Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When good hard drives go bad

A dog using a laptop is way funnier than me cursing at it
Monday morning my laptop died. I don't know why it died. I guess, yes, it had seemed a little under the weather lately, but I've never just had a computer go blank and say "fuck you, I'm not working anymore" quite like the laptop did. It has now been reborn and I really should be showing more gratitude about that fact, but instead I am just sitting here mourning the loss of the old laptop.

As I readied my child for another day at school, I heard something beep once, twice, maybe three times. I didn't think anything of it because, as anyone in touch with life in the 21st century can tell you, there are butt-loads of things in our lives that beep at random. Mysterious beeping? Don't sweat it, it's just some piece of electronic equipment doing some thing or telling you something or not doing something or something like that. I had a sip of coffee, I made a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, I went to check my email. The screen was black except for that short message that said something about "No hard drive disk detectable" and some other stuff about trying to reseat the hard drive or press F1 to reboot or press F5 to run diagnostics or press all the buttons at once and say "What the fuck" really loud and then explain to the laptop that you are very busy today and that you just arrived home from an 8-hour drive from Chicago at 7:45 last night and you need to get to the grocery store and do five loads of laundry and the electrician is due to arrive in 10 minutes and the dog pooped in the basement and that means you should clean the carpet and the child has violin lessons this afternoon and you really wanted to get in a workout this morning because you skipped it the last 4 days and you are feeling a bit antsy and therefore you do not have time to figure out what to do with a blank screen and mysterious beeping and diagnostic thingies and all that crap.

Another problem here is that, apparently, I have turned into a seemingly helpless and somewhat ditsy blonde. No, in fact, my hair is not naturally blonde. It is naturally very unfortunate, in many ways. It is artificially blonde now, however because. Just because. I am also not naturally helpless. I am naturally lazy. And I am not naturally ditsy either. But there are just too many things to keep track of and any woman who has raised a child from infancy can tell you that these tiny beings just don't allow for much "me time." So when I have "me time," I have no desire to spend it downloading updates or renewing subscriptions to McAffee or LoJack or backing up data or whatever window is popping up on me now. Instead, when the computer tells me something needs to happen I stand up, make a little disgusted guttural noise, wave my hand at the laptop and say "husband, the computer needs you." And voila, usually just like that, something happens and I can get back to my important blogging.

So I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled, I tell you, when I walked into Best Buy and up to the Geek Squad counter and started telling them the problem and they asked me a bunch of questions and I heard myself answering "I don't know, my husband takes care of that. I don't know, my husband downloaded that." Dammit, when did I turn into such a slug? These Geek boys are clearly not impressed with my handle on technology. I know they made fun of me after I left. They are so much cooler than I.

So, they called to tell me "Yep, your hard drive is bad." Then I said, "How much money should I pay you to make it go back to being good?" They named their price, I said ok fine. They instructed me to bring disks over to the store, which I did, whereupon they informed me that none of those disks were the right disks and I drove home and tore my house apart, swearing loudly, and I found some more disks and drove them over to the store and the Geeks said thanks, we'll call you. They called, said my computer was fixed, I made the husband go get it and now here we are and I am still not happy. I have a headache and my face feels like I got a bad sunburn because I spent the better part of the day under the influence of a massive cortisol and/or adrenaline-induced fugue state, which made my face extremely flushed. My core temperature has been elevated all day, I'm probably suffering from dehydration. Cool under pressure? I am anything but.

I have visited the Dell DataSafe website to retrieve my backed up files, which were backed up online because of the error messages we started getting when backing up the computer to a disk, an evil forewarning of things to come. Dell DataSafe tells me "Server error in '/' application."

To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a <customErrors> tag within a "web.config" configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This <customErrors> tag should then have its "mode" attribute set to "Off".
<!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->

        <customErrors mode="Off"/>

How do I enable the 'bite me' error message? Yes, this is what I have been reduced to. I don't even understand what the above message means, but I am going to take a wild guess that it means I am not downloading my backed up files just yet. I'm sure, in time, I will get this resolved, perhaps not quite to my satisfaction. It's going to be a busy day today. I have a lot of wallowing in self-pity to do.

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