Monday, April 13, 2009

I'll be your moron for the evening...

On Saturday, my computer did something odd. When I powered up, I ended up staring at a completely blue screen with an error message, the specific contents of which I've forgotten. What scared me was the part that read, "dumping memory...memory dump complete."

Wait...WHAT?!? No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

I was, put simply, freaking out. Since there was no other option, I pressed the power button, my computer shut off instantly, and I hit the power button again. Blessed be whatever powers are out there, because my computer came up normally. All was well.

That didn't mean I was going to ignore what had just happened. My greatest fear was a virus. Although I run my virus scan, Avast, AT LEAST once a week, I ran it again. It found nothing. I checked my Zone Alarm firewall for updates. All was well there. I ran a disc cleanup, defragmented my computer, and rebooted my system. All remained normal. It was, as far as I knew, a one-time-only event.

Then Sunday arrived. The day started with me powering up my computer, and all was well. Then I noticed myself running low on insulin, so I powered down my computer and headed for the pharmacy.

Upon my return and powering up my comp, I found myself staring at that blue screen again. Well, the answer was simple enough. Just do what I did the day before, right? So I did, and was brought back to that blue screen of doom. Well, maybe I just needed to restart one more time. I did, and discovered that the temporary problem had become a permanent one.

I performed every trick in the book that I could think of. I ran tests from diagnostic screens that you can access with various function keys. One of them was coming back with an error message, but a call to Stu told me this wasn't a big deal. He doesn't know A LOT about computers, but he knows a few tricks like me. I tried starting in safe mode, which brought up that accursed blue screen. I tried booting up in the last known good configuration. No luck. No matter how I tried to bring it back to life, my computer refused to cooperate. And calling Dell would have been a waste of time, since the extended warranty ended last October.

Left with no other option, and practically crying as I did so, I reset my computer to its state when it left the factory, effectively wiping out EVERYTHING! Novels, screenplays, pictures...they are ALL gone. And, brilliant as I am, I failed to back up anything EXCEPT a very expensive program to write screenplays that I bought when I first got my computer.

Today has been spent getting this damnable machine back to working order. It required over 100 Windows updates, and wouldn't leave me alone until I got all of them. I reloaded City of Heroes, and let the updates run overnight, as it would take over four hours. I needed to update my video driver, just so I could play it. I also had to download Skype again, and THAT became an adventure when, after unplugging everything during the attempted fix stage, and I forgot which plugs on my headset when where.

But...1001 Lies is completely gone, as it was a work in progress. The screenplay based on my deceased uncle's escapades when he was younger is also gone. My pictures of Lizzy are gone. The pictures of my nephew with my Dad are gone. So many irreplaceable things...all gone.

Lesson learned, I guess. I'm gonna have to start making backup disks for everything...on disks I...ummm...don't have.

Which reminds me! I not only have the added joy of this computer adventure, but after close to a week, it would seem that people are lacking in response to my confession about smoking, and my desire to quit. I was, at the least, expecting a degree of ire for having never mentioned this bad habit. I justify it by saying I've never lied about it...but then the sin of omission falls heavily on the subject. Still, I thought people would yell at me, then refuse to help. Or yell at me, and then help. Or, most preferred, forgive me, understand my shame, and then offer help. As a result of the lack or response and aid, I'm still smoking. Mind you, I still poke holes in the cigarettes to make them lighter than they already are, but I want those nicotine cartridges for the e-cig. (Which they remain out of stock of the ones I want.) So the message I seem to be getting from the silence is, "Oh...You smoke? Good! Not only should you KEEP smoking, but we now stop helping you in any way."

Yeah...I'm a tab bitter, but that could be the stress of trying to quit without an alternative. And for the record, "Just quit" won't work. Most of my willpower is engaged in trying not to off myself.

For those who might think I'm going to simply take advantage of them, remember last month, when aid arrived and I quickly came here to say, "No more! I have what I need!" I'm not one to play my friends for fools or take advantage of them. But I'm in a bad way once again, my friends. I know many people aren't made of money, but I would appreciate the help of those that can help.

This is Rob, AKA Bor, out here and trying not to declare myself as a modern day Job.

3 comments:

Valiant Turtle said...

I've done some googling and you might still be able to recover those files. I'd obviously try the free ones first.

http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/welcome.htm

http://www.woundedmoon.org/win32/driverescue19d.html

http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/recover-formatted-partition.htm

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Valiant Turtle said...

Actually you should be able to recover at least some of those files. Try the software at some of the following links. Obviously I'd try the free ones first.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/welcome.htm

http://www.woundedmoon.org/win32/driverescue19d.html

http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/recover-formatted-partition.htm

Tiger said...

As far as backups go, I recommend setting up a gmail.com account and e-mailing yourself anything important.