The week started off with a bang this morning when I went into my office only to discover the frozen remains of my screen saver on the computer’s screen.
Apart from that slight sign of life, nothing was happening and that state of affairs carried on even after I applied the usual treatment of switching off, unplugging the machine completely, and turning it back on.
The machine booted up, a bit, and then ground to halt, with one of those indefinite error screens. You know the ones which test your cardio-vascular integrity by telling you there is a problem (duh!!), but not offering much of a clue what that might be.
I’d had a relationship with that particular copy of Windows XP for five years or more and now, even after a caring and sharing hardware upgrade, the old cow was playing me false. To say I was aggrieved, is putting the situation mildly.
It was clearly a case for my fixer, ‘Guru’ Willcox, since I have long-since lost any enthusiasm I ever had for delving about under a computer’s bonnet. The machine was handed into his tender care and then, sitting there, going into podcast withdrawal, and with more time than usual to think, I realised what was behind the whole XP tantrum.
And, as is usual with these things, it was my own fault!
A parcel had arrived a couple of days previously from Microsoft’s public relations firm and, among the bits and pieces, was a fresh new copy of Windows 7 for review. The envelope was left next to the computer in my office which, if you think about it, was a tiny bit of a mistake.
It was about as bad as being spotted by the wife while out and about with the younger mistress, and going back into the family home, not realising the wife knows she’s up for replacement. Things may not go bad for you immediately, but notes have been taken and moves, that you might not quite like, have been planned.
It’s like telling the worker running the Brighton Rock machine, that he’s history at the end of the month. It’s nobody’s fault but your own, when you get a million miles of rock with rude words running through it.
So there I was, with a sulky operating system , my data inaccessible, and a looming deadline for this week’s column. The flaw in my backup strategy immediately showed itself when, although I do have access to a computer, my day-to-day data was away at Guru’s place.
There are copies of all the vital data, such as bookmarks, pictures and column notes, on each of two hard drives in the machine. Which is better than having it on one, but still no good if you haven’t got access to the machine in the first place.
For someone whose living depends on typing things and sending them to people, I really do need a backup computer system, preferably portable, with a stonking external hard drive that I can use to back up files from both machines.
The excuse I’ve been needing!