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PC component scavenging queue jumper pulled into line with a screensaver

Fake BSOD became tool of revenge when a staffer ignored the sensible rules of seniority

Who, Me? Welcome to the working week and therefore to a new instalment of “Who, Me?”, The Register's confessional in which readers reveal and defend their darkest deeds.

This week meet a chap we'll Regomize as "Peter", who wrote with a tale of working at a small tech support outfit on the outskirts of London.

Peter told us that this company had Shoemaker's Children Syndrome: staff were so busy delivering lovely machines to clients they got by with unreliable junk for their own work.

"In the days when the Pentium 4 at 1.5GHz reigned supreme, you would be lucky to find a 500MHz Celeron in our office," Peter lamented. And even those modest machines featured parts from PCs that clients had returned.

That sad state of affairs meant that when cast-off machines came into the office, staff would scavenge them for parts they hoped would make their PCs more palatable.

While this arrangement was undoubtedly a little tawdry, Peter and his colleagues dignified it with rules that required the longest-serving staff to be offered right of first refusal.

The system worked – until a batch of scavenger-class machines came into the office on a Friday afternoon when the old hands were more interested in easing into the weekend with a beer than upgrading their PCs.

One young whippersnapper took advantage of the situation by coming in over the weekend and helping himself to the prime cuts from the Friday haul.

This was not just a violation of office etiquette, but also a serious inconvenience, because the incoming machines had already been earmarked for other roles.

So when the youngster commenced the new working week by pointing out he was packing an awesome Athlon 1333, GPU, and even a SATA disk, it did not go down well.

Worse still, Peter recalls the youngster "left the workshop in a filthy mess and was now being smug about it" by boasting about the specs of his upgraded machines.

Revenge – or at least a sharp lesson in proper behavior – was clearly called for.

Peter administered it with a screensaver while the youngster took a break from work.

"This was in the days when Windows 2000 was our OS of choice because XP looked a bit too colorful," Peter explained. So he installed a screensaver that displayed the Windows 2000 Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), followed by a fake reboot, then another crash into the BSOD.

The youngster returned from his break just as his PC "crashed" to the BSOD.

"His instinct was to aggressively pull the power cable out of the back of the workstation and begin taking it apart," Peter recalled.

The PC duly rebooted … but then the screensaver kicked in and the machine "crashed" again.

At which point the youngster would start replacing parts to figure out which component of the patchwork PC was causing the OS to fall over so often.

Peter says the youngster eventually restored the PC to its original configuration, leaving the lovely new parts to be returned and redeployed as previously intended.

Have you used tech to enjoy sweet revenge yourself at work? Share your story in an email to Who, Me? ®

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