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Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:41 pm UTC
by Auwolf
I didn't see this thread anywhere from doing a quick search. Lock or merge if appropriate. This probably belongs in one of the tech areas.

What did you do to really mess up a computer? It can be intentional or unintentional but I was going for unintentionally messing it up.

Ok when I was younger, about 13? we were using Norton and IE, I was just discovering the wonders of the internet and computers. Well our computer got a virus not suprisingly. Well I thought I was some kind of 1337 haxor back then and from having a quick look at the computer services.exe looked to be causing the problem so I deleted it. Needless to say we had to reinstall Windows XP.

Oh back when we were using 95 I turned down the volume slider all the way down. I was 8? It took us days to figure out why there was no sound. (we weren't very computer savy back then(

Oh and that time when I was playing around with the bios and got some kind of UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT ERROR. I was worried I'd have to do a full reinstall.

What about you guys? My examples weren't really that awesome. Have you ever well messed up isn't the right word, made a computer not work at all? (I'm tired and sleepy)

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:03 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Well.. I used to change things until it broke, then rebuild and try to figure out what I did wrong. Of course, I started... well, I originally started in the days before hard drives, then got a better computer in the days of Windows 3.1, so I probably still know far too much about editing config.sys and autoexec.bat on the boot disk so as to play various games.

...

That's right, kids.. there was a time where you'd need to make a 3.5 (or 5.25) boot disk in order to play a certain game due to the odd memory configuration it needed that would leave your computer damn near unworkable if you set it up like that full time.

I don't miss those days.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:34 pm UTC
by lulzfish
I just about completely fucked my XP partition one time.
See, I was doing some "stuff", and my antivirus warned me that one of the files I had acquired was probably a trojan.

I said, "Nah, it's just a false positive, run it anyway"

Well, it actually was a trojan, and I ended up re-installing XP that day.

Also, both my laptops have died of random hardware failure. The older one just stopped working somehow, I think the LCD went out or something. Then I took it apart and it probably wouldn't even fit back together if I tried.. It was a piece of crap.

The newer one had a similar random hardware failure, but it was still under warranty, so I went back and forth with Dell, bothering higher and higher levels of tech support until I managed to send it in for a motherboard replacement or something. It works fine now.

This other time, I was trying to open a port on my friend's router for something, but the router flipped out and broke, so we ended up calling his ISP and getting it fixed. I don't think his parents ever found out that I broke their Internet.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:29 pm UTC
by Jorpho
I used to really like customizing my Windows 95 environment. One day I decided that I wanted to use this elaborate and rather pretty 256-color animated thing for my busy cursor.

I soon started to experience significant frustration: seemingly at random, my computer would start freezing up, often when loading programs. Was it some kind of hardware failure? Something with the hard drive or the RAM, perhaps? No, it was Windows crapping out when trying to load that #@$% busy cursor!

Ever since then I have shied away from elaborate customization.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:39 pm UTC
by Wyvern
Windows Vista. Vista did Not Nail down the big important personal folders that are in your user profile (you know, the ones like Documents, Pictures, Downloads, Desktop.....)

I accidentally Put the Desktop on the Desktop. I tried to make a shortcut to the desktop folder on the desktop, but it just tried to move the desktop onto the desktop instead, which made an endless loop of it copying itself onto itself, and continuing to forever since there was always new stuff appearing. (itself.) And So I tried to cancel that file copy but it failed at undoing the mess. (for obvious reasons.) I tried to fix it myself, but somehow I ended up with three desktop folders, All of them the same desktop, containing the same files, each of which were also the (real) desktop. (you know, the one with the background that you look at all the time) One of the Desktop folders was within Another. (yes so that horrible infinite loop was still there, eating all my poor RAM)

At one point I got frustrated and tried to just delete the extra desktop folders. It ended up not letting me do such a thing (because the desktop is vital and important and you shouldn't mess with it, durrrrrrrr.) What it did do, however, was delete everything in that folder. yes, just that folder. I could still see all the files in all the other desktops. But since they were all the same desktop, it actually deleted them. But I could still see the files in the other folders (and on the real desktop) but I couldn't move them, delete them, use them, or even rename them because they didn't actually exist. And I couldn't restore the files because of that horrible endless loop creating an infinite amount of data to be deleted, overflowing the recycle bin, meaning that it had to be deleted outright. (It failed at deleting the infinite amount of data, I had to cancel that process too, but the damage was done already.)


