A Troubleshooting Tip

NOW WHAT?!?We’ve all run into this situation: While wandering around Second Life the viewer suddenly and inexplicably exits or crashes. Kaa-BOOM! No safety net, just straight to the Desktop or worse … The Dreaded Blue Screen of DEATH!! Gahhhhh!!!

So you mumble under your breath, count to 10 then launch the viewer again. And thus begins a many-day adventure of near continuous crashes. No matter what you are doing from then on, things just will not seem to work properly again. What is going on?

The Unofficial Explanation

Please remember that what follows in this post is very much Unofficial. By that I mean that no official group, organization, individual or other entity related to or engaged in developing a viewer for Second Life has approved this trick. It’s borne from my years of being a geek, my experience with cold, cruel and often inscrutable computers … and my realization that sometimes Anthropomorphism is the proper approach.

In order to “Fix it”, first you gotta “Love it.”

The Love Tap

The first thing to remember is that computers prefer¬†things properly organized. When a program crashes, that often leaves “stuff” (digital files and whatnot) scattered in unusual and disorganized places. Most modern¬†software does a very good job of cleaning up its workspace when it exits properly. But when it exits unexpectedly, the resulting mess can cause future issues. So before you can make your viewer happy again, you need to get the viewer to exit normally. I call that move “The Love Tap”.

The goal is to get in and get out again with as little activity or monkeying around as possible. If you can at least log in and fully rez then your very next action should be to properly and gracefully exit the viewer. This gives it every opportunity to gracefully and sensibly clean up its playpen. With any luck, this simple first-step will fix all your issues. So try it, then run your viewer again and try something that was causing you to crash. And cross your fingers; another non-technical but fully vetted troubleshooting step.

Stretching Your Legs

If you pass the first step then next you should Stretch Your Virtual Legs. Start up your viewer, visit a few places you haven’t been in a while and generally tool around Second Life. Not only will you give your viewer and computer a chance to fully stretch out their use of resources, but you might find something you meant to find earlier but like kinda got too busy and forgot about.

REMEMBER though, make sure you gracefully exit. Especially if your viewer suddenly starts exhibiting those “I’m gonna hurl any second” warnings, do your best to get stable and exit gracefully. The main goal is to keep your viewer from crashing. If it does then you should reboot and start over again at the top of this post. (Sorry!)

Troubleshooting Laptops, Notepads and Similar

Battery powered devices have a peculiarity all their own: Batteries. Often when you think they’re turned off, they really aren’t. So here’s a trick learned from my oldest son. (A lead Geek at a very popular computer service franchise … said in Proud Daddy voice):

“Take the battery OUT of the unit then press and hold down the Power On button for a count of 10. Release the button, replace the battery and then turn the unit on again.”

Believe it or not, this cures about 70% of the “Dead” battery-operated devices presented for repair at Tech Support centers worldwide. It’s commonly called “The Battery Trick” and once learned can make you into the STAR of your office or dorm floor.

To Summarize

Remember the primary goal is to get your viewer running stable, exit it properly, and do so a few times in a row just to be sure it feels proper love and respect. If you still need more (and sadly sometimes we ALL need more help) then it’s time to find the proper channels to contact someone with more specific knowledge.

Ask Uncle Google

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