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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Let this be a lesson...

Want to hear a sad tale of woe?  Well pull up a chair and a cup of coffee because it's a long one.

On Sunday the computer monitor would randomly go to sleep (even if you were in the middle of doing something on the computer) and wouldn't wake up.  I remembered that this happened about a year ago and I was able to solve the problem so I pulled out my phone and googled it.

And I read a lot of techy talk about hooking the monitor up to another computer to make sure the monitor was working (Sorry, but I don't have another computer just laying around so that was out.) and replacing the video card (Yeah, that's not happening. Dan could do that but he had just gotten home from a trip and was about to head out for another one so that wasn't an option.)

I was getting frustrated feeling like a trip to the Geek Squad was in my future and then I remembered that I had yet to reboot.  So I shut the system down and waited a bit and then rebooted. And the monitor worked fine.   I vaguely remember something from the last time this happened about reading that the computer can get too hot and that can cause the video card to stop working properly.

Rebooting did the trick and all was well with the computer until Monday. I was working on the computer in the morning.  I stopped to have lunch and do a few things around the house (because the laundry does not do itself unfortunately) and went back to the computer before picking the kids up from school.
On the screen was a large message saying something along the lines of "your computer has crashed and you need to restore it to factory settings and would you like to backup everything before you do this because your computer will have nothing on it except what was on it when you bought it."
And I'm not going to lie.  My heart sank and I may or may not have cussed a little. Or a lot.

But I wasn't too worried because we have a backup drive.  But for a while now, I've felt like I needed to check up on this backup drive and make sure it's really backing things up.  But I've never gotten around to it because I'm lazy I guess.  And we had to use it once before several years ago and Dan was easily able to pull everything off the back up drive. Everything was working fine.

So I clicked the option to "yes, please erase everything on the hard drive but before you do, please back up everything."

And for about an hour the computer clicked and churned and rumbled and then gave me a message something along the lines of "all right, we've got everything ready to be backed up so go ahead and insert a disc."

No problem!  We have a ton of discs that we used on an older computer when we transferred some old pictures about 10 years ago.  So I inserted the disc and click on "go ahead and let's get this copying party started."

It was at this point that I left to get the kids.  I went to school feeling annoyed that I was having to deal with this and worried that it wasn't going to work.  When the kids got into the car, I warned them that the computer could not be touched and if they needed something for their homework they would have to use the old laptop. 

When we got home, I checked on the computer and it said, "You will need 26 discs to copy all of this information and by the way, you inserted the wrong kind of disc.  You need to insert a DVD-RW not a CD-W.  It's NOT 2002."

I panicked a bit and thought about my options.  I would go while the kids were at scouts and buy a giant flash drive and copy the files to that.  Surely that would be quicker than copying the files to a DVD.  But when I was in the store checking out my options, I realized that to store everything I would basically need a back up drive and I already had that and it was silly to spend over $100 or more on flash when I had everything already backed up on the backup drive.

I left the store empty handed but feeling fairly certain that I could get everything taken care of the  next morning.

The kids headed to school on Tuesday morning and I sat down at the computer.  I nervously told it to "go ahead and erase the hard drive and bring it back to factory settings and yes I was sure that I didn't want to back anything up because everything was already backed up."

And it clicked and churned and rumbled and even sputtered and finally Windows came back up.  I breathed a sigh of relief and then got to work trying to get the computer back to normal.  I installed Firefox because I hate IE.  Then I downloaded my email program.

Then I started to install McAffee and I ran into problems.  I spent a long time chatting online with a nice Indian person with the first name of Deleesh (well either this person was from India or they are using their stripper name at their day job.) 

Deleesh was a big help and informed me that you have to use IE to install McAffee.  He/she took over as administrator and got it done for me.  And it only slightly freaked me out that someone in India (or perhaps in Vegas) could in a matter of minutes be using my computer  while I sit and watch the mouse magically moving and programs being effortlessly installed. 

Big Brother is definitely watching.

So, after 4 hours (yes, FOUR!) of erasing, reinstalling, and setting up, I was ready to go to the back up drive and start loading all my pictures, documents, etc.

But first I decided a cup of coffee was in order.  I got the coffee and when I came back to the computer I saw this...

