your Outlook address book? Reboot.

      They would then sit on the line with you for the ~20 minutes it took for your computer to start back up again (for some reason, corporate computers take FOREVER to start-up). If this didn’t solve your problem, they would pass you to a “Level 2 technician”.

      So, after 6 years of working with this company, and countless IT problems, I realized that the skill set of a Level 1 technician involved being able to have working vocal chords and being able to say the words “Reboot your computer”. That’s ALL they could do..

      So, it’s good to know that if my current job doesn’t work out, I always can fall back on the possibility of becoming a Level 1 Technician.

      Woo Hoo!

      1. It’s important to always have a “Plan B”. My “Plan B” is usually to sit on the couch and have a glass of wine, but yours is good too.

        1. Speaking of computers that fix their own IT problems, wouldn’t Grandma Durley be a big fan of this particular Awesome Thing?

        2. If we’re voting on Plan Bs, my vote is definitely with jdurley. Though, Freddo, it’s nice to see that you have chosen a suitable fallback career. I, too, could work as a Level 1 Technician … good to know.

      2. I do PC support for a living, and in my experience 90% of all problems can be solved with a reboot.

        Not just PCs, but anything. Printer doesn’t work? Unplug it and plug it back in. Phone doesn’t work, unplug it and plug it back in (that’s how you reboot a non-PC thing). Car doesn’t work, turn it off, turn it on. Boss or co-worker problems? Reboot (requires those paddle things and shouting “Clear!” a lot).

        Most of my users now reboot before they call me, but of course they don’t have to call me as often, because rebooting works.

  9. I love when this happens. But this article is inaccurate. While a computer working again in some capacity without user intervention is a great boon, it’s not a result of healing, per se. Wounds heal. Bruises heal.

    Computers figure out what went wrong and try to correct misinformation. More often than not, they can’t without some form of user aid (even if it is just a restart), so a true independent fix on a computer’s end is exceedingly rare.

  10. My other way of trying to get it to work when it freezes is to click ‘back’ frantically on whatever site I was just on, in hopes of trigging some kind of time machine activated through the keyboard. Lame, I know.

    BTW-Neil, I read on site for Word on the Street that you would be there and I hope you don’t mind, I blogged about it a wee. Very exciting – good for you! Word on the Street is the best.

  11. sorry to be a big nerd bursting the magic bubble but when this happens the reason is probably usually just a power surge that made the CPU trip a shit, by making things too hot.

    when the system is hot the computer refuses to turn on, to protect it. if you come back in a while it will work again. it’s not magic.

  12. One day I just vacuumed my CPU tower and it made it run like brand new. Bill Gates is a genius. Beat that Mr. Jobs.

  13. this is so trueeeeeeeeeeee!
    it’s the most amazing thing that can happen…no reformatting and losing all those pics, movies and knicks knacks on the desktop. AWESOME! :)

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  15. Our computer is a 10 year old Pentium 3 with a 9.3gb hard drive. It has died and come back to life so many times that we call it Lazarus. We have had to reformat it several times, so it is lucky we had our original formatting disk. If you’re on a dodgy computer, save all your stuff to a hotmail email account. Then it’s there forever whatever computer you may use.

  16. PS. I last brought it back to life yesterday by taking the plugs out of the multiboard, giving them a polish and putting them back in different holes. This has worked before too.

  17. This happened about four or so days ago. My disc drive (I’m on a Mac, so it’s internal) would not work for love nor money. I could get it repaired, but it involved sending it off for ten days, where I would not be told when it was coming back. So I thought stuff it, and nicked people’s external drives when I could, and coped without the rest of the time.

    And then it healed itself! I ripped CDs, I played a video, all fine!

    And you know what? It was, in fact, awesome.

  18. Yup!!! I spend my LIFE on the computer, and it absolutely sucks when it shuts down suddenly.
    Then…it’s on??? Cool!!!

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