Yeah. Don't mess with the desktop. You won't get it back. Although, if you have access to someone you hate's computer, and it has vista on it......... :twisted: (but really, you shouldn't do that, it's just cruel.)

That was about a year ago. I hope they've fixed that rather glaring problem. They might have with that service pack that came out recently, but I really don't want to try........

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:16 pm UTC
by TheTedinator
My computer username (I have a mac that I got used) is "Owner1". I wanted to change this a few years ago , and so I renamed the folder. Smart, huh? no. this made me "lose" all of my file and personalization of the computer, and it took me quite a while to figure out how to rename it back properly. I completely panicked too, thought maybe I got a virus and I'd never fix it. But I did.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:30 am UTC
by Carnildo
Back in the day, I was using a disassembler to figure out where the "Non-system disk or disk error. Replace and strike any key when ready." message came from (hint: the boot sector of every non-boot floppy disk in the world has a program to display that message). Something went wrong, corrupting the boot sector of the computer's hard drive. I never got around to fixing it, so from then on, the first step in starting up that computer was to insert an appropriate boot floppy.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:30 am UTC
by PhoenixEnigma
@Wyvern - Recursion! Ain't she just great? There used to exist a keystroke combo that did something similar in Vista. I can't for the life of me remember it, but I think it basically launched something that launched itself. The Vista development team clearly had some issues with looping.

The only time I've seriously messed up a computer involved an Amiga 500. By the time I got it, it was well outdated, but it was my first computer that was *mine*, and I loved the thing. Robocop was an awesome game. Anyways, it had at least a few interesting ports. Right beside the parallel port was something else with a DB25 connector. I don't remember what it was for, but it was a male connector and parallel port was female. Somewhere, I found a DB25 extension cable, and I figured it'd be cool to see what would happen if I bridged the two connectors. It wasn't really a good idea - within 3 seconds of booting, the magic smoke was in the air, quite literally. Lots of it, actually.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:04 am UTC
by rath358
well, i got a new desktop built by a friend back in january. i was trying to save on cost, so i got Linux on it. A month or two ago, I had another friend offer to give XP pro, because their family had a bunch of extra licenses. So he came over to my house, we tried to install it, and all of a sudden, my computer was completely unbootable. It took me a few weeks to track down a live cd, and I got it running just fine. Another friend (better with computers) is going to help me install windows soon, but I still have no idea what caused the massive fail.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:09 am UTC
by Brooklynxman
Mother spent 16 hours for a whole weekend on the phone fixing either a '95 or a '98 computer, I was maybe 10.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:59 am UTC
by Vohu Manah
One word: Vundo It still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.

I also learned the hard way that Yahoo Widgets slows your computer down. It took me 2 hours to get to the add/remove programs and uninstall it.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:17 am UTC
by '; DROP DATABASE;--
When the floppy drive failed on my 486, I replaced it. But I didn't know much about hardware, so I opened it up, removed all the IDE cables, and then replaced the drive.
This computer didn't have any mechanism to prevent these cables being inserted backward, and sure enough, I got the hard drive cable backward. I thought it was going to be toast, seeing the mess of garbage on the screen. It managed to work just fine though once I fixed that.
The hard drive did fail later (must have been 15 years old), which led to some amusing but annoying messages from Windows 3.1 asking me to insert a disk in drive C. O.o

On a library computer running Windows 3.1, I tinkered around with some config files. I saw one line "shell=explorer.exe". I kinda knew what that did, so I wondered what would happen if I changed it to clock.exe? Sure enough, that basically replaced the entire OS with a clock. All you could do was stare at this clock, change its settings, or exit it which booted you back to DOS. I had no idea how to use DOS. They never did figure out who did it though.

