Posts Tagged ‘MS Windows’


January 8, 2022

Friends, it’s been a fraught week. I have had two computer failures and bought two new computers.

Many of the details of this trauma are irrelevant, but I have learned a lot. And there are two things I feel compelled to share.


And secondly, no matter how beautiful your computer; no matter how big its screen; no matter fast its processor; it is in fact bound to end up as scrap.

And no matter how much you think you like this object, all you actually care about is the data it is storing.

The Failures

Just before Christmas, my son returned home from university with a broken laptop which would not switch on at all.

It contained data he had just obtained in the course of his PhD research and he was stoically indifferent. But profoundly depressed.

Using the super-power that parents have: I took him out and bought him a new computer. But I could not recover his data.

And then just three days ago I returned home to find my Lenovo Ideacenter in distress. A propos of nothing at all, it displayed a black screen with some obscure text.

After running diagnostics, the primitive brain of the computer informed me gruffly that I had had a hard drive failure.

The Successes

I took the broken computers to our local PC repair shop, the wonderful PC Home.

Within a few hours they told me that the Lenovo diagnostics program was wrong: the hard disk and all my data were fine: it was the computer that was kaput.

They returned the hard disk to me along with a portable drive containing the data they had extracted.

Then miraculously, PC Home found that my son’s computer had a random short-circuit on its main board. They sorted it and the computer returned to life, all data in tact.

Lessons learned#1

What I have learned from these episodes is simple.

No matter how wonderful, or fashionable your computer, it is destined to become scrap.

The attic room in our house is filled with devices which were once sources of pride and wonder. They are now – at best – relics and items of occasional fascination.

In actual fact it is the data on your computer that is valuable: the words you have written as poems or remembrances, novels or reports; the photographs or videos; the spreadsheets or data files.

So please, whatever you doing right now, please stop it. And go and back up your computer!

As the saying goes: there are two types of computer: those which have failed, and those which have not failed yet.

Lessons learned#2

I am now 62 years old and I have been programming computers and using them for work since I was 18. I consider myself modestly competent: I have for example successfully replaced internal hard drives in iMac computers. But I am having difficulty coping with the complexity and mode of operation of modern computers.

For example, while sorting through the hard drive recovered my computer, I was shocked to find that many files that I thought I had saved, were not in fact present on the hard drive.

Many of the files were recoverable from an on-line vault known as the Microsoft OneDrive. They were there even though I had repeatedly and explicitly saved the files on what was apparently just masquerading as my own hard drive.

I am relieved that I have any access to these documents, but these were my documents on my computer: I do not consider it acceptable for Microsoft to effectively steal my documents in order to inveigle me into using their on-line storage service.

Consequently I will no longer be using Windows. So far, I am not missing it.








%d bloggers like this: