i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Geek Greek 101: Calling All Nerds!

September 09, 2005

Okay, that's it! I am completely and utterly done with Windows. Down to Windows! But... I need your help. See, I have a PC and I need some sort of operating system. At the moment I am using a bizarre cracked version of operating: Windows XP is defunct, my explorer file is corrupted and I can't get the repair program to fix it.

I -could- reformat my computer and start over, but honestly? the idea wakes me in the night with cold shivers!

I have a decade's worth of my mind's mental stew stored on my hard drive: we're talking papers from high school, my earliest web page designs, graphics and images I've designed, mp3s of me pretending to be a rockstar (yup, really!) as well as my entire 3000+ songs collection, pictures of friends, family, and loved ones, and, more important than anything else, writing like you wouldn't believe! I've written several novels, countless (oh countless!) academic papers for SHU, WCCC, and YSU, and journal entries from 1997 to present. I have at least 25 short stories in my collection as well as scores of poetic versification, not to mention all the random little chunks of brain farts that make my way to various files on my computer.


The day my computer crashed, I nearly hyperventilated. I won't lie: I freaked out. I called my brother, insisted that my father bring him to my house immediately, sure he'd be able to fix it. When he couldn't fix it and said the dreaded R-word, I called a local repair shop. The damage? $65 to reformat and reinstall all my old programs. Are you freaking kidding me? If I want to erase my entire life, I could do it myself, thank you very much.

Next, I called Dell, hoping maybe my computer was still under warranty. It wasn't. So I paid the $100 service call fee, cursing my misfortune and wondering how I'd pay my rent... when suddenly my phone died. It was providence at work. In the meantime my uncle Malcolm from the good old UK called me and offered some potential solutions. The next morning, I called back Dell and cancelled my service order.

Unfortunately, nothing has worked thus far: It seems as though my only option for a properly functioning computer is the R-word. But I refuse! I can still do everything I need to do on the computer, I just have to mess around a bit in order to make it happen. I don't have a start menu or a task bar any longer, but I can still sign online, burn cds, and print my papers. What else do I need?

Nothing... except maybe a new operating system which will not force me to reformat and lose my files. Hey computer geeks, any suggestions?

Moira at 10:52 AM :: Comments (5) :: ::

Moira, if as you say you can still do things on the computer, backup your files immediately--Even use floppies if you have nothing else, although you said you could burn CD's. Take the data--not the programs--those can always be reinstalled. I've just gone through the same thing, only I could not boot to Windows and the error message I got in trying to Scandisk prior to startup was a well known tip that the drive had died. You may also, if you haven't already, try re-installing WIN XP.

Posted by: susan at September 9, 2005 02:42 PM

It sounds like the problem is your hard drive. If you bought a new hard drive, and connected it to your computer, I wonder if it would be possible to install a bootable version of Windows on it. Then you could copy your files from your old hard drive to the new one.

At any rate, I'd strongly suggest that you burn a few CDs with your irreplaceable files and photos, since it sounds like your hard drive won't last much longer. I've heard of people who put bootable operating systems onto thumb drives -- those keychain USB thingies.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 9, 2005 02:45 PM

Back up your files--this is something everyone should do, and frequently. Losing those "irreplaceable" items is something that five minutes every two weeks (or so) can fix.

My suggestion? Get a Mac. I did, and I'm never turning back. I had a Dell for less than a year and hated it. If you have a desktop, keep your monitor and such and get a MacMini; if you have a laptop, I suggest the iBook (that's what I have--they just updated it recently, and it's better than ever! Scrolling trackpad! Woot!). There are student discounts that are very worthwhile, and they have excellent service and support options (and they have free shipping). (
[/end Apple plug] Hahaha :-) I'm slightly obsessed, you might say.

Posted by: Karissa at September 9, 2005 04:31 PM

I suggest Linux, personally. You can find Linux OS freeware. That means it is completely free and best of all, LEGAL! (or the other way around!) I have a copy of an Ubuntu (Linux) operating system on a live CD if you want to test it out. Just pop it in and it boots directly from the CD.

Posted by: Evan at September 12, 2005 02:54 PM

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

Evan - I would love to try your Linux boot disk. That would rock my world.

Karissa - I always liked Macs but never purchased one for fear of compatibility issues. I almost did a while back when I was a graphics major (oh those three days of art school...) but didn't. I think with my next upgrade I might go Mac - but it'll be a while.

Dr. J - I immediately backed up all of my writing on to CD, most of which was already backed up and/or filed in hard copy in my closet. I haven't copied my music files as of yet since 3000 is going to take a LOT of cds... but you've put the fear in my heart and I'll be working on that this weekend.

Susan - I can boot to windows, I just don't have an explorer file (no task bar, no start menu) but my brother created a new explorer file which allows me to access all of my files and programs. I've backed up files, the most important ones anyway, but some of my programs are pretty much irreplacable (unless I magically get rich). Ah well... I'll see what happens.

Posted by: moira at September 12, 2005 04:09 PM
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