Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Computer Failure

I had planned to skip Vista and go directly from XP to Windows 7. Wouldn’t you just know that fate would intervene.

I knew my computer was starting to fail. CHKDSK gave the “volume is dirty” notice; so there’s a new hard drive on order. Then, the dread “CPU Fan Failed.” Ack! Shut that thing down right now! And spend half a day at brick-and-mortar stores looking for a replacement fan, which, of course turned out to be a manufacturer’s special part.

The machine is a Dell. Long story short: I was very excited when I bought it; paid a lot of money for memory and power; have long come to the conclusion that I won’t buy another Dell for a host of reasons including the component failures and the need, within the first two months, to restore the system to its original state (and, of course, reload all my software again). It is the only machine I’ve ever owned that had any major component failure. An optical drive was the first to go (within the first year). Now the fan and the hard drive.

So, on Sunday I had to answer this question: do I order the fan and wait several days for it to arrive, or do we dredge up a Vista machine (an Acer Aspire) that’s been lying around for a year or so in order to get up and running right away? Yeah, it’ll be faster to just get that machine running…heh, heh.

Never has the process of setting up a new computer been so painful. It has been two full days, and I still don’t have all my software loaded. Not to mention data files. I made an image of the Dell shortly before the fan died, so I can browse the image to restore my data files. Or at least, I could if the image management software were Vista compatible. Yeah. I can see the image, but I can’t play with it. The trouble is, all the Plan Bs we come up with involve waiting. Fortunately, my partner also runs the imaging software and has graciously offered to extract all my files from the image to another external drive, and that will probably happen this evening.

Then, I’ll be able to restore my data files, including software application downloads. And only then will I be able to find out the hard way 1) which of those applications are not Vista compatible and 2) which were purchased as upgrades requiring a full version. Although I still have all the full versions for which I purchased upgrades, so I could theoretically load the full version and then the upgrade, what are the chances that the full versions, several years old, are Vista compatible? Fun! At least I was able to load Office 2007. And I had backed up my main pst (Outlook) file separately, so that’s running now. Some consolation.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Being unemployed with no access to your resume, personal reference files, application history, etc. is frustrating. Note to self: put all job search information on a USB flash drive, the way you used to do.

It’s been a painful few days that seem to have lasted for weeks. But it could be worse: I could be using Vista and a Dell.

1 comment:

MrsVJW said...

Eeek. Now I don't feel so bad about the lamp on my laptop going....

(But c'mon... YOU should know better... no matter what the "name" on parts, they all come from the same one or two companies overseas......)