I am not a happy person at the moment. The radiance of my smile is no longer lighting the world around me because earlier today, with no warning whatsoever, my computer gave up the ghost...
Do you remember the "Blue Screen of Death" that used to be the hallmark of the earlier Windows operating systems as they crashed and burned? Well Windows 7 seems to favor a misty white flavor, which is a little less harsh on the eyes, but which is no more welcome than its predecessor.
There I was working away in the late afternoon when ... everything locked up. "Oh dear," I thought to myself (or words to that effect). The problem was that for the last few days I've been working at home away from my backup systems in the office. This means that the latest and greatest versions of all of my current "must be delivered by tomorrow" customer projects were lost to me.
I tried a forced power-down and then booting up in safe mode. I tried jumping up and down and waving my arms in the air. I tried running around in ever-decreasing circles shouting "Don’t Panic!" (This didn’t work ... I panicked).
This was followed by much gnashing of teeth and rending of garb, let me tell you.
Eventually I raced down to Best Buy with the little rascal and threw myself at the mercy of The Geek Squad (their in-house computer / technology experts). I have to say that I am very impressed. While I was standing there the guy behind the counter tried a few things that might have worked... but didn't. But all was not lost, because before he took the machine away to the "computer hospital" his companion extracted the hard drive and managed to extract and burn a copy of all of my data files and my emails onto a DVD.
So now I'm back working on my old Windows XP notepad – the one with the broken screen (which doesn’t matter because I'm at home so I have a larger external display).
Of course everything is a lot harder because I've grown used to Windows 7 and Office 2010 and Visio 2010... but at least I'm still able to work, which is a major blessing. The downside is that I'm now so far behind that I think I'll be working through the night... but that's so much better than the alternative...
My condolences. And for shame. My 21 year old daughter apparently is better about backups than some of the people here? Granted, she uses a system that makes it automatic (every 30 minutes), and trivial to restore from. True story: She called me last week to tell me "My laptop is making a funny clicking sound, and won't boot."
Dropped by her apartment at school and picked up the laptop and her backup drive. Stopped at staples and got a replacement drive. 15 minutes after I walked in the door at home, the drive was replaced, and the data being restored. 90minutes after that, back on the road to return the laptop. Total repair time, excluding travel: less than 2 hours. Total data loss: 0.
Face it, these are the facts:
If backups do not happen automatically. They do not happen.
If they require action on the part of the user. They do not happen.
If they do not make recovery to exactly where the machine was at the time last backup trivial - they may as well not happen.
Hopefully they wiped the disk and reinstalled Win7 & and everything else or you are going to get that problem right back again. AND!!!! Don't ever use your backup!! If it really was a virus, it'll be on that backup they made for you. You should find out when they made that backup. Your old computer may now be at risk.
I just got my machine back a couple of days ago -- the problem turned out to be a Trojan virus -- a really nasty one -- only one of their anti-viral packages even spotted it -- once they'd got rid of the virus the machine worked perfectly again.
Hi Duane -- in fact I just started using Dropbox a couple of days ago and I LOVE IT. I'm hoping to write a follow-up blog talking about all of this later today or sometime over the weekend.
Cheers -- Max
The other night I had a dream that my laptop crashed hard, possibly worse than what you're describing. I brought the thing in to my IT guy to see if anything could be done to bring it back to life.
He shook his head indicating that all was lost and he asked me: "Do you have everything backed up?"
To which I responded: "Yes, but..."
He finished my sentence while rolling his eyes: "...but my last backup was a month ago."
Naturally, when I actually got into work that day, I ran my backups and then backed up my home computer when I got back home that evening.
I've been trying a couple of different tools. First, I discovered Microsoft SyncToy. It's on the MS website, but was built after hours so it's not officially supported. It's quick and easy. Once set up, run the program and click on a sync script name. I have a script to back up the whole thing and some scripts to back up specific sets of files to thumb drives.
I've also been using Dropbox lately. The nice thing about Dropbox is that the files are actually stored on each of my computers. If I don't have the Internet, I still have my files. Everything is also stored on Dropbox's servers so I'll still have the files if I'm off in San Diego using someone else's computer.
Best of luck for your computer's swift recovery.
I agree with didumus7; this is a hardware failure. On boot if you can't "Delete" key or whatever into the BIOS it's the machine. I've been using Win7 and for the "most part" have been really happy with it. I say the "most part" because after using it for the last few years (I was a beta tester as well) I got hit with the "black screen of death". Yes, it comes in black. In this case the system boots and operates "normally", however there is nothing on the screen - totally black. You can 3-finger salute and run programs from task manager, but no desktop. Of course searching Google turned up thousands of hits, none of the "fixes" worked for me. So, off I went re-installing the OS and all my programs (I keep a second drive with just my files on it so I can pull it and put it in another system if need be and all my stuff is there, hint, hint). I had never heard of the black screen, and MS says it's been around since XP (on maybe 50 machines over the years I never saw it, but who am I to call MS a liar). MS takes no responsibility (I'm not bashing MS, I'm just saying). Anyway, after re-installing everything I did something I have never done before; made a set of recovery CD's. And good thing, I had a drive failure a week ago...
Come on, guys, this is really embarrassing! A bunch of engineers don't know whether this is a hardware or software problem????
Okay, so I'll start. Even in Win7, the problem screen is still blue (unless you use various hacks to change the color). If it were software, on boot up he would have gotten something, the BIOS screen, a boot failure message, something. So this is a hardware failure. It is unfortunate that you went to Geek squad where you pay megabucks for your computer to be serviced by a 2 week wonder. (Note: I've had a Geek squad member tell me not to buy a certain external DVD burner because it was write-only). The fact that they could get your data to you says that the hard drive was in perfect shape. Geek Squad people cannot do data recovery from a bad drive.
Moving right along, I'm assume this is some sort of notebook PC and, if you have any sort of internet connection at home, you may just have a router, or can easily get a router, with a USB port. Instant network storage and inexpensive.
I can understand your pain,
It did happened to me once, and I switched back to Vista.
Also I have started using Seagate HD with automatic backup software. This made my life a lot easier and safer from such hiccups.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.