Friday, November 02, 2007

A Satisfying (?) day

I like to fancy myself a computer geek. When friends want to know how to do something on a computer they often ask me. When they have something go wrong I can usually find a work around, fix it at at least tell them what they need to do (i.e., your BIOS is fucked you need to flash the latest version).

One thing that I do have a problem with is locked down computers. My wife has one and it's a load of crap. The wireless card is not working (or so I thought) but I couldn't help because to access any logs or adjust any settings I needed admin privledges. Her computer is provided by her company and they tend not to give that kind 'o' information out.

We took the thing to the dept tech, swapped out her drive, and plopped in another to avoid her entire life from being ruined if we killed the drive and ..... the bloody wireless card worked. We plopped her hard drive into the laptop the good drive came from and it didn't work. Hmmmmm. Well that was not good.

Now I have to say here that my wife is an extremely busy person and her life is on that computer. To fix the thing she would have to drop it off at the IT dept and they would back up her info and do a fresh install which would be a day or two, which she does not have . So, for about 2-3 months now she's been back to dialup and it is killing her (and me) since I've set up a nice little wireless n with DSL Xtreme internet access. She is stuck with 5.6 Bps.

Then I remembered that I had a USB wireless G adapter from a while back and after screwing around trying to hack it so she had wireless again last Friday (remember that whole locked down admin thing? Grrrrrrr) I got it work! YEAH! I'm a hero! She blissfully surfed and surfed and I, like a little puppy dog, sat at her feet looking up at her with doleful brown eyes, basking in her ohh's and Ahh's.

The next day it stopped working again.

So, last night I had some time. I figure I'm going to solve this damn thing and make her happy again (I missed her little giggles of happiness). I hacked and hacked. I Installed, and uninstalled drivers, hardware. I altered network security. All the while having to work around this lack of admin privledges. I was like Stimpy when he was working in his lab from the Ren and Stimpy show.

Finally, I think I solve it. "I know, I'll alter the network settings to make her part of the home workgroup! That will work!." I quickly take her off the work domain and add her to the local workgroup and reboot. I call it a night.

The next morning, I eagerly await her gleeful laughter as she logs on and findout she has wireless again. The laughter did not come. No, not even a little bit. It seems that when I put on the local workgroup and off the work domain you need to log on as an administrator (Did I mention I don't have an admin password?). It's 8AM she has a 9AM meeting and nothing but meetings that require her computer. I am not hailed, I am hanged!

Fortunately, the dept tech can sort this out quick as a bunny and we all think the computer will be running in time for the meeting. uh oh! He doesn't know the password either. He calls a friend ,who also doesn't know, then calls the higher up IT dept. "Sorry, we can't give out that information. It will compromise our security. The computer will have to be brought in."

So, I truck the bloody thing over to IT. I have to say that while the manager may have made me a little pissed, the guy who worked on the machine was really great. He gets in, gets the computer back online and while doing this he notices a couple of annoying bugs. He slaps in a flash drive and voila! annoying bugs gone too!. "Awesome", I think to myself, "I wonder if he can get the wireless card up and running too?"

He gives it a go. He's hacking, slapping in flashdrives, CD's, downloading software updates (all the stuff I could have done if I had the admin password). He gets nowhere. His recommendation, backup her data and do a fresh install. HELLO Square One.

In the end, I was able to get the computer back to her in good shape, I learned I should not try to mess with the network domain settings and still haven't fixed the one thing that is knawing at me. Yep. A very satisfying day.

P.S. Did I mention I overheard the admin password and now can get in as an administrator..... maybe tonight I'll try again ........

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