Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When your computer thinks it's Sleeping Beauty

A rather unfunny thing happened to me yesterday. I've never liked Windows, and especially not Vista (Fista) that I am using now. It works ok, but it annoys me to be constantly patronized by my own damn computer. "Are you really sure you want to do this? Really really?". Yes damn it, I want to do it or I wouldn't have pressed the button. And with all this overprotectiveness it still can't protect me from the biggest villain. Itself.

What happened yesterday completely shocked me however. I have handled plenty of bluescreens and other really odd happenings in different Window'ses before, but this one kinda took the price, because it was so dang unexpected.

After finishing my post yesterday I decided to turn my computer off. I accidentally hit "Sleep Mode" instead, because it's just next to "Shut Down" in my list. I thought "noooo, now it's gonna take forever to go into sleep mode and then I have to wake it before I can shut it down...". I tried to stop the process by pushing some keyboard buttons and clicking the mouse but no, the process was well underway and could not be interrupted. So the comptuer went into sleep mode and I pressed a keyboard button to wake it up. The fans started up but nothing else happened. The screen was black. It seemed that no mashing of buttons could get the damn thing to get out of sleep mode.

So I turned it off by pressing the power button and went to bed. And then I went up again and started the computer just to make sure everything was working ok. It started up with the fans and flashy blue lights, but the screen was black and the keyboard and mouse weren't activated. So I did another force-shut down and pulled the plug. Then reinserted it again and tried to start it up again. Same result. It was as if it was stuck in sleep mode.

I just stared at the computer. Like seriously? Stuck in sleep mode? How is that even frickin possible, I thought. Me and Love googled some about it (on his computer) and apparently it was a common issue, not only on Vista but on XP and Windows 7 too. I went to bed angry.

The morning after I dialed the web-shop from whom I had bought the computer and the guy on the other hand said "oh that problem" when I explained it to him. "Yeah it's quite common". Apparently this happens because USB-mice (which like everyone uses nowadays) screw with the shut down process if you click them while the computer goes into sleep mode which will freeze the OS in sleep mode.

The immediate solution if you've already got the problem is unfortunately to open the computer up and remove the battery from the mother board. Yes not kidding. This means you might lose passwords and will have to reset date and time when you restart the computer. This is what my reseller told me and this solution did work for me.

The preemptive solution to make sure this never happens is to make sure that your USB-mouse doesn't count as a viable unit to take the computer out of sleep-mode. How you do this is different depending on whether your use XP, Fista or 7 but it's somewhere in the control panel. Another thing to do is make sure that you can't accidentally put your computer into sleep mode again. I have a sleep mode button on my computer for instance which I've turned off (so that pressing it doesn't do anything anymore). I've also switched place of my Shut Down button so it isn't so close to Sleep Mode in the interface.

Some info can be found here

Now apparently this issue has been around since XP (said my reseller), and they still haven't fixed it for W7? What's up with that (although frankly I'm not suprised)? If USB-mice have such a high chance of freezing the OS like this, why is being able to use them during sleep mode still default? It's not like everyone knows what to do or have someone to ask when their computer suddenly doesn't wake from sleep mode anymore, which all the desperate forum posts without real answers out there bare witness off. And it's not like USB-mice are an unusual thing. How can they make two such prominent parts of a computer - the Sleep Mode and the USB-mouse - work so bad with eachother that the whole damn thing crashes? Note that it wasn't a special kind if USB-mice, like a special manufacturer, but the very abstract "some" kind. I can really see how the designers thought about this "ohh this kind of novelty won't be common for another 10 years so we don't have to worry much about fixing that humongous issue".

And you want us to pay 200 euro for this? FUUUU is what I'm thinking

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