Thursday, July 19, 2007

Joys of Cyberhood

It started out with an email. One that promised a smile—or at least a lovely ecard. Until I clicked and something started downloading and I turned off my computer because I hadn’t yet had that extra cup of coffee that would have allowed me to wake up enough to realize all I had to do was pull out the DSL plug.

That began the adventure. Turned my computer back on to discover the screen that said Unmountable__Boot__Volume and strings of code. It suggested trying to start in safe mode. 5 attempts later, I had to concede that no matter what I did, I was going to end up at that same appalling screen.

Called my favorite computer guru friend. Heard the scary news it was probably my hard drive. Thanked him and called Dell. Okay, I know people have complained lately about Dell service but I have to say I loved the guy I dealt with. He was patient. He took me through it step by step. He saved my computer! Yes, that’s right, he ran me through what needed to be done and it’s working again. Sort of. For the moment. But with the knowledge that odds are the hard drive is going to go REAL SOON. Seems that when your computer takes a looooong time (30 minutes) to boot up, it could be the hard drive and given today’s problem and a couple of other little things I've noticed....

But for the moment it’s working. I did have critical stuff backed up to a week ago Monday and you can be sure I’m backing up again today. And beginning the computer replacement hunt.

I love Dell computers. Had two in a row and they were wonderful and so was tech support on the rare occasions I needed them. But....Vista. What can I say? I think Microsoft made a big mistake with the way they rolled it out. Maybe in a year it will actually be ready and worth getting but....now? There’s Mac but....I dunno.

I’m probably going to regret this, but anyone want to weigh in with opinions on new laptops? (Or, to be more specific, has anyone ever switched to a Mac and then regretted it? Did you feel the extra cost was worth having fewer technical headaches? DID you have fewer technical headaches?)

Meanwhile, at least now you know—without having to go through it yourself—never turn off the computer while the hard drive is going, looooong boot ups could signal hard drive problems and ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STUFF!

(Okay, so I actually learned that last rule years ago when I was frantically rewriting a manuscript to meet a deadline and at the last minute (two days before we were leaving on a trip to Hawaii) my computer scrambled the floppy that held the manuscript and I had to retype it from the most recent hardcopy!)

April (Thinking I really should have laid in that whiskey after my adventures in Demented Parenting but who knew I’d need it so soon?)

2 comments:

Sharona Nelson said...

April,

My ex-Geek Squad says that Macs do NOT have fewer problems, contrary to the hype. She has worked on both PCs and Macs. She'll take the PC every time, even with Vista. Definitely not worth spending the extra money, because Macs are nearly impossible to upgrade (like adding memory or a new sound card or swapping a hard drive--Apple forces you to buy a new computer if you want to do such things.)

If you want to go the PC route, don't buy anything until you check www.techbargains.com. I bought my fabulous Dell desktop, flat-panel screen (17 inches), keyboard, and mouse, all for only $400 (!) because I found a sale on techbargains.com. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Sharona, who will be back home on Saturday...

April said...

Thanks, Sharona. Oddly enough, I've never upgraded a computer. By the time it needed to be, it was outdated in so many ways that buying a newer one actually cost less.

It's the day to day hassles that I wonder about. Does an Apple system crash less often? Does it consistently run faster? Does software always work?

Again, thanks for posting!