Yesterday, I was minding my own business, visiting a blog and typing a response when it happened. The dreaded blue screen of death. My computer, which has always behaved itself before, went blue. I've had the blue screen one or two times in the two years I've had my laptop and it always restarts.
Not this time.
This time, it refused. It insists that a very important system file is missing or corrupt. And, as the computer manufacturers know quite well when they preload these things at the factory, if something goes wrong with the operating system you need the disk.
But there is no disk. Toshiba thoughtfully preloaded XP onto my laptop and didn't give me a disk for that. Oh, they gave me a recovery disk. One that wipes my hard drive and returns it to its factory specs.
Uh, I don't think so.
What's a panicked writer to do? I back up, but the last back up of my WIP was two weeks ago. I've written a couple of scenes since then, scenes I could recreate if I had to, but who wants to do that? And then there are all those picture files that I can't remember if I saved onto the desktop hard drive (it's in a box because there's no room to set it up at my parents's house).
So I find a computer repair place in the local area and race down there. The guys at Valley Computers have my eternal gratitude for saving all my files. Within an hour, I had a disk with everything on it. Whew. But I still don't know about the laptop. The guys were a bit surprised to see a Toshiba. They said they don't get many of them for repair. Far more HPs and Dells.
But they still haven't been able to bring the computer up. It's stubbornly insisting on that XP setup disk. They have several, but there are always tweaks to the OS, so they keep trying to find the disk that corresponds.
In the meantime, I may have to buy a new laptop. I'm using my mother's Sony Vaio right now and I'm finding I don't like it much. It has some weird keyboard things, and for a 2G processor (1G memory) it's pretty damn slow. My 1.6 512mb is faster.
My husband is excited about the prospect of buying a new Vista-loaded laptop. It does look pretty cool, and I suppose I could get used to it. Mac is not an option for me, those cute (and somewhat misleading) commericals aside. Too expensive and too proprietary. And I've known at least one person with a similar Mac problem like what just happened to me. It was a far more expensive crash for her since the computer cost double what mine did.
Hopefully, this is all speculation and I'll have my laptop back soon. It's only two years old, and for what I need it to do, it has plenty of life left in it. I'm not a graphics intensive, game-playing person.
So the lesson here, and why I began this post in the first place, is that you should be sure you back up frequently. Make sure you've got all those picture files somewhere, too. They are even more irreplaceable than documents. I can make up new scenes, but I can never replace pics of my cruise vacation.
I'm going to research portable storage options later. I have a flash drive, but I want something with more memory, something I can get everything on quickly and easily.
I'll survive my first-ever computer crash, but I'll definitely be more diligent about backups in the future. 🙂
Buy Apple…. Buuuuuyyyyy Appppllleee…
This has been today’s subliminal message.
LOL! As if I don’t know who leaves subliminal Apple messages. 🙂
Major sympathies, Lynn!
When my HP laptop crashed last Feb I learned that Toshiba (which I have now) or not, laptops are only made to last approximatley 2 years. I bought a 1G zip drive with my new laptop and have everything except for an odd (not so important) file or two backed up. It takes literally a second to backup on a zip drive. Now I need a second zip drive. I lost a lot of photos with the crash last year.
Aw, that sucks! I love my Toshiba, but it blue screened me the other day which was a little freaky. First time in over a year! I’m hoping it was just a one time glitch. Hope you get yours back soon!
Excuse me, but Apple is a lifestyle, “Miss Proprietary Apostrophe Cop.” You’ve known “at least one person” with Mac problems…WOW! Good Luck, PC Borg. P.S. Read about Vista, much? Bah ha, ha, ha, ha.
USB hard drives have gotten very reasonable lately. You can buy a 40 gig external drive for under $100 now – that will hold quite a lot. Backups are easy – you can just drag and drop the critical directories onto the extra drive. Done.
I’ve lost a manuscript before. Now mine is on my hard drive, my thumb drive, my critique partner’s hard drive and in a hidden directory on my server. Just call me paranoid. 🙂
Another idea – if you have a free webmail account like Yahoo or GMail, you can email yourself a copy of your work every day. You can do the same with photos, etc. too. GMail has basically unlimited storage space. That way you can always retrieve them if your computer goes belly up.
My DH told me the microsoft is coming out with a new operating system that it’s totalitarian to the extreme. I’m switching to a Mac.
Wow, lots of comments here! Gee, Morag, that part about laptops being made to last only two years isn’t encouraging, is it? I did have a Compaq for 4.5 years. I know people don’t like Compaq/HP, but I never had a problem with that one. The only reason I had to upgrade was because it didn’t have enough room anymore. And it was just out of date with all the newer programs, etc. Not enough memory to run those things anymore.
Hugs, Loribelle, on your blue screen! It happened to me about 3 times, maybe 4, since I’ve had the computer. I DO have my computer back, and it’s running fine, but we had to restore it to factory specs. I’m glad to have it!
Miss P, I know you’re way too smart to fall for advertising about that lifestyle stuff. 🙂 It’s not that I don’t think a Powerbook is extremely cool, but I don’t understand why one system of organizing ones and zeros should cost almost double what another system of organizing them should cost. I’ve known about 4 people with Macs, so that’s a 25% failure rate, ha! 🙂 I have an iPod and an iHome, of course. Love them.
Good point about mailing stuff to yourself, Terry. I’ve done it with my mss and with my thesis when I was working on it, but I could probably put more stuff on the server and leave it sitting there. My last email to myself with my current WIP was a couple of weeks ago. I need to be more diligent.
Hey, Tanya! Is he talking about Vista? I know it emulates what so many people like about the Mac OS. My hubby wants it, but I’m resisting so far. It does seem rather expensive to upgrade, and then your previous XP stuff doesn’t work. Or so I understand, though I could be wrong. He has a magazine all about it that I need to read. I’m not entirely against switching to a Mac, but I want it to cost less. Lots less. 🙂
I don’t know whether it’s Vista or not. He didn’t mention the name. All he said was that it eats up memory (which is why most people will need a new ‘puter) and it doesn’t give you the option to switch off automatic updates. That right there raised a red flag to me because I don’t like microsoft or any other software company automatically downloading ANYTHING into my computer. It smacks of big brother.
DH’s company was beta testing this monster for microsoft, so he gave me a head’s up. He says he hates it.
Hey Lynn Raye!
Hugs on the computer woes. I’ve been worrying about all my photo files and how to back them up. Burning to CD is too slow. I liked Terry’s idea about an external drive. It’s hard to know what’s best! — KC