As I write, it’s nearly 8 o’clock on Wednesday evening, and I’m coming to the end of the worst few computing days I’ve ever had. You’ll know from my previous post that my main desktop PC crashed on Friday morning, for the reasons explained. I added a comment written on Tuesday morning while I was awaiting further news. I write now, having got the machine back on Tuesday evening and then spent a couple of frustrating hours fiddling with it, because in re-installing XP the shop wiped all my installed programs. I hadn’t realised that would happen — when they said they’d done a backup for me, I thought they’d meant everything, not just the data in the sub-folders under the My Documents folder. It was good to get all that back, of course — but the work involved in re-installing all the programs, big and small, that I’d installed over the past two years or so, is colossal. All my e-mail settings and mail archive — gone; my IE7 favourites and add-ons — gone; my home network configuration — gone. My most recent photographs, running into the hundreds and stored not under My Documents but a shared folder instead — gone. To say I was dismayed is an understatement.
I felt even more frustrated when I discovered the sound card didn’t work any more. I couldn’t get an output from the jack sockets on the back of it, only from the headphone socket on the front of the PC. And I couldn’t get any audio in to the sound card via the line-in jack socket on the back — so I wouldn’t be able to do any recording work. Worse still, the dreaded flickering screen, the original Friday morning problem, had resumed — though thankfully, not the BSOD — the Blue Screen Of Death. I went to bed feeling like my world had crashed along with my PC.
As soon as this morning dawned, I was up and at it. I tried to ignore the occasionally flickering screen as I reinstalled programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Then came the biggest blow: out of all the files that had been backed up and restored under My Documents, the most important one, my Excel spreadsheet containing my entire accounting system for the past year, wouldn’t open. All the other restored files, thousands of ‘em, are fine as far as I can tell. The one that I really need: corrupted.
And I hadn’t backed it up. At all.
The shop tried to recover it from the backup they’d made. No good. While they were doing that, I was trying to get my home network running again. It took me the best part of five hours. Eventually I had some succcess with that. But that damned accounts file kept playing on my mind … by 2pm I was on the verge of crying in frustration, cursing myself for being such an idiot. WHY DIDN’T I DO A BACKUP???
The screen flicker was getting worse again. Every mouse movement caused it to flash off and on. I called the shop again and after explaining about the sound card not working as well as the screen still playing up, they suggested I take it back to them.
Before I did, I rebooted and made a backup of all the files under My Documents onto the Seagate 320GB external drive I’ve had for months (so why didn’t I do a backup before??!). The flickering disappeared after the reboot.
In the shop, they downloaded and installed the latest drivers for the Sound Blaster Audigy audio card. It worked. Sound started coming out through the rear jack sockets again. They also took my advice (at last — I’d told them several times that loads of other people had cured their flickering problem by installing the latest drivers) and downloaded and installed the latest nVidia drivers for the video card (they hadn’t done that when they reinstalled XP, they installed the 2004 drivers that came with XP).
I brought it home, set it all up yet again, plugged it in. It’s been on for three hours. Not a flicker has crossed the screen. At first I could get sound out of the card, but couldn’t get any in. Some more fiddling with the audio playback/record settings has, at last, worked. I can record again.
So it looks like I’m gradually getting back to some semblance of normality — except I’ve got to reload all my recent photos from the memory cards on the camera, reload the Kodak Easyshare software I use to catalogue them (that’ll take more days than I care to think about), I’ve got to buy and install something like Cute FTP because I’ve lost my old copy and can’t upload flexibly to my site (hence no pics with these most recent posts) — and I’ve got to go back over ten months of this year’s accounts and rebuild my lost spreadsheet, picking through the invoices, receipts, bank accounts and credit card statements and painstakingly recreate the Excel formulae that I’d developed over the past 15 years of bolting bits and pieces onto my wildly creative, only-I-can-understand-it masterpiece of a spreadsheet.
WHY OH WHY DIDN’T I DO A BACKUP?
Don’t ask me. I’m just the stupid idiot around here.