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operating system not found

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It has been over a week that I have been without a viable working computer and I must say, I had not realized the extent of my problem until the day my computer told me that the operating system could not be found.

I had been away from my system and my sites for two whole days, patiently checking obsessively every now and then on my mobile phone to check the traffic, the code, the you name it I checked it, and when I returned home there she was, my faithful laptop that listens to everything I say, no matter how boring or repetitive, that takes my vitriol, my bile, my laughter, my tears, everything I feel, I can share here but on this day, and it was a Thursday as I recall, I turned on my laptop only to find myself meet with not the usual sunny screen with my little sign in button (what is it about that clicking sound that makes it so addictive – I can hear it now, like a box of TicTacs being shaken).

Operating System Not Found? I rebooted a hundred times or more. I rebooted in safe mode, in safe mode with networking, in unsafe mode, in any mode; I tried to hack my way in and for hours did not succeed. I called my ISP thinking for certain that surely the operating system couldn’t be gone. It had to be right there, where I had left it, safely in it’s little case on my desk. How could it be gone.

I called Gateway, who told me that my warranty had expired and that since I did not have the startup discs anymore, for this was some time ago in computer years (a whole two, imagine that), that the only possible thing was the use someone else’s XP discs or buy a new set for over two hundred dollars and maybe that would fix my problem. It was doubtful, they said, and for certain, I had lost everything that was stored on that computer – the two books I’ve been working on and stupidly and smugly had neglecte4d to back up with each iteration. The volumes of new poetry that I was preparing for my NEA grant, the many other tasks and documents and photographs for which my computer was the repository; those things, I was told, were now gone, and worse, they said, “if you can get an internet connection, maybe we can find out what caused it.” Get an internet connection? Didn’t I just tell this baffoon that my operating system was GONE! . I couldn’t get Word, let alone an Internet connection. I had International Klein Blue-screened and there was nothing except for the abyss, the gateway logo, and me. My desktop as I knew it had gone and gone for good.

I spent a week of sleepless nights. Yes, again, I admit this is obsessive. I am in the process of job hunting, working freelance, writing a column for several publications both web and print, working on several books, one proposal, a collection of new poems and my Site had just won a Best of the Web award. Surely I thought, if I don’t update it within a day or two they’ll renege on my little prestige and it will be gone and I was proud of this. It may sound silly, oh I know but it meant a lot to me. And that my editorial director for my other column had informed me that we were averaging sixty thousand hits a day, it was unbearable that I couldn’t write my column and get it up. The only other computer I had had been given back to the company I had been working for and my husband’s was too old and too slow and couldn’t handle a simple blogging software, let alone anything more advanced like photoediting.

After sleepless nights and anxiety filled days of leaning over the machine and countless calls with various providers and tech support people to the tune of $2.99 a minute (that’s what an expired warranty gets you), nobody could help me. Had I had the money, I swear to god I would have just gone out and bought a new one on the very first day. A thousand dollars would get me out of this hell and I didn’t have it – and I didn’t have it to spend on that when other obligations called. I was fucked. Totally and utterly fucked.

One night, after staring at the screen so long that i thought I was beginning to hallucinate, I pressed control alt delete to shutdown my blue screen again and a miraculous thing occurred. The Task Manager opened and the computer refused to shutdown. Eureka! I realized I could use the Task Manager as a kind of Browser in safe mode. So with my perfectly fine DSL connection and my blue screen and my task manager and my overflowing ashtray by that point and my empty cartons of ice cream, I dug into the task manager and browsed for my Internet connection. It worked. I then browsed for any Word files or jpeg images. They opened, like normal, against the disturbingly blank and otherwise iconless blue screen. But they opened — I could work like this for hours, browsing the Internet, checking email and the like even signing into MSN messenger. The only thing I could not do was Blog. I could not get the Google toolbar to work and when I tried to post, I timed out repeatedly.

Still, it was not a complete loss. I had been able to retrieve almost all of my documents, save for a few newer documents including a proposal for a job and a book proposal and several photo images, but the older things could be saved to disc with relative ease, though truth to tell I worried that whatever had made the system crash might perhaps be transferred to the discs, which remains to be seen.

I share this story because I want to tell you: My name is Sadi and I am an addict.