I had an old laptop whose CD-ROM didn't work. I figured it must just be a loose cable, and opened it up to fix it. Then I reassembled it as little as necessary to get it to run.
This thing was pretty tight. To get everything plugged in it basically had to be all back in the case, with everything in place, only the screws left out. So I did that, stuck the battery back in, plugged it in, and turned it on.
It didn't work. So I hit the power button. This thing ran Win95 (but I'd only booted to DOS for a quick test), so this should have turned it right off harmlessly, but nothing happened. Pushed it again, nothing. So I pulled the power cable.
The screen flipped out, showing several moving horizontal stripes of various colours. Looked pretty cool. I figured DOS was just buggy enough that pulling the power cord had crashed it. Then I noticed smoke rising from inside.
After a brief panic I pulled the battery out, and it stopped smoking. I later disassembled it again, and found a stray screw that somehow had wound up stuck to the power board.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:59 am UTC
by crzftx
Deleted

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:40 am UTC
by Two9A
And then there's the Linux geek in the room, who managed to totally screw up his Gentoo install one time.

For the uninitiated, most programs in Linux (as in Windows) are written in C, and depend on the C library (glibc); they tend to be compiled against a particular version of glibc. If you then upgrade glibc, all the references in ALL the programs in your system point to the wrong place in the library, and NOTHING works.

I couldn't change directory, list files or delete anything, never mind fire up the package manager to downgrade glibc. I guess I'm lucky the kernel itself doesn't need the library, or my files would start deleting all by themselves. I ended up formatting and starting afresh.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:53 am UTC
by Osha
I was dual booting windows 2000 and linux on my laptop.
I decided it would be a good idea to make the windows partition as small as possible, make the ext2 partition as big as possible, install an ext2 driver for windows, and then move as much of windows as possible onto the ext2 partition (this involved extensive registry editing).
Which worked great!
...
Until the computer needed to boot into safe mode...
In safe mode windows didn't load the ext2 driver, and thus couldn't find lots of important stuff. Tons of weird error messages popped up, it couldn't load any of my user settings, and the keymap was messed up somehow making each key send some totally different letter than marked.
I think I ended up reinstalling windows in the end.

One time as a kid, I managed to make the computer unbootable (No OS found) while trying to install a graphics driver. I blame windows 98.

Jorpho wrote:I used to really like customizing my Windows 95 environment. One day I decided that I wanted to use this elaborate and rather pretty 256-color animated thing for my busy cursor.

I soon started to experience significant frustration: seemingly at random, my computer would start freezing up, often when loading programs. Was it some kind of hardware failure? Something with the hard drive or the RAM, perhaps? No, it was Windows crapping out when trying to load that #@$% busy cursor!

Ever since then I have shied away from elaborate customization.

Ooh, one time I set an animated gif as the desktop. Turns out this caused memory usage to go up every animation loop. Eventually freezing the computer

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:03 am UTC
by Carnildo
Two9A wrote:And then there's the Linux geek in the room, who managed to totally screw up his Gentoo install one time.

For the uninitiated, most programs in Linux (as in Windows) are written in C, and depend on the C library (glibc); they tend to be compiled against a particular version of glibc. If you then upgrade glibc, all the references in ALL the programs in your system point to the wrong place in the library, and NOTHING works.

I couldn't change directory, list files or delete anything, never mind fire up the package manager to downgrade glibc. I guess I'm lucky the kernel itself doesn't need the library, or my files would start deleting all by themselves. I ended up formatting and starting afresh.

Some part of the upgrade process must have broken, because upgrading glibc is usually quite safe. It's downgrading that breaks things.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:19 pm UTC
by el_loco_avs
SecondTalon wrote:Well.. I used to change things until it broke, then rebuild and try to figure out what I did wrong. Of course, I started... well, I originally started in the days before hard drives, then got a better computer in the days of Windows 3.1, so I probably still know far too much about editing config.sys and autoexec.bat on the boot disk so as to play various games.

...

That's right, kids.. there was a time where you'd need to make a 3.5 (or 5.25) boot disk in order to play a certain game due to the odd memory configuration it needed that would leave your computer damn near unworkable if you set it up like that full time.

I don't miss those days.


I remember that! emm386, xms, ems. Trying to free up enough of your 640k. I learned a lot doing that all the time trying to make various games run. Including the english language. :mrgreen:

Never actually killed the compy. Just managed to get a virus one time. Tequila... iirc.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:59 pm UTC
by BSamuels
Vohu Manah wrote:One word: Vundo It still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.



