Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Computers Crash / A horrendous experience

Computer crashes are like death, natural disasters or major diseases.
We know they exist.
We know they can happen to others.
We blissfully believe they will never happen to us.

I often heard people saying that their computer crashed. Feeling sorry, I smiled with sympathy, wondered what they did wrong, and wished them a speedy recovery of their files.

When my monitor screen froze on Sunday, I was sure it would be a matter of seconds, maybe minutes, to bring it back into activity.

I clicked on cont-alt-del to erase the malfunctioning program. To no avail.
I tried to close all my open files and repeat the above procedure. But nothing happened.
I shut the computer and reboot. Damn it, the computer didn’t reboot.

Don’t panic. Think and proceed carefully. I unplugged all connections and plugged them back securely. And reboot. When the icons showed up, I breathed with relief and smiled.
Things would work now.

But things didn’t work. When I clicked on an icon, nothing happened. I tried each icon. Nothing, nothing…

I just couldn’t make any program work. I called my husband. He repeated the process. Turn off, reboot, etc… Same negative results.

I began to look at him with fear in my heart and panic in my voice. “My files? My ebooks, manuscripts, work-in-progress, workshop files, pictures, book marked websites,.. Are they gone?”

My husband was too busy fiddling with the plugs. He reassured me with a “I hope not.” But his face said it all. Don’t keep your hope high. He ran some tests and shook his head. “The disc drive is damaged.”

My heart sank. It can’t be. I couldn’t lose the work of five years.

I remembered my back up system and stifled my rising panic. The back up system should have all my files neatly stored. We will deal with the damaged hard drive later. My husband ran the backup drive and I received a lousy surprise. It has stopped backing up two months ago. We could retrieve eighty percent of the files, but not the recent work, the most important files.

I was in denial. The way I feel when I hear about someone’s death, or about a bad diagnosis. It can’t be. God, it can’t happen to me.

But it did.

I looked at my husband and pleaded with tears in my eyes.” Please do something.”

He tried running the computer in Safe Mode. No icon opened.

My husband called Hewlett Packard and paid the $100 for support. They asked him to run the tests he already ran, and announced that our disc drive was damaged, which we already knew.

“Don’t panic. I will do my best to retrieve your files,” my husband said, with the same sympathetic voice a doctor reassures a patient with incurable disease.

He worked all night on my computer while I sat in front of him watching and giving unsolicited suggestions that didn’t help.

Around 5:00 am, he said, “I have an idea. Say a prayer.”

I raised my eyes to heaven and mumbled a prayer for my files, my work, my sanity and my life.

My husband put the computer into Safe Mode again. Instead of trying to open icons, he just copied the files from the damaged disc drive onto the back up drive.

IT WORKED. Oh my God, it worked.

We copied everything. The manuscripts, ebooks, files, pictures…everything.

I made us a well deserved cup of coffee and copied the back up disc drive onto the laptop.

In the morning, he took the computer to the Geek Squad. There was no hope for the hard drive. We had to replace it. It would take a week to order one and reinstall it in the computer, and then reinstall all the programs.

Be careful, my friends. Even when you have a back up system, it doesn’t mean your files are safe. Check the back up regularly. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Have you ever gone through such a lousy experience?
What did you do to retrieve your files?


Tarot By Arwen said...

Oh Mona!!! I would have died! Just the other day I backed up my important stuff to a website. I don't have a backup system that works on this computer so I just try to put the important bits somewhere else!

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh HONEY! I read this with tears in my eyes. Brings back awful memories of this happening to ME. I cried for two weeks, we didn't save anything worth saving. Looking back, the only good thing was it was early in my writing career and I didn't have as much as I do now. What a staggering thought to lose so much!!!

I bought a little flashdrive thingy and use it religiously. No nun could be more religious. I'm soooo thrilled you managed to save almost everything. WHEW.

Anny Cook said...

We have a ghost program that we back up every time we add new programs. All my personal work/files go on flash drives everytime I save them.

Mona Risk said...

I guess it's not enough to have a backup system. We have to check it regularly. It will take a week to get the new hard drive. Meanwhile I use the laptop but work out of the backup drive. Quite complicated. Hubby is installing a network between computer and laptop.

Beth Trissel said...

Thank God for Divine Intervention. I have suffered terribly from computer crashes and now back up every sentence on my thumb drive(s). I'm totally mental over crashes.

Amarinda Jones said...

I have the compter crash but thankfully it was under warranty and they were able to retrieve the files from the hard drive...whew...

Molly Daniels said...

I went into panic mode when I had a disk crash. I'd just spent several hours the day before making revisions...all that work gone. But fortunately, I remembered I'd backed up the disk on CD. I was able to redo my corrections and only lost a day.

And had a scare yesterday. Thought a virus had taken over. Hubby wanted to restore, but I have 8 e-books on the hard drive, not to mention a WIP I hadn't backed up yet. But he was able to restore everything as it was on Thursday, and I checked: Everything is still there! Now to go get either a flash drive or some more disks...