Friday, January 28, 2011

Computers and Wallets

Have you ever noticed how similar wallets and computers are? If you've been carrying around a wallet for any time it becomes part of you; you know how it feels and where every thing is located without having to think about it. The same holds true for computers; they become familiar to a certain extent.

Our desk top computer "blew its brains out" the other day; a violent image stolen from the fellow who diagnosed its failure to function. I'd have preferred something like, "It passed away in its sleep" or "It ran away from the insane asylum"; closer to the truth than discharging a loaded weapon in my office.

Fortunately we'd purchased Carbonite a year ago to back up all our files for just such an event. It might take a couple of days to recover all those "ones and zeroes"; but thank goodness for a little planning in advance. I have almost everything on CDs or memory sticks and could probably figure out where they all go; but this way all our files should look pretty much like they did before.

I can't imagine having to reload every photograph or having to download all that music manually. I sure hope those files find order out of chaos as they filter across the internet. Imagine what it would sound like if Meatloaf got jumbled up with Chopin; mind boggling isn't it.

We'd skipped Windows Vista and went from XP straight into Windows 7; just wanted to sound technical for a few moments. I just checked on Carbonite's progress; only one percent has been transferred, a little over 3,300 files. At this rate it will take a few days before the new computer will be useful. I only mention this because I know how often our internet connection is interrupted; keep those fingers crossed, toss a dead chicken over the fence and spit.

If you put that in perspective, Egypt will have gone into total upheaval, oil will have jumped another ten dollars a barrel, Rahm Emanuel will have proclaimed all other candidates in Chicago ineligible, gotten a federal judge to have them removed from the ballot and declared himself Emperor of the Windy City. Nobody would be surprised.

The new computer shut down for an unknown reason, something to do with Windows 7 upgrades not being able to find a System Restore Point; it rebooted and Carbonite acted as if nothing had been accomplished, starting over from the beginning, again. The old computer may have died in its sleep; this brand new one might get shot if it keeps doing that. Are bullet fragments in the hard drive covered under warranty?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.


MK said...

Glad to hear you have backups, too many folks have too much stuff that's not backed up and they think they'll never lose their PC.

Hope the new PC works better than the old one.

Lucy Stern said...

That first new computer we brought home yesterday had to be returned; nothing but error messages and failures. They exchanged it for a real New computer and it seems to be doing just fine. Sigh of relief. Now if all my files from Carbonite actually appear I will be satisfied.

David said...

Backups: I loves 'em. I make sure I have 'em in several formats on different media in different places. And every month, I make new "Windows Easy Transfer" files for our Windows 7 computers. Rightly configured, it's a Really Slick Backup. Oh, it doesn't reinstall programs, but if things are really toasted, I like to reinstall Windows and my software anyway. From there, WET can restore files and settings beautifully.

If things aren't to the "Nuke It From Orbit" stage, a system image is more useful, IMO, than regular backups, and is THE way to go in restoring 'nix OSes, as far as I'm concerned.

PING ("Partition Image is Not Ghost"--a reference to Norton Ghost imaging software) is a free disk imaging/partition management software that I've found useful across different platforms.

Backups: I loves 'em.Can't have enough of 'em.

Oh, and Carbonite is a Pretty Darned Good "set it and forget it" backup solution for those with a good connection with a "fat pipe". I'm still not jumping on storing my backups in the cloud, but I can see its appeal.

T. F. Stern said...

Okay, here's an update: The 1st brand new computer we took home was a lemon, full of error codes and we took it back and got a real brand new computer (Gateway this time). It seems to be working like new should work.

We loaded the upgrade to Windows 7 Professional with no glitches and all the other programs as well. For some reason we now have multiple "users" with each new name having its own set of icons. I will take the new computer to my local computer hospital and have my friend tell me what I did to screw that up.

We did have issues downloading from Carbonite. For some reason we downloaded HP administrator and it created those other users from the old computer. What a mess. We did away with all but two of the users and are downloading Carbonite all over again.

Trend Micros AntiVirus/internet program downloaded to the "lemon" computer but when I called their customer support they acted like I was stealing softwear because I downloaded it onto the replacement computer. Just a guess but they sounded foreign and were total jerks.

David, you speak a foreign language too, just too deep for my illiterate computer mind.

David said...

I'll try to use English in the future. :-)

If Trendmicro gives you too much grief, just use and do separate online scan using Trendmicro Housecall once a month or so for a "second opinion". More and more Real Wonks (like Woody Leonhard, author of multiple well-regarded Windows references for the past 18-20 years) are using just Microsoft Security Essentials for anti-malware protection.

Excess user accounts can always be managed/deleted via Control Panel>User Accounts>User Accounts.

MK said...

Glad to hear it's working out, though slowly and painfully.

Perri Nelson said...

Carbonite is great, if slow. I wouldn't use it alone though. I have tens of thousands of photos on my PCs, but I lost about a third of them a couple of years back because Carbonite didn't back them all up.
now they're duplicated on other machines and on DVD.

T. F. Stern said...

I don't think that Perri quite understands the concept of keeping malware out after looking at his chain mail sweater. lol Maybe that's what you wear to keep spam off of your shirt.

Perri Nelson said...


So, you're talking about malWARE, not malWEAR.

Now I understand...

I still think Carbonite is good, but not good enough.

T. F. Stern said...

Perri; This is where I yell "uncle" and walk away quietly....