Sunday, July 11, 2010

When Redundant Backups Aren’t Enough

by Chris McGinty

My laptop seems to be fried. It may very well need Windows XP reinstalled on it. I’m sure the issues started long before I realized there were issues. Such are the ways of the Windows infested computer. It’s like the old joke about the guy who runs his virus software. It comes back with, “One virus detected. Would you like to delete it?” He clicks, “Yes,” and it uninstalls Windows.

I’m not sure if that’s an old joke or not. It probably should be.

So I was writing last night, because that’s what I do, and often when I write a whole lot I’ll save the file to my flash drive as well. Unfortunately, I had only written about a page and a half last night, but boy does that page and a half seem like a lot now. It’s not that the file itself isn’t backed up, or that I don’t save frequently. It’s that the file became corrupted while it was in use. I guess I’ve always made the mistake of just saving frequently. Apparently, I need to “Save As” every few minutes so that if one file becomes corrupted all the rest are ok. Sheesh. The redundant back up king actually losing a page and a half.

Well the verdict is still out on whether I actually lost it. Part of my problem is there is very little I can do to try to recover it with my laptop running so slow. So that’s how I started my… or rather ended my day. I stayed up until noon, five hours past my bedtime, running the Malware program and a disk defragmenter. I was so tired by this time (I was organizing as this was going on, and I probably should have been taking power naps) that I powered down hoping that it would work better later. Nope.

I called Nathan in tears… I’m being dramatic. I wasn’t in tears. But for our purposes here… I called Nathan in tears, “Make it work for me!”

“There’s nothing I can do if you don’t stop crying, Chris.”

“Leave Brittney alone!”

The conversation (didn’t really) went on like this for about twenty minutes, and my laptop still had not fully booted up. Nathan told be to the best of his ability what to do, and after starting in safe mode it was only extremely irritating, as opposed to before when it was completely irritating.

I wanted to try a System Restore, so I would click Start… and wait. Then when it finally came up, I would scroll over All Programs… and wait. I would scroll up to Accessories… and wait. Then I would scroll over Systems Tools… and wait… and wait… and wait… and try to move the cursor, and realize it froze up. So I would Restart… and wait. I did this three times before I just gave up. Strangely, my Atari 2600 emulator worked fine with no delays, so I played Defender for a while. It’s funny that the other night I spent an hour and a half “playing Atari” (that’s what we called it back in the day) but on the night that that was about all I could do, I just wasn’t all about it. Bad moods suck.

When I got home I looked up suggestions on what to do. I found this little checklist (and this) of things that the author suggested you should do frequently. I think the most interesting part was when he described how to manually run Check Disk. Why is it not where Scan Disk used to be? I mean it’s an automated process. You can’t hurt your computer by running it, can you? Why hide IT? Like how I capitalized those letters to look like a help desk position title? So that was eye opening, but not as eye opening as actually running it.

It listed unreadable file record segments for ten minutes. That seems bad to me. Maybe I’m overreacting. It’s been replacing bad file clusters for an hour now, and it’s only at 30%. That seems bad too. I guess this might help, but it makes me wonder if it’ll be worth trying to run it even if it does. This guy talks about cleaning the registry, and that seems to require software. Why? If it can screw things up so bad, why is it not part of Windows? I would really hate it if the words, “I miss Windows 98,” ever had to spew forth from my mouth.

It’s like that old joke about the open-sourcer who dies and goes to Heaven. He’s nervous, thinking about all the bad things he’s done, insulting people’s moms in chat rooms, living with his parents for years without even a thank you, and all the software he’s pirated. St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. He tells him that they will begin his judgment as soon as he figures out what caused the computer crash. The open-sourcer asks what operating system they use. St. Peter says, “Windows 98, and if we can’t get it to work, I’m afraid all your information will be lost.” The open-sourcer drops to his knees, “Thank God!”

I’m not sure if that really is an old joke, but it probably should be.

2 comments :

  1. The lack of patience you had last night while waiting for the PC to boot unbelieveable. You have fallen into our society of 'I WANT IT NOW!' instant gratification. I kid, I kid (sorta). Anyway it sounds like your hard drive is jacked up and Windows will need to be reloaded.

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  2. That was terrible indeed.Well i hope you had backups some where else too.I normally backup my files on the hard drive using the partion i created and online with safecopy backup.So if my my computer crashes,am on a very safe side with my files backed up online.And with safecopy backup.If i delete anything by mistake,i can recovery them back by just a few clicks and they are cost effective.

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