Monday, December 21, 2009

What's that Burning Smell? or Yikes, My Hard Drive is FRIED!!

Technology hasn't been faring well in the Wescott household this year. First, Michele's on-the-road boredom protection, her portable DVD player, went kaput. That was pretty easily remedied with an early Christmas present. Then, the DVD player that's built into our TV decides it only wants to play Mr. Woodcock. So bizarre. It spits out every other DVD. I have a work around though: I put the DVD in, then turn the input to TV so it will keep the disk in the slot, let the TV warm up for about a half hour, and then it works like a dream. Needless to say, we'll be getting a new DVD player after the holidays!

The worst technology flare up, however, was the demise of my beloved laptop. It came upon it rather like a cold. First, the runny nose: my user profile disappeared and all my data went with it. After a little research, I found the data in some hidden folders and was able to add a new user profile. No biggie, I'm thinking, because my research found that Windows Vista sometimes deletes user profiles - it's a "feature." Next, the coughing and stuffy head: all of my pictures and music files disappear. I again think no biggie, they're in those hidden folders, but no. They're really gone. A little more research and I find a way to retrieve "deleted" files since nothing really gets deleted from a computer. After working on it for about nine hours, I'm only able to retrieve about 1/2 of the files because the rest are corrupt. And, alas, I didn't listen to my Dad and back things up regularly. So, at this point, I know there's something pretty significant wrong with my computer. The frequent "CRITICAL HARD DISK ERROR" messages while I was retrieving my files were pretty big clues. The black screen with "UNABLE TO LOCATE HARD DISK" message was another good clue. So, what to do? Well, after telephone coaching from my Dad, I bought and installed a new hard disk and Norton 360 (which I love), then reinstalled the operating system and all my software - an all day affair. That was Saturday. Yesterday, she (the computer) was acting like new, except she wasn't acting like a laptop. For example, the touchpad wasn't working and the control panel had all these options for a desktop and none for a laptop. A little more research and I find that I neglected to install a Dell-specific software package that I was supposed to install BEFORE installing the operating system! Uh oh! Well, thankfully, the components on that disk can be downloaded and installed from, so I installed the driver for the touchpad, which is now working like a charm. I'm not really sure what else was in that package, but I'll figure it out when I encounter the next thing that doesn't work quite right. And then I'll fix it - I've got mad computer-fixing skills!


  1. Awwww, Michelle, it must be the same cold that hit mine last week but in my case it was the power supply and mother board. I'm still trying to get all my applications back to where they were before this most recent sickness. I might suggest an external hard drive as a backup. That's what my computer scientist, nerdy, geek to the max oldest son uses and what he got his girlfriend for Christmas - such a romantic!

    Merry Christmas

  2. i'm glad you were able to do all of that. unfortunatly in order to fix my computer i need to get a new one. :( oh well...



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