Your Computer and You
Do you have a favourite mug? I do. It’s nothing special. Just a bog-standard porcelain mug with a picture of a Hare on it. I don’t have any strong sentimental attachment to it. It wasn’t a gift or anything. I just chose it as a replacement for one that broke. I habitually use it, choosing to ignore all the other mugs in the cupboard. Now you may well ask where I’m going with this train of thought. Well, here’s where the foibles of human nature come into play. If my favourite cup happens to be in the dishwasher, I find I do not enjoy my beverages quite as much when drinking from another cup. As I’m not a qualified psychologist, I won’t venture too far into analysing such behaviour. But it’s fair to say that this has got something to do with territoriality and our sense of identity in some way. Another, more complex example of this behaviour would be my desk. It is neat, clean and functional. And then there is my personal computer. I spent several hours upgrading the hardware today. I subsequently spent triple that time, fine tuning, tweaking and arranging everything. Why? Because I like things to be “just so”.
Migrating my existing SSD, HDD and graphics card into the new barebones system I bought from Novatech was very straightforward and surprisingly easy. The PC case is roomy affording plenty of space to work. The cable management was the most time-consuming element of the job. The PC booted up first time and made some software revisions to reflect the hardware change. As expected, the installation of Windows 10 Pro needed reactivation. As the copy I was previously using was a free upgrade from Windows 7, I didn’t have an existing product key easily available. So I bought a new one from an online reseller. The activation process was a nuisance as I couldn’t read the product key that was sent (it was a jpg of an OEM copy). So I spent an hour calling Microsoft, although the matter was eventually resolved, leaving me with an upgraded and fully functional PC. Yet despite ensuring that things such as the respective drive designations remained the same, some minor functionality was altered. Trivial things, such as the Windows Defender icon not appearing in the system tray and the Realtek Audio software being replaced by the default Windows Sound controls.
I first learned all the basic PC, server and network skills from a Siemens Nixdorf engineer back in the early nineties who mentored me. A few years later I passed my MCSE exams. As a result I tend to follow a very particular method when it comes to file naming conventions, how I organise my desktop and customise the Windows. When combined with my own propensity for neatness and order, things such as the missing icons or any unsolicited change to my PC in general really bother me. A lot. For example Discord recently altered the two themes that come with the software. I was perfectly content with the previous light colour scheme with its white central panel and dark sidebars. But that has now gone and I now have a “choice” of two revised themes and I like neither. I also hate it when software tries to do my thinking for me and offers what the developers feel is the “best for me”. I have no problem with such options but I dislike it when they become the default setting.
But I digress. I spent several hours trawling various Microsoft websites, forums and subreddits in attempt to restore my Windows Defender icon to the system tray. The most obvious fixes refused to work and I even started poking around in the Registry. I won’t bore you with all the details but I finally got the problem resolved by a workaround, rather than a legitimate solution. But that’s the nature of IT. And so as I wrap up this blog post, I now have to distil all the above rambling into some sort of cogent point. In many ways your PC is like your home. It is more than just a functional device but something that you can change to reflect your identity. Like furnishings and colour schemes, your PC is a subject to changes driven by your personal tastes. Furthermore, there is great personal comfort to be had in customising your PC and using it in a bespoke fashion that suits you. I feel the same way about unsolicited changes to my PC desktop as I do about someone coming into my lounge and moving my chairs around. It’s all about personal space, territory and possibly an element of being in control; something that is all too absent these days in real life. Some may find this odd but I suspect a lot of people will relate to these sentiments. Now where’s my favourite mug, I need to remove all those “shortcut to” arrows from my icons.