Thursday, June 26, 2008
I own a Dell laptop, a hand-me-down from my very generous sister, who gave it to me about 4-5 years ago. Though it was in great condition when she gave it to me, other than being a couple years old, it now has a lot of little quirks to it. For one, the Ctrl button doesn't work, which means all the nifty shortcuts, like Ctrl-C to paste or Ctrl-alt-delete to get to the task manager, all don't work.
Also, no accessories can be plugged into it when it's turning on--or it doesn't ever make it to the Windows screen. So I have to pull out the printer cable and the mouse cord, and any other USB cables. After it's turned all the way on, then I can plug everything back in. Yes, it's a pain in the butt.
But I have loved this computer and hope to be able to squeeze a few more years out of it. HOWEVER, a couple weeks ago, it started to act a bit funnier than usual. It gave me a dreaded blue screen, saying bladdadee blah blah. I didn't really pay very much attention to it.
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. A few days later, I found it in a horrible state. It was making a LOUD buzzing noise, and the screen had an ugly message, saying that my hard drive had failed. My hard drive, and all the information I had stored on it, was gone.
Because I am a super cheapomatic person, I wasn't about to take my computer to a fix-it shop and pay hundreds of dollars to fix it. I got on eBay, found this replacement hard drive, with 2x the memory of my old one, and with Windows pre-installed on it--for $40. Plus $10 shipping and handling (the S&H people charge on eBay is highway robbery).
It came from across the US in just 2 days (I guess USPS isn't always slow), and I popped my old hard drive out, and installed the new one in under 3 minutes. I did have to reload all my drivers and software--but now my computer works 10x better than before. It is so quiet and fast, and I love having Windows XP (I only had Windows 2000 before).
For any of you reading this, though, I hope you will learn from my mistakes--and back up your files!!! Thankfully, I didn't lose too much information (I store most of my files on an external hard drive)--but I did lose all my emails and email contacts, and all my bookmarks, which had tons of research for shows and events. An easy way to back up your files is through a service called Mozy.com. You sign up with them, and for different fees (they also offer a free service, I think), it will automatically back up your computer every night, or however often you decide.
A few days before my computer died, I had met a wonderful woman in Florida who sent me all kinds of information on sewing machines. But I lost all the information she sent me with my hard drive failure. She was telling me about Bernina and Pfaff sewing machines on CraigsList and had found my blog by accident. If you are reading this post, please email me because I don't remember your email address, and it was one of the things I was saddest to lose!