Yeah, um, all that work you wanted me to do…

A downside of telecommuting: when your company computer breaks, you’re SOL.

The laptop had been flaky before we moved; sometimes after rebooting it forgot it had ethernet connections, and you had to successfully make a dialup connection and then close it. Somehow, this let the computer know there was indeed a network card. It was a weird version of motherboard senility. After it realized there was a card, it worked beautifully and connected to my home WLAN with no troubles.

Then one day I made the mistake of shutting the laptop down overnight.

The next morning, it had forgotten there was a network card. I tried the dialup trick, but it still didn’t work. I checked ipconfig and…

Windows IP Configuration
An internal error occurred: The system cannot find the file specified.
Please contact Microsoft Product Support Services for further help.
Additional information: Unknown media status code.

This is a sign that something very, very bad has happened. The ipconfig command is supposed to tell you what your IP address is, and various other interesting numbers that tell you what your network connection problem might be. Even in previous incarnations of the “duh where’s my ethernet” malfunction, the laptop knew it had a modem and gave information about that. If it can’t even do that much: bad.

I felt better when the IT department was as baffled as I was — it meant there wasn’t something incredibly obvious (akin to “your computer won’t turn on… is it plugged in?”) that I was missing. So now I am shipping it back to let them play around. According to the very unhelpful information available via Google, this sort of error usually indicates a very interesting hardware problem.

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