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5 Things NOT to Do When Your Computer Hard Drive Fails...

Nit Wits #30: Blue Scream of DeathA little more computer humor by Chris Dunmire...

Imagine: you're hard at work formatting some important Microsoft Word document with pretty bullets and bolded titles when all of a sudden an ominous message comes slithering out from under your task tray alerting you to back up NOW because your hard drive is failing!

Next thing you know you see the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" and no amount of key punching or turning your computer on or off will get you back into the font menu of your pretty document.

If you just experienced a hard drive failure, where you'll ultimately be forced to pop out the old drive and have a new one installed — and in between lose all of your hard-earned data — you're certainly not the first nor alone in the frustration that comes with what I call the Blue SCREAM of Death.

How do you survive? Well, here's five things I implore you NOT to do under such dire circumstances:

  1. DON'T YELL AT YOUR ANIMALS
    Don't blame your cat for your computer hard drive failing. They get blamed for enough stuff as it is whenever there's broken knickknacks or gooey hairballs piled on the floor. This time, give kitty a break.

  2. DON'T BLAME EVERYONE WHO RECENTLY TOUCHED YOUR COMPUTER
    And for that matter, don't blame anyone else within striking distance either. Your spouse, child, best friend, and next door neighbor most likely had nothing to do with that piece of electronic hardware deciding to call it quits.

  3. STAY OFF THE PITY POT... AT LEAST FOR AWHILE
    Drama Queens, take note: Don't call all of your friends weeping with the tragedious news before calling your computer manufacturer's tech support department and getting some diagnostic help and/or a solution rolling as soon as possible.

    Of course you smartly planned ahead for such disasters and not only backed up your data but have some kind of technical support or warranty coverage for your high-priced computer equipment, right? Okay, at the very least, do you have a phone number for tech support? Okaaay, do you know who made your computer?

  4. DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD
    Though it's more tempting than chocolate, try not to fall into the black hole of catastrophizing, self-pity, and despair. If you do, you might not find your way out for weeks or months or even years. And if that's the case, you won't even need your computer anymore.

    By the way, if your computer data cannot be recovered in any way, shape, or form from your broken hard drive, you simply must fall back on your plan B. What is your plan B? If you don't know, right now is the time to make one (hint). And it should not include the words "jump" or "bridge".

  5. DON'T FORGET: THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN
    Finally, though the hard drive failure "blue screen of death" experience is most understandably traumatizing, don't allow it to paranoid you into thinking every subsequent hard drive you install from here on out will conspire against you to fail you into a miserable existence. Really.

    Do remember that these things will happen to you, to your friends, and maybe even to Oprah. Sometimes they won't happen to your next door neighbor or to that annoying co-worker who downloads pirated MP3s every Friday night, but they are happening to people all over the world all of the time. Tires go flat. Stores run out of sales items. And computer hard drives fail. Do you really think that you deserve to be exempt from what's happening to everyone else?

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ęChris Dunmire, www.chrisdunmire.com.