Friday, April 11, 2014

The "unthinkable"

 (no images this week)
The hard drive on my computer crashed this week.  When I attempted to load a url from the web it would start to download and it immediately cancelled – over and over again… So I took it in to my repair shop for evaluation.  The answer was the one I did not want to hear – it would be necessary to “wipe the disk” in order to fix it.  Gulp – “Do you have an external hard drive?” – I said that I did. 

They said, “OK – we can fix this and you can reinstall your files.”  Sounded simple. An external hard drive is kind of like a lifeboat to save the crew when a big ocean freighter sinks.  The ship may go down – but the crew and all records can still be safe – out there in a small boat in the big ocean.

Warning: If you have a computer – for goodness sakes – be sure that you purchase a reliable external hard drive! – It is cheap insurance for your valuable files!  You can buy quality back up for about $100.

Sounded simple until I realized how much work was still involved. As new programs and systems come along a computer can become obsolete in the matter of a few years –- it becomes more difficult to do the things you want to do.  So I made the plunge and bought a new iMac.  I hooked up the external hard drive to the new Mac and following advice I went to my ‘utilities file’ – where I found ‘migration assistant’… this showed me the major systems and files in the hard drive and I could choose which ones I wanted to return to my computer.

The installment mostly went like it is supposed to – All my Microsoft Word files, Letters, E-mails, Stored files, Music files – Bingo – they were back in place.

There were still problems to solve – I have to hunt up and down load the operating files for my printer – Some of my subscription programs had to be asked for reinstalled, All of this was tedious, took time, but was all successful. 

Then the sinking discovery– almost my entire collection of photos did not transfer over from the external hand drive – I had something like 2000 photos – some historical family, some from the schools I visit, travel photos, organisms I encounter, items I want to share with my student teachers… Vanished into the thin air–I contacted the ‘1-800 help line’ for my computer and we messed around with no success.  Finally I was able to copy some of the photos from Judy’s computer, and transferred to a thumb drive. I was able to recover about 40% of my collection.  Then in an inspiration I woke up with a flask at 3 AM (when I am most likely to have insightful ideas) and I remembered that I had another external hand drive only a year old and I wondered if it might have the photos.  (Fortunately I go right back to sleep after my 'good idea' moments…)  I found it all dusty in storage and when I plugged it in – there they were… So now I had to go through a slow process of down loading them – there are still duplicates to deal with and files to arrange – but I have them again.  I have learned my lesson – I will make a back up file of valuable photos on a thumb drive.   (I purchased a 16 Gigabyte thumb drive for 10 $!).

I find electronic malfunctions to be unnerving – things are not all working  exactly as I would like but I am well on the way.