Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

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carum carvi
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Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by carum carvi » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:01 pm

Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? This was truly one of the fears I had being a Microsoft newbie back in the nineties using MS-DOS commandos. We had a lot of laughs at computer training at highschool, because we honestly had no clue what we were doing. Have things changed since then for me? Naaah...

When I started using Linux two years ago I did NOT any longer have any fears that my computer would explode, BUT I seriously feared I could still harm my hardware/software in ways that could not be repaired in any way. And I was (partly) right, because I did accidentally erase my Windows Vista backup partition when I installed LinuxMint 17 for the very first time, because I just could not phantom/understand the new language (ext4???). Looking back, erasing that particular Windows Vista backup partition was a good thing though, because it freed my harddisk from unnecessary Windows POLUTION.

I am wondering what kind of other disaster stories newbies have experienced using new computers / software? For the good, or for the bad... :D

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by absque fenestris » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:30 pm

The worst thing that happened to me was a fire in an inferior FireWire (...nomen est omen) enclosure. Warranty case - and never cheap China scrap again.

I'm more worried about current cars - I don't trust them in any way - and you can't pull a plug either... ... ... :cry:
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by murray » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:55 pm

Back in the 80's I was asked to install a program on a MS-DOS PC. I didn't have much experience with DOS in those days (I'd was working on Prime mini-computers at the time and had an Atari ST at home) but the instructions said to just unzip the .zip file and that was all that was need to install the program. So I put the floppy disk in and unzipped the .zip file and immediately filled up the root directory with hundreds of files; I'd forgotten to first make a subdirectory and unzip into that! MS-DOS has a limit to the number of files that can be in the root directory (128?) and the number of files in the zip file was way more than that. Took me a while to realise why the unzip wouldn't complete. I then had to figure out which files to delete from the root directory and start over again inside a newly created subdirectory. In the end no harm done but I was scared that I'd stuffed up this PC!
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by carum carvi » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:16 pm

absque fenestris wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:30 pm
The worst thing that happened to me was a fire in an inferior FireWire...
That's hilarious!

Suddenly another "experience" comes to my mind, when a friend and I were messing with a shady new game in a nineties Apple computer. Suddenly (no kidding) an actual BOMB symbol with a ticking clock was presented to us. It scared the hell out of us both!

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by absque fenestris » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:26 pm

carum carvi wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:16 pm
absque fenestris wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:30 pm
The worst thing that happened to me was a fire in an inferior FireWire...
That's hilarious!

Suddenly another "experience" comes to my mind, when a friend and I were messing with a shady new game in a nineties Apple computer. Suddenly (no kidding) an actual BOMB symbol with a ticking clock was presented to us. It scared the hell out of us both!
I know the Apple bomb very well - until System 9, you just had to integrate this into the work process.
But the bomb was just there - without a ticking clock...

And no! The fire was not funny at all: luckily it happened when the device was first plugged in. At another time my studio could have been torched...
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by murray » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:31 pm

carum carvi wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:16 pm
Suddenly (no kidding) an actual BOMB symbol with a ticking clock was presented to us. It scared the hell out of us both!
Ha ha! I remember on my old Atari ST computer if it encountered a problem that it couldn't recover from then it would show a number of bombs on the screen. If you counted the number of bombs then you'd know what the error was.

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by absque fenestris » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:34 pm

In this case Atari was more creative with the bomb than Apple...
Interesting.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by HaveaMint » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:05 pm

I had a power supply celebrate like it was the fourth of July, capacitors were popping everywhere in it.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by athi » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:39 pm

HaveaMint wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:05 pm
I had a power supply celebrate like it was the fourth of July, capacitors were popping everywhere in it.
Sounds like a party, mine just pop and sizzle a bit.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by Spearmint2 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:45 pm

Mine did explode. It was an ECS motherboard. Funny popping sound. Monitor went like old TV needing horizontal hold adjusted, and OS started going bad. Turned out 5 of 12 electrolytic capacitors were dead on motherboard. Got new Gigabyte motherboard with all solid capacitors and have used those type ever since.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by ajgringo619 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:21 pm

Just got done cloning a drive with Windows NT. As I powered on the system, one of the main chips on the drive just exploded; looked like it got shot with a pellet gun.

