Thursday, January 12, 2017

Crash and Burn

It’s all Larry’s fault.

Like I didn’t have enough problems (see last week’s post). Back in December my six-year-old laptop finally gave up the ghost, with incredibly bad timing. But then, a computer’s hard drive crash never comes at a good time, does it?

It was Saturday. I was at the library. So was my buddy Larry, so I was sharing a table in the lobby with him. I’d gotten a freelance assignment and downloaded the file. Then it was off to a number of sites I like for some serious time-wasting. I’m not sure what Larry was doing. Working on his own paid work or writing a chapter of his book or something. Larry’s also a writer, but he actually goes to the library to work. He’s more conscientious than me.

The real reason he was there was his wife (also a friend of mine) was volunteering in the book store that morning. Her shift was up, so Larry got up to pack up his stuff and be on his way. Both of us had our respective laptops plugged in to the same outlet. Larry unplugged his, and in the process yanked my cord out of my machine, abruptly cutting the power. Good thing I wasn’t working on anything.

So I plugged back in, restarted the laptop, and … could not get back onto the Internet. In fact, I couldn’t do too much of anything. I shut down and tried again. Same lack of results.

I’ve knocked my power cord loose on my own on more than one occasion and never had a problem. Not this time. I kept getting that damn little circle, just spinning and spinning and spinning. I told Larry he’d crashed my laptop. He just shrugged and left. Thanks loads.

Fortunately there’s a computer repair place in my home town, and they’re open until 2 on Saturdays. I just had time to get over there and explain the problem. The guy figured it was my hard drive. However, he was all by himself in the shop and didn’t have time to look at it and they were closing in an hour. I opted to take it home for the weekend and bring it back on Monday. I had a paid assignment due in less than a week, and no working computer. Now what?

Again, luck was with me. I discovered I could get the thing up and running in Safety Mode, and started work on the assignment from there. Sunday was experimentation day. I couldn’t get to my files through normal start-up due to lack of memory, or so the computer told me. I plugged in a flash drive to copy my files. That put me over the memory top. I spent the rest of my weekend finishing the assignment and saving it to the flash drive. Monday I took the laptop into the shop.

Yeah, it was the hard drive. I’ve had this machine for six years, and I’ve been using it heavily. You know, 10-12 hours straight of game-playing, things like that. Like with all of us, sooner or later the parts just plain wear out. There’s a good chance I would have gotten it home that Saturday, or maybe Sunday or at some other point and it would have crashed on me then. It just happened to go down when Larry inadvertently cut the power. I’m blaming him because he’s convenient. And a guy. Women are always blaming guys for everything.

As for the assignment, I got it done over the weekend (thank God it was short) and emailed it back using the library system. I’m glad I didn’t have to use the library computer to actually do the work. I used to do that back before I got the laptop, back in the days of three-inch disks. Remember those? I was always limited by library hours and the amount of time I could stay on a machine, assuming a machine was available. I love my laptop and won’t give it up. Though if I could just block the damn games, it would make my life a whole lot easier.

Best of all, I didn’t lose any files. The guys at the shop were able to save all my stuff and added it to the new hard drive they installed. I don’t have as much memory as the old hard drive did, but for what I use this for, I don’t really need a lot. It’s not like I’m downloading movies or anything. I got the assignment done and out well before deadline, and got the laptop back in time to accept a new assignment. That helped pay for repairs. I lost my virus protection, which was on the old hard drive, but the guys replaced it for free. We’re good to go.

Well, not quite. My word processing program is now acting up. I’ll be typing along when all of a sudden the cursor jumps and I’ll find myself typing on a different line. There’s no rhyme, reason or warning. It’s a major pain in the ass. When I told Larry about it, he said his does the same thing. I asked him how to fix it. He doesn’t know. I think I’ll keep my laptop away from Larry for, oh, the rest of our lives.

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