Thursday, 24 March 2011

Woe, Woe, a Thousand Times Woe!

A techie’s lament
No, not sermon on Revelations 9, but a lament for the pain that my sick computer is causing me.

It all started with the Windows 7 64 bit Service Pack 1 update in February (KB 976932). There was a hiccup and it didn’t install properly. I managed to go to an earlier System Restore Point, then switched off Kaspersky and downloaded it again. For a while all was OK, and then I started noticing that documents that I had left open were no longer open when I returned a while later. It took quite a long time to realize that the computer was crashing and restarting all on its own.

Eventually another Windows update failed and I tried to re-instate the computer to an earlier Restore Point. This time after several attempts it wiped all the previous Restore Points.
At that moment a depression settled over me which lasted several days in spite of the sunny, warm weather! Fortunately we also have a portable, but as Christiane will tell you; apart from her, my computer is my favourite companion!

I tried to do a repair install, but the fact that I had Service Pack 1 partly installed, and an OEM copy of the original Windows 7 software, meant that wasn’t possible. A series of emails to the manufacturer followed and attempts were made to use Advanced Safe Mode to get back to the” last known good configuration”. They all failed, but tests showed that there didn’t seem to be any hardware faults.

At least I could get into Safe Mode and copy all my data files and outlook.pst file onto an external hard disk.

Eventually the manufacturer said that I had to do a clean install and then re-install the drivers for the motherboard and the graphics card. Plucking up my reserves of courage and persistence I put the OEM Windows 7 64 bit disc in the computer and after a bit of juggling managed to install Windows.

Next I discovered that the motherboard support disk has a split in it, and the link that the manufacturers helpfully sent for the graphic card drivers doesn’t work! The graphics card driver disk worked, however, and Kaspersky 2011 is currently downloading a 111Mb newer version of the application. Curiously everything is running without having loaded any software for the motherboard, the drivers must be coming from somewhere else! After that I have a list of 15 or so programs to install, most of which will need online updates. This, of course, takes some time on my rural 512k ADSL connection but that allows me to write a blog, or a whole month of blogs, while I’m waiting!

This time I am really going to take back-ups seriously on both computers. With Windows 7 you can backup a full image of your system so that if something like this happens again, you re-format the disk and re-install the image. At least that’s the theory!  Otherwise I need to create an ISO image of my hard disk once I know it's up to date and stable!

You can buy a 2 terabyte external hard drive with USB 3.0 for about £90 delivered these days.  The same price that I paid for the 500Gb LaCie that I bought about 18 months ago! I might even look into NAS (network attached storage) but what I would also like, apart from a trouble free backup system, is a printer server that will work from the portable over the Wi-Fi network .........................!!


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