Last Sunday, my computer bit the dust. I didn't realize HOW much it had bitten the dust until Friday evening, when I tried some basic computer repair (take out RAM and put it back in, check all hard drive power and motherboard connections, etc), and nothing worked. NOTHING.
18 months of photos, down the drain.
I was able to kluge a working computer together out of an older computer we'd dragged along with us from Cotonou, get Windows 7 installed, and use an external SATA case to connect the hard drives and save my data.
It was exactly as much of a hassle as it sounds, particularly since our Internet connection is dial-up speed. I'm still downloading software, and still getting used to the fact that I'm using WIndows (!!) on my personal machine for the first time in almost a decade. Sorry, Ubuntu, with no Internet connection to download drivers, I wasn't about to try a fresh install on a kluged together computer, particularly since your wifi and printer support is so damn mediocre these days.
Back when Bertrand and I were running People Online, we kept a thumb drive filled with applications, so we could frequently reformat his virus ridden laptop. It wasn't ideal, but it allowed us to get a Windows machine up and running again in a few hours. I also kept a thumb drive of PortableApps, including a plug-and-play Linux distro around, just in case. I used them ALL THE TIME.
Now that we're no longer running an IT business, we've given up those best practices.
After this weekend, I won't make that mistake again. We've got all of our photos backed up. We've got all the free programs we use regularly on an external drive. And I'm still pulling my hair out trying to get all of the Windows ecosystem versions of my favorite programs downloaded.
The bad news is that after 48 hours of this, I am grumpy and irritable. The good news is that I was able to restore (almost) all of our data, and while I was mucking around, I went ahead and installed our printers on the network. Now we can print from all of our computers (including iPhones and iPads) from anywhere in the house.
I figured out some workable Internet solutions as well, so hopefully (bwa ha ha) you'll see a bit more of me over the next few weeks.
Lots of lessons learned this weekend. ARGH.