THIS!

I still jump a little bit when I get an AVG warning popup

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:16 pm UTC
by Duban
Once I was careless and accidently downloaded a virus. It sucked, but I managed to remove it with an hour or two of looking at my running applications and removing the offending files with regedit. The problem was the virus somehow COMPLETELY deleted/disabled/something-ed the ability to update windows. The windows updates section of XP didn't work and when I got the update from microsoft.com it wouldn't install.

Even worse, this was at a time when a new vulnerability came out that was spread through Yahoo and Google ads. Even normally innocent sites all over were carrying viruses with this new exploit. It wouldn't have been an issue if I could have just updated windows to remove the vulnerability, but I couldn't. I got at least 1 virus every day for a week before I finally shelled out $100 for a fresh copy of XP, backed my old data up, and formatted the drive. I bought a spare hard drive and have been backing up my C drive at least every other week since.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:32 pm UTC
by Red Hal
Many, many things. There was the time I connected a cisco switch up to a large network having forgotten to set the VTP mode to transparent, resulting in the entire organisation's core switches deciding to listen to this newcomer who was telling them there were no VLANs configured...
Then there was the time I formatted the wrong partition.
But for sheer messing up of a computer, nothing will ever, ever come close to this guy: http://www.avforums.com/forums/computer ... nswer.html

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:43 pm UTC
by _MC_
Linux. Many, many times. One time I accidentally uninstalled every program on it while trying to repair a broken package. I was too intrigued by what was happening to stop it from completing, because I knew I could just do a re-install.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:50 pm UTC
by Jorpho
Back when the school computer lab had some 20-odd networked Mac Classics, one day I hit a particular key combination (I think it was Command-Option-5 or something like that) and suddenly my work appeared on everyone else's computer. I wasn't doing anything sensitive at the time, fortunately. It was pretty nifty, though - I wish I knew exactly what it was I did.

Two9A wrote:And then there's the Linux geek in the room, who managed to totally screw up his Gentoo install one time.
Just one time!?

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:33 pm UTC
by TheTedinator
Red Hal wrote:But for sheer messing up of a computer, nothing will ever, ever come close to this guy: http://www.avforums.com/forums/computer ... nswer.html


lol That is the most hilarious thing. I wonder if he really did that.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:47 pm UTC
by Jorpho
TheTedinator wrote:
Red Hal wrote:But for sheer messing up of a computer, nothing will ever, ever come close to this guy: http://www.avforums.com/forums/computer ... nswer.html
¡This cheese is burning me! That is the most hilarious thing. I wonder if he really did that.
Pff.

http://www.datadocktorn.nu/us_frag1.php

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:45 am UTC
by Paranoid__Android
I've found that deleting a large file while it is transferring to a memory stick is a very bad Idea,

also I remember having to do a factory reset shortly after getting my first computer, although I can't really remember what it was...

PA

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:17 am UTC
by podbaydoor
Something copper-ish melted in my Macbook's hard drive. Fortunately I was still under warranty. Lost all my files, though. :(

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:57 am UTC
by psychosomaticism
BSamuels wrote:
Vohu Manah wrote:One word: Vundo It still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.



THIS!

I still jump a little bit when I get an AVG warning popup


Man. The computer we got this (I think it went by the antivirus2009 moniker) on (not mine) had an antivirus program (or it was the virus itself) that decided to delete userinit.exe, maybe as a false positive when the virus got taken out was my impression, and the computer wouldn't log on. Involved a lot of work.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:45 am UTC
by cmd
When I was about 5 or 6 I jammed all of daddy's credit cards into the floppy drive. "Like they do at the grocery store."
:lol:

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:06 am UTC
by poxic
I had a friend who inserted a 5.25" floppy between the two floppy drives on her boyfriend's XT (don't rember the specs, not 386 yet but better than 8086). We couldn't get it out. We had to wait for her boyfriend to come back to the dorm and open the case to retrieve it.