Okay, sure sure, yes I do this for my job and so it’s legitimate, but I spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer and without it, I feel lost and literally disconnected. For a basically shy and antisocial person, I find that on the computer I can be social with ease, perhaps even a bit charming at times (maybe delusional, but I choose to believe – don’t shatter this please). I could be whoever I wanted to be and I liked it. I liked the person behind the screen, the same way the Wizard of Oz must have liked who he was behind his purple curtain. The image he projected of the almighty all powerful was a compelling and convincing one and I liked to believe that mine was no less convincing. Only I, I believed, knew the dirty truth which was that I wasn’t the social outgoing girl of my articles, that I am this little freckled and light thing with a slight stutter and brogue and funny glasses and really, just quite ordinary in every way, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just nothing; as Tom Ripley said, I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.

Now, to be clear, I disagree with that. I’d rather be a real nobody, but the Internet had afforded me the chance to be a real nobody that for the most part, people seemed to respond to in a way that they did not always have time for in the real, physical world. Nobody would sit still long enough to listen to me speak about philosophy or my grandfather or some other story or review of a film or book or any of the things on which I Blog, and nor should they. Who has the time. For all the speed we apply to the Internet and all the people who say we are sloppier now that we work in real time and that print is better I say, Psshaww.

Only here in the ether can I find a group of people in the thousands who want to read. Who don’t have to read, have no obligation to me in any way, and yet they do anyway. Every day there are those who come to one of my various columns or my own web site and they read. I even have subscribers, which thrills me to no end to think that there are people who care enough about my poetry that they have signed up for updates. And more, to be awarded a prize for my precious, and birthed site, designed entirely by me and with my blood and sweat and time and countless arguments and insistence that i would “yes, get off the computer, darling, just as soon as I finish this….” I was proud and I was not sorry for any of it. If this was addiction, then that was fine with me because it was a kind of love as Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote of her Ritalin and if you’ve never been addicted, then you’ve never been in love for the two feel remarkably similar, and can make you both nutty and happy at the same time.

Today, I am working on the generosity of a good friend who saw me strung out and shaking, my fingers looking for a soft place to tap and offered me her old G3 Macintosh, which was all new to me, but it was a computer and I leapt for it. Within two hours of driving the hour to pick it up at her house, I had it loaded up with all of my blogging software; I had established my DSL connection on the Mac; I had downloaded IE and MSN Messenger and other non Mac items and got them to work through Aladdin and AppleTalk and other programs that, two days ago, I had never heard of. But I’m a quick study – and I got the thing up and running and so I write to you now, at long last, like the junkie I am, pushing the thread of the modem line deep into my vein I let the words flow forth.

Tomorrow, I go to get a new operating system installed on the other laptop and pray that it can be saved, though it would seem the motherboard has had some fatal error and may have departed this world. We shall see. A friend says he has XP discs and though I’m not sure they’ll work I am, at least, hopeful. If there is a chance, then I will take it, for as much as I love this Macintosh, it was not made for blogging and already we’ve had a few blank and blue screens of our own.

I tell you, I love International Klein Blue and I think it was a genius marketing technique on the part of the artist who came up with the idea of calling a custom mixed color on a flat board “art” and why not, but that said, I hope never to see that color any approximation anywhere near my computer again.

Keep your virus software updated; never open unknown emails and run a live update and get spysweeper because it’s the best I the market. These are the things I have learned and yes, I knew them before, but to learn them is a different matter entirely. Get a little lax and things go to shit. Stay on top of it all, hide behind your curtain, seek your heart and your courage, and let the wicked witch who crashed my operating system be eaten by a flock of her flying monkeys.

Fuck the bitch; I’m waiting for the man.

sadi ranson-polizzotti

ASIN & Subhead changed 6/12/5 CR

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About Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti

  • Eric Olsen

    Sadi, excruciating, horrifying debilitating experience you have turned into lovely art. I feel awful about your experience but rejoice in your resilience and what you have turned the experience into

  • I hate parting with my laptop, a titanium PowerBook G4 so much I will let problems build up. When it was in the shop about six weeks ago, I actually brought it home for awhile when the keyboard they’d ordered was late. Fortunately, the operating system itself never went missing-;).

