When Ryan O’Neal’s girlfriend is dying tragically and tear-jerkingly in 1970’s Love Story, Ryan holds himself together by vigorously cleaning their apartment.

My 5-year old desktop is suffering from random Blue Screens of Death crashes, Outlook pop-up window slowness, and general flakiness that is taking up increasing amounts of my producive time as I experiment with various work-arounds.

I am now manually copying my mail files and key data at least once a day (in addition to my automatic remote backups.) Several times a week I run various disk diagnostics or program repairs as I get different bright ideas about What Could Be Wrong. I have worked myself into a whirl of energy as I try to save the beloved Dell from the silicon reaper.

Ryan O’Neal has nothing on me.  I have vacuumed the air intake filters, reseated all cables, and watched the Task Manager for symptoms as if it were an ER room’s vital sign monitor.

I talked to friends who are professional tech support for small businesses, and they laughed at my story.  “A 2005 computer?” they snorted.

They acted just like I would have if one of my clients came to me with their story a flaky five-year-old PC.  They told me I am in denial.   Polishing the plastic and reloading a program or two (or even the entire operating system) isn’t going to make the computer whole.

I know they are right.  But, it’s hard for me to stop bargaining, promising that if the computer gods will allow my system to live I will defrag the hard drives weekly.  That I’ll always do an orderly shutdown when I stop work for the evening.

I don’t remember the details of Love Story anymore.  She dies, but I don’t have an image of how Ryan got through it or even if he did.  For my part, I feel sleazy.  I am already dating, trolling Dell and other computer sites for ideas on a replacement.

I know it’s quick, but I know that my 2005 Dell would want me to be happy.