Today’s planned posting has been interrupted by the Emergency Alert System message

BACK UP YOUR FILES!!!!!!!

I’ve been an avid harbinger of doom on the data back up message… and yet…I did not to it myself. <Head hangs in shame.> AND yes, I had a hard drive fail. On my brand new laptop. The i7, Windows 8 one I bought to back up the failing desktop that’s still running on Vista.

It’s fast. I backed up everything from the old system, and from my old netbook. I downloaded a software program and started sorting photos, because my main goal was to get rid of what are probably thousands of duplicate photos that have propagated through saving backups of flash drives to various locations. In some cases, I had 23 copies of the same photo. I knew I could probably cut the backup space (and time) I needed in half if I culled out these dups first.

I backed up my writing files to Dropbox on July 31, but last weekend, in addition to doing some photo work, I also formatted two manuscripts I was working on into a new Scrivener format—and reordered some scenes, because it was now so much easier. And over the past week, I’ve wrote a couple of new scenes in the main story I’m focusing on. And edited a few things here and there in a handful of files. And saved some recipes to the new, somewhat organized Recipes file. One night, I even went to move one of the new files to Dropbox, but had already shut things down when I thought of it, so told myself not to be paranoid, and do it the next day. And thought about putting it on a flashdrive, just to be a real paranoid, but then realized all the easy-to-access ports had the wireless USBs in them and the hub was elsewhere, so again…I’d do it next time.

Always listen to that little paranoid voice. It knows. Friday night, I’m sitting in my chair, getting ready to write a blog post, and the laptop freezes. Even CNTL/ALT/DEL doesn’t do anything. I finally hit the powerbutton, and reboot.

                        NO BOOTABLE DEVICE. PRESS ANY KEY.

 Yeah, that sound you heard was probably me.

I tried my standard fixes…rebooting (again and again…), taking the battery out for 15 minutes, etc. Went online and researched the term. Discovered it’s not that unusual an error message. *snarl* And it’s either a fairly easy fix—often just the hard drive needs reseating…or it’s a critical hard drive failure and your data is gone forever. “They” say that if BIOS (kind of a sub-operating program that still works on the machine) recognizes the hard drive still exists, there’s a good chance “professionals” can recover the data. Got online Saturday morning with the Acer helpdesk chat line, and they walked me through a number of tech-fix options. None of which worked. Again, they said there were “good signs”, however… So, I get to mail back my 28-day-old laptop so they can fix the ‘unspecified hardware problem.’

So, now I have to make an appointment with the Geek Squad to see if they can actually access my data and save my writing files and photos. That’s tomorrow. Another 18 hours of panicked stewing. Then, mail back my laptop for the repair. That has a 10-15 day timeframe for return. I’m annoyed.

And yes, the first thing I’m doing on the new system is signing up for automatic backup. *SIGH*

The worst part of the entire episode is those dreaded words: I should have known better.

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