Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Computer woes

Our computer is old. Six years old, which is definitly approaching the age of retirement in computer years. It's been slowing down and acting up for awhile now -- probably the better part of a year -- and every now and then I'd complain about it.

But do nothing about it.

Then, on Thursday, it skipped the retirement stage -- where it was going to be considered suitable for kid-use only -- and went right to the life support stage. It caught a virus.

I don't know how because I wasn't even downloading anything at the time it started to throw error messages. But I knew things were bad when it wouldn't even let me run the virus software. Ryan knew things were really bad when he tried to start Windows up in Safe Mode and just got the blue screen of death.

So, on Friday, we took it to the much-smarter-about-computers-than-us people at Geek Squad. And Merry Christmas to us, it was going to cost a lot of money to retrive our data and then fix it. And they had us in a Catch-22. We couldn't just walk away from it and buy a new computer like we had been talking about for awhile because we needed Geek Squad to retrieve all our files for us. And that costs money. And once you're paying them to do that, it almost seems worth it to pay them a little bit more to wipe the virus off the machine and send it home.

So we went with that. Until they called and told us there were other problems with the machine -- like we needed a new hard drive because this one was done. One problem and upgrade led to another and we suddenly realized that we'd be spending more money to fix the thing than to buy a new one.

So last night, I picked up our new external hard drive with (almost) all our retrived files (yup, some were lost on our dead hard drive) and our useless desktop computer.

So, how am I writing this then, if my computer is nothing more than a really big paperweight at the moment? Well, we've had an extra computer sitting in a box for the last month because a relative gave it to us for use as a kids computer. We just hadn't had a chance to buy a desk or table to put it on, clean up the hard drive and set it up for the kids. So now it's set up for me to use.

There's a reason why it's meant to be a kids computer. I feel like I'm puttering along on my old 486. But I won't complain, because it's either that or have nothing.

But you don't realize how much of your life is tied to your computer until you don't have it. I can't count the number of times, I've gone to pull up a file or picture while sitting here, only to remember that there's nothing on it -- that until 9 p.m. last night, my entire computer life was in the hands of someone else. My work files, six years worth of pictures (although many have been backed up to DVD at some point), videos and my music library were all in his hands. Heck, I wanted to mail something to someone and then realized I couldn't because my address book is a file on my computer as well. All I had was the hope that he'd be able to retrieve it all. Let me tell you, this has definitely been a lesson in the need to properly backup my files on a regular basis.

And hey, Merry Christmas to us -- we get a new computer! And if we're lucky, the Boxing Day deals will be good this year.


Sara...noH said...

I've been putting off buying an external hard drive for a while. This teaches me the lesson I think... I will be out on Boxing Day trying to score a deal as well!

Adam said...

Noooo!!!! Taking your computer to the Geek Squad was the worst thing you could have done. Odds are you hadn't lost anything and the only reason your computer is a paperweight is because they figure you'll buy the new one at Best Buy.

Unless your hard drive was making grinding or ticking sounds before you took it in, it never should have died. It sounds like you managed to get all of your data though, which is good.

If you have a friend who's good with computers and not a 36-hour flight away, have them try to do a migration when you get the new computer. If they try to tell you to buy an "Easy transfer cable", they don't actually know what they're doing.

For future anti-virus, MS Security Essentials (http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/) is free and pretty decent. I use it on my Windows laptop.

Good luck.

Deb said...

Well, it's not my fault that my computer-savvy friends live a 36-hour flight away!