Nit Wits #30: Blue Scream of Death
Read the Secret Screen Message
The Blue Scream of Death
Nit Wits #30: Blue Scream of Death
The flexible Gumby and Pokey figures on my desk are still smiling even after watching me experience the infamous "Blue screen of death" (a euphemism for a hard drive failure) on my computer last week. One minute I was working as usual, and the next moment an ominous message pops up that had words like "disk failure" and "back up your data NOW." It wasn't long after that a big blue screen with icky white technical words appeared on the monitor and I swear I heard Titanic orchestra music playing.
Fortunately, I've had a good back-up procedure in place, and now it's improved since having a new hard drive installed. And during the screaming part, my colorful SpongeBob calendar reminded me of the healing power of humor, which I earnestly channeled into my latest Nit Wits comic above.
Besides being glad it wasn't YOUR hard drive that failed, I'd like to think that my experience will help you to remember the imperativeness of backing up your computer data regularly on some external media source so should you unexpectantly experience the blue screen of death you won't find yourself plunging down a rabbit hole over disintegrated and/or lots-o-moolah to recover files.
How do you discern what should be backed up? By asking yourself this one simple question: If RIGHT NOW this file (photo, artwork, document, e-mail, e-book, program) disappeared forever, what will my reaction be? If your body tenses up and you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, you know to back it up!
Be Prepared! Before You Experience Your First Hard Drive Failure:
- Back up your data files regularly. Get into the habit of backing up your computer data regularly on an external source (external hard drive, ZIP, JAZ, CD, DVD, etc.). How often you do this depends on how much work you don't mind losing should the unexpected happen in between back-ups. If you don't back it up, it's lost. Forever.
- Understand your computer warranty/tech support options. Know what's covered on your computer and what kind of technical support you are entitled to should your hard drive (or anything else) fail. When you purchased your computer you may have opted for an extended warranty or technical support service where the manufacturer may provide over-the-phone diagnostics or send a geeky, yet knowledgable, computer person to your home to make it all better (or at least improve the situation). Know your coverages and how you may use them should the need arise.
- Be ready to bite the bullet, cut your losses, and re-install EVERYTHING. If your hard drive fails and needs to be replaced, you'll have to reinstall all of your programs and data on your new hard drive to get back to where you were. You may even get some help with this process IF your tech support service contract covers it. With this foreknowledge, know where all of your manufacturer's software, CDs, DVDs, etc. are, as well as anything else that came with the computer when you first brought it home.
Oh, and remember all of those things you purchased and downloaded from the Internet: fonts, software plug-ins, e-books, and other doo-dads? If you don't back those up somewhere they'll also go down the unrecoverable drain called Byes-ville.
The Good-Feeling-Article-Summary Paragraph
If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be this clever acronymn I just made up five seconds ago: Preparedness Is Preferable (P.I.P.). Yes, with a good data back-up system in place, a computer hard drive failure need not translate into a devestating data loss. The key is to be prepared: hold on to the data you've got and back up any new data you make. "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket." the wise saying goes. Back up. Often.
Isn't it wonderful to learn so much useful information from someone else's misfortune? All in stride. And now, I present some bonus comic relief.
Things NOT to Do When Your Computer Hard Drive Fails