    And, oh, Sadi, let me give you some blogging on a Mac tips. To get a better sense of how your pages look, also check them in Safari. The best API clients are Chronicle Lite and Kung-Log (which has a paid succesor I can’t recall the name of). You may want to use Blogger’s ‘Blog This’ toolbar for on the go composing. (Doesn’t matter whether you have a blogger Blog. You can shift the material anywhere later.) Hope this helps.

  • thx. all, and thx. mac for the tips. do you have any URLS? I need the blogger toolbar for the Macintosh but don’t know where to get it. any set URLS that you have i would be MOST grateful to receive. I am lost in this strange new and mad mac adventure. email me if you could sadir_p@hotmail.com – would be great.

    thx. E as well, for reading. I’m up, but just barely. I’m learning a strange new language and have discovered i havea computer addiction issue; i totally identify with mac diva — i am lost without my laptop… but, thank god, i have a Vaio here and it’s cute and lets me pretend to be online.. lol.

    thx. to all for reading, as always…
    was NOT easy getting this up here today…laughs.

    more later.,


  • i hear ya! i realised last week that i am an addict too. I probably *could* manage without a pc for an extended period of time, but i’d only choose to do so in exceptional circumstances (i.e. if i’d saved up enough to do some of the travelling i want to, which includes some places i’m sure that don’t have pcs readily available)
    in my second year at university, i had two hard disk failures within a short space of time. I then discovered that in my case, this was seemingly down to overheating. I hadn’t actually modded my pc, i had simply added a graphics card and sound card (neither top-range). It happened again in my final year (last year), this time with a new hard disk. BUT! this time around, one of my housemates had a spare full-size tower case (i was using a midi one) which he let me have, and it seems to do the job fine.
    Tho i realise this is a different situation to yours.
    My current job is as an IT technician for a school. At the beginning of term, we had about 10 or 15 hard disks fail that had to be replaced. Now, 49 days in (well, that includes weekends during which i don’t actually work), i am quite used to ghosting (invaluable to us) and reinstalling OSes.

  • Go to the sign in page of Blogger. You can download “Blog This” from there. Add it to the bookmarks section of your browsers. It will allow you to compose blog entries and save URLs without actually opening Blogger.

    Chronicle Lite can be downloaded here. There are versions for each platform. You might want to get both the Mac and Wintel versions. That way you can use CL with either computer.

    Go to Apple’s site to download Safari. If the Mac has OS X installed, you should run Software Update (part of Preferences) to get it and any other software that needs updating. The click on the disk images to install the software.

  • oh, Jadester and Mac D – i hear ya both, and so many thanks for the support. Ms. Mac, i have downloaded your other suggestions and will do more today. many thx. — i wish you all lived nearby me. i could have used your help, but even from a distance, you’ve been great.

    i’m up and running today. fingers crossed.

    just need now a good virus program. any recomendaitons, and are any free?

    thx. to all,


  • sorry to hear about your PC troubles.

    I went through this about a month ago, thinking that my external hard drive, which I had bought only two days prior had failed. All of this, after I had transferred my important stuff onto it, and before I had had a chance to back that important stuff up. I was faced with the fact that I might have lost 8 years worth of audio accumulated that I use for my radio show.

    Luckily, in the end, it just turned out that the USB connection went bad – got a firewire card, and everything was all good.


    I have certainly lost hard drives and computers before – it is NO fun, and it has happened to me enough at this point, that I am sadly used to “loss”.

    Good luck!

  • argh! it sounds like many have suffered the same nightmare. how can something so good hurt so very much…i love my computer, but i tell you, i almost lost my mind with this nonsense– so very frustrating — i still do NOT have an icon on my desktop that says “My computer”. Anyone have any ideas about that? Shouldn’t there be a thing that shows my C drive? i’m confused now… and a bit worried to say the least…

    anybody? eric? mac?


  • Jack

    Here is a url for you that might help with your op system not found problem.

    The most likely solution is within the BIOS or the master boot record. These are free and fairly easy proceedures which quick study can do. Hope it helps, Jack

  • Jack, hi…

    thanks for the link; i’ll use it as a future reference. i finally wound up buying a new computer, though i did fix the old one and it worked for about a year or so, so not bad, but it finally just died and the time came… so here i am with the new one and very happy with it.

    thanks for the link. i’ll hang on to it and pray i never need it…:)