I don't think I've seriously borked any of my own computers, but I apparently did something unpleasant to that same fellow's Mac (no idea what version, but back around the same era). I'd been tooling around the directories, clicking on random things to see what they were, thinking that I was merely inquiring rather than running anything. Later, he politely asked me to not click on things unless I knew for sure what they did. :oops:

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:22 am UTC
by Chicostick
I can't remember any really big screw ups on my part, my parents wouldn't really allow much access to the comp when I was to young to use it (which was probably a very good idea). Now a days if I ever go to make any changes I always do a lot of research to make nothing will go wrong. I'm pretty paranoid about screwing something up.

However, I do remember one of my friends did something to this day I can't understand. He took an Eggo waffle and put it on the CD drive of his computer, then proceeded to JAM IT INSIDE when it wouldn't close. When it didn't seem to be doing whatever the fuck he though it was supposed to be doing, he broke the tray off and then jammed it even further back inside, which involved literally pounding on the computer. At this point I think someone managed to stop him. I think he thought it would somehow cook inside the computer if he found the right program or something... The crazy part, I believe he was about 14 at the time he did this, and we had all had basic computer classes in my school.

I wish I was joking about this, I honestly do.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:32 am UTC
by Gojoe
Not me, but my mother went on our computer and checked to see if we were hiding anything from her... You see, my dad had showed her how to view 'hidden files'... She found some hidden folders, went AHA, and deleted them... They were system files... She is not allowed anywhere near my computer.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:38 am UTC
by '; DROP DATABASE;--
poxic's story reminds me of an incident with a CD player. It could hold 5 discs, and had a neat feature where you could open the tray while it was playing. It'd keep the disc it was playing, and you could swap out any of the other four.
Naturally it wasn't long before my mom forgot and put another disc in the empty slot where the current disc would be set when it finished. Jammed it up pretty good. Somehow one of the discs slipped right off the tray onto the circuit board below. Oops.
It did still work though after removing the stray discs, and we avoided using that function anymore.

In high school people used to mess up the computers for fun. On a Win95 box someone* selected everything in C:\WINDOWS, dragged it to the Startup directory, and hit "create shortcut here". Then did the same for C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 and rebooted.
Fun to watch. It'd spend about 20 minutes launching everything, covering the screen several times over with various programs which would gradually start to crash, draw incorrectly, etc, before finally BSODing.
*I actually can't remember if it was me or not :oops:

Hm, ever since I reinstalled the OS, this machine's been running better, but hotter. O.o

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:28 am UTC
by clintonius
Hehe. One of the great follies of Windows 3.1: you could open up File Manager and click "delete" on the C drive.

'Nuff said.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:39 am UTC
by PhoenixEnigma
Oh, I've got another one!

Deciding that my computer was running too hot, I decided to install another fan. Since the case in question lacked anywhere to mount another fan, I decided to use a dremel tool to cut my own. Which was quite a good idea, except that I didn't actually remove any components from the case before I attacked it with cut off disks. Spraying hot, high velocity metal dust into a computer is generally a bad idea. Amazing, the only thing I killed was a single hard drive (which, being the boot drive, was still something of a problem.)

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:16 am UTC
by zorro226
Nothing extreme, but I did almost screw up a computer by using a high resolution on a very old monitor once. The screen remained black until we took it to Best Buy and had them use their not-old monitor to lower the resolution.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:45 am UTC
by jerome_bc
In general I'm quite a distracted person. More often than not when I change OS I fuck up the bootloader by deleting it, overwriting it, or messing it up in some other way. As I tend to change Linux distro 2 or 3 times per year, by now I'm quite familiar with Grub's installation process. Now that my laptop's DVD drive is dead I have to be extra careful, as it doesn't have USB booting capabilities so messing up the bootloader means I have to take the drive out (had to do that last week - deleted grub by mistake).

In high school I was part of a 'cutting edge' IT-oriented program in which every kid had a laptop. Over the years we developed increasingly elaborate ways to fuck up our computers to get extensions for our schoolwork. For example, deleting various entries of the registry (I actually had to delete quite a large part of it before Windows stopped booting). My friend once purposefully destroyed a USB key to dodge a deadline. He is also the guy who set up his computer so that going on gmail.com actually loaded a local, modified version of gmail, all so that he could use the excuse 'I sent it by e-mail yesterday, must have been lost in the tubes', as evidenced by his outbox!

