Friday, August 17, 2007

I got the power! I got the power!

The power of computing, that is.

My computer is mostly back now, thanks to the heroically patient work of Bullock. (I love my handy man. I think the only thing I haven't seen him fix is a car and he can probably do that, too.) To make a long story short, restoring the back-up set of the entire hard drive, backed up on my external hard drive, failed because of a single frakking corrupt file. Grr. So we had to rebuild the computer from scratch. There was one moment of hair-tearing irony when the computer didn't want to recognize the wireless modem and then told us to go online to search for the drivers. Uhhhhh...Lucky for me Bullock was able to use *his* computer to find it and download it to my memory key. But rebuilding also meant re-downloading updates to a lot of things, especially for Windows XP, my version of which pre-dated the big Service Pack 2 download. Pretty much all of my Wednesday and Thursday were taken up by this, and most of Bullock's too.

Luckily I had also made a duplicate of the Documents and Settings folder and all of its contents on my external drive, too, not quite trusting the mysterious back-up system which saves everything in some proprietary, compressed form. That turned out to be handy for accessing all my saved files not only while I used Bullock's spare laptop, but also after rebuilding and reinstalling everything. Then it was just a matter of copying all my files back over.

And now, I have a cleaner hard drive that's 3x as big as my old one and partitioned into two drives, C and D, with the first, smaller one, for programs, and the larger one for data. And I've set up My Documents (including Pictures and Music), my mailbox and e-mail profile files, and my PDA calendar and contact files, all to save to the D drive. And I plan on exporting a copy of my Firefox bookmark file there before every weekly back-up, too. So now I can save the actual stuff I need without a lot of extra junk. I might try the complete hard disk back-up again, too, but I'm still suspicious of it. Having the data itself in duplicate is a good thing, I think.

I recommend external drives, by the way. Mine's 80 gigabytes and when I bought it, I think it was only about $1 per gigabyte. They're much cheaper now. Meanwhile I'm also thinking about getting a 4 gigabyte memory key for backing up all of my documents and pictures and taking them to the office for additional safety. After all, an external drive doesn't do me any good if the house burns down.

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