What the what?????

So it "attempted repairs" for a while and then gave me the option to "return to factory settings and oh, did I want to back up anything before doing so?"

On Wednesday morning I headed to Best Buy to get a new computer.  And do you know what I discovered when I was there?  Apparently the new thing in desktops are "All-In-Ones".  It's basically a monitor with the hard drive built into it so no bulky tower needed.

But what I also noticed was these trendy new AIOs were pretty pricey especially if you wanted one with a decent amount of memory.

So I pulled myself away from the trendy AIOs and found 4 dusty desktop tower models in the back corner and picked the one with the amount of memory I wanted and purchased it.  Oh, an I also got a large flash drive so I could move all the pictures from the back up drive to the hard drive so I would have them stored in two places....

I got home and took down the old computer and set up the new one.  I installed my email program, Firefox and McAffee (with no help from Delish or Delight this time) and installed Word and Excel. 

And then went to the backup drive where I was going to move all our our photos, Word documents, Excel documents, etc. back to the computer hard drive.

And you know where this is going.  Do I even need to write it out?

There was nothing there.  Well, there were a few very old meaningless files but nothing else.

Hundreds and hundreds (probably closer to thousands) of pictures - gone.
Old journals - gone.
Letters that I had written to Peter and Sarah every year on their birthday - gone.
Excel files and Word documents  - gone.

And I'm not gonna lie - I cried.  Yep.  Cried.  Not a big old ugly cry but there were definitely some tears y'all.

And then I stopped  myself.  It seemed so silly to be crying over this especially when I remembered a few things.

I remembered that we had all the pictures we took of Rebecca already saved on a flash drive and tons and tons of them printed out and they were also still online at Walgreens (where I am going to order a CD so I will have them saved in that form as well).

And I remembered that for the past 7 years I had been printing out pictures for my mom and she had been putting them in picture albums.(Very old school, but thank goodness we have those now!)

And I remembered that we have some of our even older pictures saved on some of those old-fashioned writable CD's that apparently are no long writable on newfangled computers but are luckily still readable.

And I remembered that I have been writing a blog for the last 7 years and even though some old journals and old letters are gone, a lot of my thoughts and observations are still preserved here.

And as Sarah told me yesterday, "At least we have all the memories Mom." 

So here I sit, on my brand spanking new yet apparently old-fashioned  tower computer, trying to remember all of my blessings and not focus on what was lost and really, really  kicking myself for not checking on that damn back up drive sooner.

If any of you have made it to the end of this wordy and woeful tale,  let this be a lesson to you: please back up your files immediately.

End of story.


Madeline said...

We have had major computer issues over the past 2 years and luckily we have most everything backed up. But now I am going to double check everything because I heed warnings. So glad all the Rebecca pictures are safe!!

Pam said...

Oh my word! My husband is a computer programmer and do we back things up regularly? No. But we have several computers..and yes we use desk tops, so don't feel like such a fuddy duddy...and we back our pics up on all our computers so if one crashes, it's on all the others. It still makes me nervous. But I have to say, kudos to you for doing all of that. I would have just walked away and waited for him to fix it. I've been downloading...don't click on weird it's ingrained in me not to mess with stuff because I end up making a mess. So yeah, you go girl for tackling all of that! : )

Pam said...

And ps...I about spewed my hot tea on my screen when you mentioned your tech girl and her 'stripper name'. Love it!

Mari said...

Aaagh - That's awful! And yes - I better get backing things up. I'm really sorry.

Jennifer said...

OMG! This is my worst nightmare right here. I have a computer IT guy hubby who reassures me constantly its all backed up BUT I am just not 100% sure that it is! SIGH! This has now moved up the priority list on the never ending "to dos".

jennwa said...

I am sorry, that really STINKS !

Busy Bee Suz said...

I feel your pain. I've been through this before and it is disheartening. I also still print photos (old school) of course, they are in boxes somewhere. I also upload all my pics to Shutterly. (for future reference) I love your attitude as I can tell this was painful for you.
Technology is wonderful.
Technology is also painful.
Sending you good thoughts.

Michelle said...

Oh that's so awful! I hate computers and all their glitches!:(