When I was around 15 me and my cousin tried to see how long a 'chain' of folders (a folder in a folder in a folder...) we could create. This was on my laptop with Windows 2000. At some point trying to access the deeper folders just gave error messages. Our efforts to delete them also failed. When I tried deleting the whole tree various error messages started popping up, asking me whether I was sure I wanted to delete this.exe and that.exe and stuff.dll, which was odd since it was only supposed to be folders. Me, being pissed and wanting to get rid of the whole things, clicked yes on a few of them until I figured the files looked sort of important and gave up. Upon rebooting, I was informed that NTLDR was missing, and that Windows could not boot. To this day I still don't know how the fuck a tree of folders on my desktop got linked to critical system files.

A year or two ago my dad's computer started randomly shutting down, and if turned on right away would shut down again within 10 minutes. It didn't take too long to figure out that it was overheating, and so I installed coretemp and, sure enough, the CPU was progressively heating up to ~85C, prompting the mobo to shut the system down. I informed my dad of the situation. As I was trying to figure out what was wrong, my dad made an eyebrow-raising comment:
'Well it's not because of dust blocking the fans, I cleaned them last week.'
'What... exactly... did you do?'
'I used dust-off to clean the fans. I even took the one on the CPU off, and I gave it a good cleansing'.
Turns out he had detached and reattached the heatsink. The thermal pads used in pre-made computers, as opposed to thermal grease, really don't take that sort of treatment too well, as a ton of air bubbles get trapped in the middle. It's lucky he made that comment though; I might not have figured it out otherwise.

There was also the one time we were preparing for a lan party, but when my friend plugged his computer the power supply lit up like a Christmas tree and, needless to say, all its magic smoke escaped. He insisted on opening it up and 'trying to fix it' even after I repeatedly told him that no, that PSU is never going to work again and the caps in there carry enough current to kill you. He still opened it up. He couldn't fix it (duh.)

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:09 am UTC
by Hawknc
I pissed off a friend in high school once, and in return he sent me a trojan that added "format c:" to the autoexec.bat file. That was not so much fun to fix.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:18 pm UTC
by elminster
I was around 9 or 10 (Rough guess) and me and my bro were on the pc. I wanted to play this game you have to load from dos and he wanted to play a game in windows. So quickly before he typed the command to start windows, I changed the folder so he couldn't. It broke somehow (Possibly unrelated). Anyway I tried a number of things and eventually went into the bios and saw a lot of settings switched off and thought "Well, more features can't be a bad thing" and switched them all on. It broke pretty badly.

I accidentally formatted the wrong hard drive once, luckily I managed to save most of the files using a piece of software, but quite a few semi-important files went.

Too many other incidents to mention really. On the up side, I'm now relatively good at fixing pcs, even without any proper training.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:33 pm UTC
by Felstaff
  • Broke my 486 by placing all hidden files in Windows 95 System32 folder into a folder called 'hidden files' (OCD made me do it!). When I restarted, it couldn't find Windows. As my dad had got the computer from work, we had no CD to reinstall it.
  • My friend broke my Pentium 166MHz by deleting the entire CLSID directory in the Windows 98 registry. I panicked, and pulled the plug.
  • Broke my girlfriend's Pentium 333Mhz by changing the resolution. When the screen went black, I panicked and pulled the plug.

My advice? Don't pull the plug in an attempt to emergency undo.

Re: Times when you've really messed up a computer

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:11 pm UTC
by Chavroux
I never ever turn a computer on with its case open anymore. I've fried a motherboard with loose screws and another one with tinfoil from easter eggs.

When I was trying to remap one of the useless keys on the left side of my keyboard to an extra enter-key, I accidentally remapped _every_ key to the enter-key. SSH helped me out there.

Once I was deleting stuff on a USB memory stick. I was in the directory /tmp/u/doc/ and I wanted to delete that directory. So I typed:
cd<enter>..<enter>
rm -rf doc/<enter>
By the time I noticed the error "bash: ..: command not found", half of my personal documents where already gone.
(In bash, the command 'cd' without any arguments, moves you to your homedir.)