Sunday, November 06, 2005


I was surfing through my blogroll last night when it happened. Crash! It was unlike anything I have ever experienced in the many years I have used computers, and that includes both MAC and PC. I'm by no means an expert on either, but I can usually do almost anything I want to do on either platform. I had never seen anything like this before. It came right out of the blue with no warning whatsoever. Both my virus and spyware protection were up to date and the system was clean at the time the problem occurred.

I had actually clicked on a link to look at some moonbat photos that I found on Michelle Malkin's blog and when I hit the back button, my computer froze. It then went completely dark, and finally a blue screen popped up with a line at the end that was particularly distressing: Memory dump successful.

I have no idea what caused this, but I know darn well I didn't give anyone or anything permission to do this. It happened before I could do anything to stop it. No matter what I did, I could not get back into my computer and save any information. Everything I tried would eventually bring me back to the same message every time I did a hard reboot. I tested the hard drive and was given the message it had failed, I tried to boot up from a disc and that failed. I simply could not get back in no matter what I tried.

I did the next logical thing, which was to contact support. They seemed thrilled to inform me that my warranty had indeed expired, and they would be glad to help me for the low price of $45 or I could opt for $99 dollars for the year. All this for the privledge of talking to someone from India who would take a week or so to tell me my hard drive would need to be reformatted. I told the obviously stunned person on the other end of the line that neither option was acceptable. I would track down the solution by other means and would get back to them only as a last resort.

Let me be perfectly clear: I have no problem whatsoever with people who happen to speak in an Indian accent. I'm sure if we were talking about the weather, or any other topic that didn't involve DOS commands, I would have been just fine with it. To be totally honest, my fairly thick southern accent just doesn't translate into Indian very well, and vice versa. I felt I had enough problems already and didn't have the time or patience to add, "Could you repeat that?" to the mix

It is at this point that I made two critical decisons, neither of which may have been very smart.

1. I decided that I did not have a spare $45 to pay for someone to tell me in a foreign language that I would have to reformat my hard drive. I'm sure there is a possibility that something could have been done to save my data, but logic (possibly flawed) told me that if my memory had been dumped, there was probably nothing left to recover. I could get the original applications back using my install disks, I figured.

2. I decided if the only solution left was to reformat my hard drive and reload my software, I could do that myself and save the $45. I thought the money could be used much more wisely as a bargaining tool while begging my wife's forgiveness(i.e. dinner, movie, etc.)

So, I spent the afternoon reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system and have finally managed to get everything back. Everything, that is, that was on the computer when I initially purchased it two years ago. Everything since is history. Fortunately, we made back-up copies of digital photos and other critical files, but lost a lot of other things that I wish we still had. Thankfully, my blog posts don't reside on my computer so I didn't lose any posts.

The good news is my hard drive has apparently survived whatever it is that attacked it even though two years worth of saved data that may or may not have been useful, is gone. I think it will be much easier to live without the lost data than it would have been to find the money to purchase a new computer. All in all, it could have been much worse even though it didn't appear that way early this morning.

Needless to say, I don't have anything meaningful to post today as a result of all this. I will try to post again starting tomorrow, but am going to have to be extemely careful until I get my virus protection back up and running.

If anyone has any ideas as to what may have caused this, I would love to know. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of information about the problem other than the memory dump I referred to earlier. Feel free to call me a fool or to reassure me that I did the only thing left to do. I can take it either way. Maybe the law of averages caught up to me and I had just never witnessed a violent crash in the past, but it doesn't seem logical that it would occur without some type of prior indicator of a potential problem.

My sincere hope is that someone else can avoid the same fate I experienced, so I would be glad to post any information I receive about the problem, along with potential solutions that may have been wiser than the choice I made. I have a gut feeling that it was an isolated problem that affected only my computer, but if there is some type of worm or virus that may be causing this, it would be good information to spread around.

See ya'll tomorrow (I hope!)

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