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The Perils of Electronics

February 10, 2011

Last night, there was an accident. A little water splashed onto the keyboard of my laptop. We dried it out, and everything seemed fine. Around 10pm, I put the computer into sleep mode and put it aside for the night.

I woke up this morning and the keyboard was fried. Useless. My precious, 3-year-old laptop was now a paperweight. It would cost more to repair the thing than it was worth. I admit, there was crying, because on top of that, I’d managed to chip a tooth in the night. Like most Americans, my funds are limited (and since I just spent $426 on my sick cat, they were even MORE limited than usual).

There was some panicking. Finally, we went down to Aaron’s and simply financed a new Dell laptop for me. I had an Inspiron 1525. This one is a 1564. It’s different, I’ll say that, especially because my old 1525 had Windows XP and this one has Windows 7. I don’t know quite what to think of it yet. The keyboard is also slightly different, so that will take a couple of weeks to get used to.

The most annoying thing, though, are my files. Right now, EVERYTHING is on the old hard drive. My husband is out searching for a CompUSA (there is one waaay down on North Dale Mabry, just before it becomes South Dale Mabry) so he can locate an USB cord so I can pull all the files off it. I’m hoping they have what we need, because if they don’t… there will be so much crying. There is SO MUCH on that hard drive that I must have. I’m trying to think positively, and I’ve decided that–with the next paycheck–we will be investing in a Carbonite account.

I’ve downloaded OpenOffice, AIM, Tweetdeck, Firefox, and will begin downloading iTunes shortly. All my stored passwords are gone, which will be a pain in the ass to sort out. All in all, I think things will be all right. I have faith they will work out. I’m just… overwhelmed. So much of my life–writing, business, personal–is all on that tiny little hard drive, and I get a sick feeling thinking it all lost. Backing up data is essential, and it will take priority from now on.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2011 3:06 pm

    I went through the same thing not too long ago. Dead computer and having to buy a new one. Twice. Luckily, the place that does Mac repairs and sales has a great bunch of guys. Both times, they did a complete transfer from the old hard drive to the new. Including passwords, bookmarks, and all the little fiddly stuff that hides away where you don’t see it.

    Your experience with a laptop is sort of like mine with an iMac. You kill part of an all-in-one computer, and you kill the whole thing.

  2. February 10, 2011 3:14 pm

    I’ve gone through this once before with my first laptop. I tripped over the cord and it slammed into the ground and cracked the liquid crystal screen. It ran fine as a desktop for a few months, using an external monitor, but then the insides seemed to all start dying off. I borrowed my fathers for a few months, and then three Christmases ago, he bought me my second one as a gift. That one is the one that croaked last night.

    I have three hard drives that are also damaged and waiting for me to have the thousands of dollars necessary to recover them. Luckily, the husband-thing DID find a USB converter at the CompUSA so we can pull all my old files and bookmarks off my old computer’s drive and put them on this one. 😀 I’m DEFINITELY signing up for Carbonite on Monday. I can’t lose all this stuff again and worry if I’ll be able to recover it.

  3. February 10, 2011 5:21 pm

    It’s definitely a good idea to have everything backed up somewhere. After my last scare, I bought an external drive for backups. The Mac has a program called Time Machine that backs up every single change on the computer, on a regular schedule, starting with hourly, and moving to weekly and monthly. It saved my bacon the other day when I realized I’d accidently deleted iPhoto, with all my graphics and photos. Went back about a month in Time Machine and restored it. Big sigh of relief. And I still backup my daily writing to a thumb drive every night.

  4. Mark permalink
    February 11, 2011 2:45 pm

    Use Dropbox. The first two gigs of space are free. You can copy all your important stuff to it nightly, if you want.

    The other nice thing about Dropbox is it lets you access your files from any PC with an internet connection.

  5. February 11, 2011 3:53 pm

    I went through this. Both my laptop AND my desktop both died on the same day soon after I graduated from college. I never retrieved my laptop work and hadn’t been wise enough to back up a screenplay I was working on for a final project. I had to email a professor to send his copy to me. AUGH.

    I don’t know how much Carbonite costs, but it might be cheaper and safer in the long run to back up everything on a portable or desktop external hard drive. You can program them to back up whenever you want, daily or hourly or weekly, whatever.

  6. February 11, 2011 10:37 pm

    S.V. – I had two externals, both are now damaged and require that I pay thousands of dollars in order to recover the data on them. I’ve learned that the external drives are no more reliable than my actual computers. 🙂 At least Carbonite is off-site and backed up for me in several places. I think it’s like… $50 a year or something? I’ll definitely look into it and DropBox as options for backing up files.

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