Another time, I was the culprit. I didn't pay attention to the pin alignment of a 486 SX66 CPU; motherboard naturally fried on power-up. Such a unique smell, too - kinda like the first time you smell truck brakes after a long downhill.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by slipstick » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:41 pm

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by lsemmens » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:24 pm

I had given a friend an old computer of mine. Get a call one night, computer won't start. OK, I'll have a look next time I'm over. I was there fairly often anyway. Always when I get there, it was "The room's a mess, don't worry, today" (this was back in the days when computers were still a novelty, so nothing critical). This went on for a couple of months. Eventually, I said "stuff it, I'm going in anyway", walked out two seconds later. "That was quick?" "Yep! Open circuit between computer and the wall" "what do you mean?" "It wasn't plugged in!!!" We got a lot of mileage out of that episode......:D

'Nother friend who did need her 'puter for work rang in a panic one night, so I flew 'round, knowing that this was a genuine need. As I arrive, she's about to hop in the shower, so briefly explained the situation and went for her ablutions. When she hopped out, I was waiting with "all fixed" Her response was "Leigh, if I wasn't wearing this towel I'd kiss you!!" Her hubbie was away with work at the time......of course, we got even more mileage out of that one too.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by Shiratori » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:05 am

I let the magic smoke out of my 48k Spectrum by plugging in the wrong barrel connector for the power. I accidentally plugged in the PSU for my NES. The Speccy was expecting 9v DC and didn't like the 9v AC that the NES PSU output. :shock:

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by Hoser Rob » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:13 am

Thinking a mispressed key would blow up your machine was actually fairly common in the 80s.

My fave though was a guy I know who would press the wrong key and then INSIST he had a virus when it didn't do what he wanted. This was the mid 90s.

If you're an IT consultant and can last 15 minutes with guys like that without one of you going ballistic, you're a good consultant.

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by murray » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:17 pm

Hoser Rob wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:13 am
My fave though was a guy I know who would press the wrong key and then INSIST he had a virus when it didn't do what he wanted. This was the mid 90s.
Nothing much has changed since then, there are still people on this forum that immediately jump to the conclusion that their system has been hacked if they see something they don't understand.
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by BenTrabetere » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:49 pm

Hoser Rob wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:13 am
My fave though was a guy I know who would press the wrong key and then INSIST he had a virus when it didn't do what he wanted. This was the mid 90s.
I had a co-worker who complained to Tech Support several times about a virus that keeps eating his password. Every time the Caps Lock was on or the Num Lock was off.

Once he called Tech Support to complain about a virus that put row after row of grave diacriticals ( ` ) in the document he was working on and he could not get it to stop. He had the phone on speaker, so the entire pod could hear the conversation. The Hell Desker earned a Not A Team Player Button when she suggested that key was being pressed by the Tom Clancy novel he was reading instead of doing work.

There are some people who need to have a computer that can be activated remotely to explode when they press the wrong key ... and every key on the keyboard is the wrong key.

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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by Spearmint2 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:49 pm

and every key on the keyboard is the wrong key.
Except the "Any Key"
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Re: Will my computer explode when I press the wrong key? Newbie disaster stories.

Post by ACE_ » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:30 pm

When we were setting up INTRAnets in schools, the school would have to appoint a teacher to act as their IT Technician. When I showed their 'IT Technician' how to use their brand new computer, I asked him to move his cursor to the top of the screen and close one of the windows. He then proceeded to slowly move the mouse across the mouse pad, then across the desk and further and further along the desk until his arm was outstretched and he was leaning out of his seat. He eventually managed to close the window which was a bit of a relief as he was just about to run out of desk. :mrgreen:

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