Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Computer Crash of June 2010

I have emerged from the depths and have begun to tread water once again.  If you have not experienced a computer crash of your own, please read on for the gory details. I am now down feeling sorry for myself and my art.  I am done crying, I am done being angry, I am done fretting, and I am done blaming my kids and husband for this mess.  I am in the reconstruction mode and so I apologize, to myself and you dear readers, that I do not have certain software re-installed (need drivers that support vista) that support my cameras. In other words, no pictures nor scans for a while.  But what we do have installed should allow me to recreate some of the many lost files that are gone forever.

So, I have asked myself a thousand times how this all happened, how did I get into my sorry state of affairs.  This all started a week before the Flying Lessons class ended.  I was so looking forward to that last week.  We were also preparing for an overnight reunion with my dearest cousins up in Williams bay Wisconsin.  My son and myself had noticed some weird sounds coming from the hard drive.  The computer monitor would "blue screen" and then the computer would shut down.  I was able to restart and so was my son.  Our virus scans showed nothing.  My husband then noticed clicking sounds coming from the hard drive.  He diagnosed this as corrupt files not being able to be accessed (not necessarily due to a virus).  My husband is a software engineer and was able to get the computer started yet again.  The morning we were to leave for Wisconsin, the computer crashed and nothing would get it started.  So my husband erased the hard drive totally wiping out everything.  OK, I thought nothing of it because we did have back-up, an external hard drive, an expensive external hard drive.  We left for Wisconsin, came back (had a marvelous time), and then Marc started to re install the OS, MS office etc...  These programs required update, new drivers etc... and while he was downloading them, several viruses snuck in that threw off all sorts of thing.  The computer crashed yet again.  He cleaned up the viruses and finally got everything running it (this took him about 4 days of solid work).  OK so when it was time to restore files...everything I had done since January of 2010, all my database files (Access), publisher files (for my art and my pre school classes), jpegs etc... were not there.  Apparently the external drive stopped working on my user account for whatever reason (we still don't know why). 

Now what?  Marc tried various programs to restore the files.  We could see them out there, but when we tried to open them, we were given numerous error messages that ammounted to the fact that they were corrupt.  He found software that opens up Access files but it costs 200.00 and there was no guarentee that it would work.  The geek squad was considered but the cost kept us from doing it.  So that brings us to today.  I still have not fully assessed what is lost but I discover stuf daily.  I managed to get some files re built but it will take me months to even come close to building the relational database that I had for years of art work.  Some jpegs are gone forever because the art work has been sold.  I now am manually saving all files to the external drive plus I purchased a flash drive that I am also using for my art work. 

The best news though is that I was in the studio yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks.  I am working on a donation piece for The Land Conservacy fund raiser in Sept.  I felt a calling and decided to work on an abstract landscape.  These types of collages always give me great pleasure.  I am not sure when I will have my scanners ready but once I do, I promise a scan of the work. As far as the classes I teach at the Studio, they are on hold for a while.  Hopefully I can get back to it in August.



dorothy said...

Well now days Computers are crashing seriously and yet there is still high demand for them.So i would like to tell folks to always make backups because this really helps in data security.My company uses an online backup system called for all its backups.Safecopy backup is so compatible with win and mac computers and they are cost effective.

Undaunted said...

A very sad but familiar tale :( Computers are sooo over rated sometimes, and yet in this modern world we seem unable (or unwilling) to live without them.

My computer died some time ago. (I've adopted Scott's laptop!) I'm still waiting for Scott to retrieve the stuff from the hard drive, so in my mind I consider everything to be "safe". I don't think I want to know if everything is lost.

It seems we have a lot in common Kathy - my husband is a computer geek as well :)

Undaunted said...

ps. Glad you had a great time with your family :)

Kristy's Art Corner said...

Hi Kathy, I just stopped by from flying lessons and was reviewing the material and I liked your comment about being an artist and a parent about trying to find the joy in the bad days. That's so true and so helpful. It's great to be reminded about looking for the good. There always is some. Thanks.

Healing Woman said...

Thanks for the welcoming comment on my blog. I just checked to see what all I missed in your posts and have to tell you I really feel for you. I backed up my entire computer before I left on another hard drive (which could also fail) and will take the time to put everything again on CD's. I'm sure I'd go completely grey if I lost everything. You have been a good sport about it!!!!!!!

Kathy L said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. I am humbled and so thankful for them. Life goes on and I am going to try to be faihful to all the blogs that I follow. Soon I will have some exciting family news that made me realize once again, good things do happen and life is too short to wallow in self pity. Thank you again

Undaunted said...

Ooh, can't wait to hear the news :)

Lorrie Grainger Abdo said...

Kathy, I feel for you. The more we depend on our computer the worse the situation becomes when it is gone. Looks like you've begun the process of moving on. Wishing you a good week.