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Effort to download song escalates into computer reformat

OTTOWA – Music aficionado Mateo Hillsborough attempted to download a hard-to-find song from the Internet, and instead is now faced with a full restoration of his Windows PC.

On Friday, he began searching for “Let’s Rock”, a song by Apollo Smile from the motion picture soundtrack for Lost Angels, a 1989 film starring Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz.

“I used to have it on a cassette that was my dad’s, and that got all messed up so I was looking to replace it,” said Hillsborough. “Maybe the rest of the soundtrack too. I remember it was pretty good.”

He found a site with a sample of the song, but the site required the RealPlayer plugin.

“I thought, okay, maybe it’s some new format, so whatever. But I couldn’t get anything working and asked my dad about it. Turns out it was something he used when he was in college. He was like ‘Dang, I didn’t know RealPlayer was still a thing.'”

Hillsborough completed the required registration, and soon followed a sequence of events that led to the complete tear-down and rebuild of his computer.

Accounts differ, but all parties concerned agree that there was some library that required JavaScript authorization. Completion of that task required the installation of a missing or corrupt .DLL, which in turn had a prerequisite of Service Pack 3. One promising development involved a popup notice asking to install the most recent update to the audio driver. Hillsborough was the only one present for most of the ensuing events, a series of crashes and restarts that began with clicking “OK” and ended with a stalemate in the boot up routine.

By early Sunday, two different users tried invoking a system restore. Both were told to contact their system administrator, something the household of three does not have.

All three family members took various turns searching for solutions to the problem online. Hillsborough’s mother found several hundred examples of comments from other users with the same problem going back to 2003, perhaps earlier. Most cases were found on unmoderated and unmonitored forums on various vendor’s sites and the rest were on independent forums. None of the comments provided a viable solution.

One user from 2010 apparently did find a solution, ending a thread with “nevermind guys, I figured it out!” The user did not specify how.

Late Monday night, everyone involved agreed that their frustration and sleep deprivation outweighed any possible benefit they might further derive from continuing their salvage mission. Mateo ventured into the basement to find the installation disc and initiated a full system reinstall.

“Fortunately we have everything backed up,” said Hillsborough. “This tends to happen whenever the system makes safety and performance updates.”


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