It’s Only a Matter of Time

Oh, the dreaded laptop failure!computer failure

To be more precise, a Microsoft Windows 8 corruption recently stopped me dead in my tracks. Well, we all know it is not “if” but “when” a hardware failure or software corruption will ruin your day (or your week).

My laptop began life circa “the next best thing–Vista!” Since then, the operating system has been upgraded to Microsoft Windows 7 and then to Windows 8 over a year ago. The hardware has been flawless throughout the years.

Mid last week while applying normal Microsoft Windows maintenance updates, stuff just stopped working correctly. At first, I thought it was a virus–but no, every scan had negative results.

Working with the Microsoft-supplied tools with Windows 8, my technical staff and I attempted to salvage the situation.

  • Restore to prior successful start: Hmm, that didn’t work. Windows 8 still complained about missing critical files.
  • Repair Windows 8: No, apparently the corruption was beyond this utility’s ability to fix.
  • Command level repair and restore health: The process completed successfully…but didn’t fix the problem.

In a final level of desperation, I had to select between the Windows 8 option to “Refresh” or to “Replace.” Refresh implies keeping all your personal files, but does not make clear the need to reinstall all your software.

Rebuilding a system is a royal PIA. After hours looking for the original media, downloading and searching for activation keys, more hours of loading software, and more hours configuring almost everything, I’m almost back!

And something good came out of this. On recommendation from my technical staff, after the rebuild was complete, I switched the traditional hard drive for a Solid State Drive. The replacement drive I selected was the Samsung SSD 840EVO 250GB. Wow! What a performance difference! Cold boot of Windows 8 using the old HD allowed enough time to get a cup of coffee;  now startup is almost instantaneous (5-10 seconds tops).

This whole experience prompts me to give two pieces of advice:

  1. It is never good to be in a reactive mode when dealing with failures. If you haven’t taken a recent inventory of all the stuff on your computer, do it now and know where the original media, keys, and configuration details are.
  2. Since it is only a matter of time before individual computers fail, do not have all your work-related data there. For example, during my laptop failure, I needed to give demos of our Spitfire Project Management System to prospects. Thankfully, our own demo site for the software is in the cloud, so I was able to borrow a laptop and demo the system live without a problem.

If your work involves project management and thus hundreds or thousands of project files (as I know it does), then it is wise to use a system that centralizes those files so work can continue when someone’s computer goes on the fritz.

Remember it is not “if” but “when.”

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