My first computer was entirely DOS-based, and I have never been without a computer since. I have been online since 1987, when I had a 300-baud modem. I have lived through harrowing system crashes, the deaths of CPUs and fans and hard drives, and al manner of other unforseen disasters.

And yet I am still really, REALLY bad about backing up my files.

Today, when I got an error saying my CPU had overheated (which is a Harbinger of Doom if ever I heard one), I went looking for a backup utility on my computer (which I have had for a year and a half) and couldn't find it. A helpful article on the webbernets informed me that the Windows XP backup program was not part of the default installation, and I needed to get it off the CD.

So then I had to go hunting for my copy of Windows XP (which caused me to be very cross for about 45 minutes when I was able to find every other piece of essential software I have owned for the last ten years EXCEPT that one) and install it. I selected the files I wanted to back up, chose the location... and the backup program refused to oblige.

It looked like a glitch, so I uninstalled the backup software and reinstalled it. Still no dice. So I looked up ANOTHER article to figure out what was going on.

...

Turns out nobody backs up files to CD any more. To the extent that Windows XP Backup refuses to even allow it as an option.

Who knew?

So now I guess I have to go buy a flash drive or something. Feh.
...I understand that you've been trying to get my attention for some time now, what with the odd noises and all, but really, I think things have gone a little too far.

Yeah, you crashed just before I went to bed last night, and I had to reboot you, but that's pretty standard fare. I really don't think it was adequate warning for what happened half an hour later, when I heard a distant "beep" and got up to see what was going on, only to find BLACK SMOKE POURING OUT OF YOU. Not to mention that lovely lovely smell of burning ozone.

It was nice of you to keep running Scandisk while this was going on, so as to let me know that the CPU and power supply were still working, but since I didn't have time to do anything but dive for the off switch and then disconnect all my peripherals post-haste, that doesn't tell me if my hard drive with the latest chapter of Knife and the graphic design work I was doing for a client (none of which I'd yet backed up anywhere) is still alive or not.

In short, NO LOVE, computer. NO LOVE.

Posted from my parents' ancient and horribly slow computer downstairs, with which I fear I will be stuck for a few days yet.
Happy birthday to me, and all that, she said in Eeyore-like tones of utter despondency.

Tonight I let the kids play games on the computer for half an hour or so, and one of them shut the computer off mid-game by poking it randomly with his toe. I scolded him and turned the computer back on, only to have the other kid cancel Scandisk on me halfway through the scan. Then I saw the oh-so-comforting message on the screen:

Windows Protection Fault
You will need to reboot your computer.

Press any key to continue...


Needless to say, pressing any key did not continue; it never does. So I rebooted again, and this time the computer would only start in Safe Mode. I ran through various troubleshooting scenarios, all of which yielded nothing. Finally I resigned myself to reinstalling Windows from the CD, only to discover that the CD drive is inaccessible.

All together, now: Arrrrrrggggggh.

So, needless to say, I am not spending the evening as I had hoped, watching The Amazing Race with my husband and then settling in for a productive couple of hours of editing. I have been forced to squander it on a fruitless attempt to fix my computer, and now here I am downstairs on my parents' machine typing this message to let you all know that it may, once more, be a couple of days before you hear from me again.

Like I said, hooray and happy birthday to me. *gloom*
In the middle of an unusually busy and demanding week, my hard drive has decided to develop multiple bad sectors and generally refuse to behave in a most obnoxious manner. If you don't see me for a couple of days, that would be why.

Sigh.

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