My Dear Friend is Better
On June third, I was working on an uneventful email. Without warning, my computer made a pop sound and shut down. When I tried to restart it, nothing happened. Unfortunately, my last backup was two weeks prior. Major bummer! However, I knew the hard drive was fine, and my data was not corrupted. Because I did not want to lose two weeks of work, I decided not to revert to my backup and start over.
Thus, my repair quest began. In the past, I had to replace the motherboard, and this seemed like the most obvious failed component. Because it is five years old, I ordered a used motherboard on eBay. Five days later, the seller canceled the order. So, I ordered another used motherboard on eBay, but I failed to see the no return policy. Three days later, it arrived, and I realized that I had ordered the wrong model. Girrrr. I ordered a third used motherboard on eBay, and the seller canceled. I then spotted a fourth used one eBay, and this one came with a bunch of accessories. (Including a processor. We call this foreshadowing.) Plus, it was at a great price! The seller canceled.
I was aware of more expensive used motherboards on Amazon, but they came from China and required ten days. So, I ordered one. In the meantime, one appeared on an eBay auction. I placed a low bid to have a backup motherboard in case the one from China failed. My bid was the lowest, and it took three days to arrive. We will call this motherboard 'A.' I put A in, and I accidentally damaged the pins on the original motherboard when I removed it. Girrrr. No problem because it was bad. When I turned A on… Nothing! I realized the processor was the problem! Girrrr. At this point, I had been without a main computer for three weeks.
I ordered a used processor on eBay, and three days later, I put it in. Success! Yay!! The first thing I did was backup everything. What an enormous relief! I answered emails like a madman and did all the tasks I could not do on other computers. My life returned to normal, and motherboard 'B' arrived from China. A day later, the nightmare returned. I got a Blue Screen of Death! Typically, I get one of these a year.
Soon, I got another, and by the end of the day, I was getting blue screens every five minutes. I installed motherboard B. At first, it would not boot consistently. I did a RAM speed BIOS tweak, and the system has run fine ever since. The wave of relief was overwhelming, and my stress subsided. Finally, I got a good night's sleep.
During my computer downtime, I used my "test computer." I used this older machine for trying new programs or running long-duration tasks.
Because it did not have Word installed, so I installed it, which was surprisingly easy. I made blog entries using Word, answered several emails (but not all because some files were on the main PC), and posted to Facebook.
After a few days of not writing, I needed a creative outlet. However, I could not work on my books because I did not want to lose two weeks of work. So, I worked on my sixth book outline. It still had plot issues, and I went over the outline for three days. Now, I feel ready to write that book—a minor win.
If this issue occurs again, I will buy a new (model) motherboard, processor, and RAM. This fix will be faster (in repair time) and is more likely to solve the problem. It is also the less expensive route.
I made backups every 1-2 weeks before my computer drama. I had an extra SSD drive from another project, and I installed it into the main computer. Now, after every edit, I make a full backup copy of all my documents onto that drive. Now, I have a new routine. I make a full backup every Sunday, which takes about 10 minutes.
This event taught me a lot. I am far more dependent on my computer than I realized. Computers have deeply woven their way into our modern life. They are essential for communication, organization, and social interaction. This incident made me realize that I have bonded with my machine.
Yet, my test computer can do the same tasks as my main computer. What was the difference? My computer (I need to give her a name) (Yes, all good things in life are female) has every relevant file in the correct location. I organized all my internet bookmarks the way I want them, and I have my old emails collected for easy searches. Every program has the preferences perfectly set up, and even the icons on the desktop are right where I expect them to be. As a result, I am more effective when I use my main computer. I am also more relaxed during and after our interaction. Yes, I think the exchange goes both ways.
This little experience was actually an enormous setback. I now understand that my computer is not alive, and yet she is. And yes, I am thinking about her right now as I finish this blog. Thank you, my friend, for helping me to be a better person. I also thank you for allowing me to connect with my four blog readers!
You’re the best -Bill
July 28, 2021
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