The New Computer

Well, as it seems that nothing lasts forever, my reliable home computer decided to give up the ghost this past week. A hard drive failure, as far as I can tell.

The good news is that, being reasonably intelligent, I back up my hard drive about every six months. The bad news is that my last backup was five and a half months ago. The long Thanksgiving weekend is when I usually schedule the annual full backup…. The good news is that the drive failed slowly enough so that I was able to download my “mission critical” files and other key personal documents (these blog posts, a couple of media files that I acquired recently, the file where I store all my passwords and login information) that get changed and updated frequently to a flash drive before the thing died completely.

So it’s off to get a new desktop PC…..

This was the first time I can remember where I ever had to shop on “Black Friday”. Surprisingly, there was no traffic on the way to my local computer store. Nor was the place particularly crowded. The hardest part was actually getting to the checkout lanes – they had all sorts of barriers set up so that you could only get there through one single aisle. I almost certainly bought more computer than I need. “No, I don’t need Microsoft Office or your anti-virus software (I find Open Office and AVG Antivirus to be sufficient for my needs, and they are free), but alright, give me the fershlugginer warranty….”

I get it home (OK, it comes with a mouse and keyboard. I’ll keep the mouse, but the keyboard is actually physically uncomfortable to use – I’ll stay with my old one, thank you), plug it all in, and…

What the heck is this “Windows 10”? IT’S UGLY! Why do I need to log in to my own computer? No one else is going to be using it! What is all this crap on the Start Menu that, by the way, completely covers my screen? What are these stupid little announcements and alerts that keep popping up? Go away, Cortana! I’ve been using computers since before there was a World Wide Web; you don’t have to hold my hand through everything! And you stupid media player! I don’t need you to compile a library of every single media file I have on there! I have hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of files, and they are already sorted nicely into folders and tagged properly! I do NOT want to wait half an hour for you to catalog everything – just play the darned file already! And shouldn’t there be an easy way to adjust font and icon sizes for those of us whose eyes aren’t as good as they used to be?

Now to restore things from my backup files. As expected, it takes about as long to do a restore as it did to back them up in the first place. Now’s a good time to reorganize and streamline my file folder structure. I was intending to do it soon anyway (yeah, right), but I would have rather done it on my own time than to be practically forced to do it.

OK, now to download my Browser of Preference and all those little utility programs that I’ve found useful over the years, and have become comfortable with. And hope I’m not forgetting a browser plug-in. Oh, darn, I forgot to backup/copy my bookmarks! Well, to be honest, I wasn’t using many of them anyway. Though it is a bit of a pain re-entering them all (along with the passwords). Then there are all the websites I visit often but don’t have bookmarked, and rely on autocomplete for the full URLs. Is it a “.com” or “.org”?

Ah, I see I’m not the only person who hates the Windows 10 “look and feel”. Hopefully, I can make all the adjustments without breaking it. You’d think that when a software company makes a major upgrade to their primary operating system, they’d include an option for veteran users to easily recreate the appearance of the older version. But what do I know….

Eventually, I’ll have everything arranged and customized into something I can deal with. Then I’ll have to decide what to do with the old computer. Use it as a bookend? Try to salvage the hard drive (Did I forget to copy over something important)? Try to remove it and just junk the rest? Maybe there’s a repair place nearby that can use it for parts….

One thought on “The New Computer

  1. Sorry to hear about your woes, though it’s cheering to hear you were able to save everything of importance.

    I think there are ways to persuade Windows 10 to emulate earlier Windows versions — my local computer shop suggested I pay them to get it to emulate Windows 7. My guess is it’s not too difficult, but as I was on Windows 7 for about a month before upgrading to 10, and had no great affection for it . . . Now, Windows XP would have been a different matter!

    Oddly, I just discovered a few days ago that irritating habit of the media player that you mention: it was the first time I’d chosen to play an .mp3 using it. (It plays .m4as without that palaver.) For .mp3s I use Winamp and for video files I use VLC (which also plays audio files). I have no problem with either.

    The business of having to log in to your own computer is, as you say, a complete pigging nuisance. It also, to be honest, gives me the creeps. In the final weeks before my brother died of a cancer that affected his brain, he found he could no longer log into his own computer because he’d forgotten the password and had never thought to write it down. It was one of the most distressing things I’ve ever seen. I think about it every time I have to log in. Thanks, Microsoft.



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