Thursday, February 24, 2011

Battling the Bugs

Angie Fox here, posting this for Shirley Damsgaard who is, er, having a few technical difficulties. Take it away Shirley...

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I do love my technology. I believe I’ve also mentioned that I’m not exactly the sharpest pencil in the box when it comes to understanding said technology, especially when it comes to computers.

And I’m okay with that...when I turn the sucker on and it does what I tell it to do, I’m good. I’ve never felt the need to know about gigabytes, USB ports, flash drives, processors, etc.—I’ve always figured that my brain is crowded enough without clogging the circuits in an effort to understand the inner workings of my computer. Usually this attitude works fairly well for me, but not so much this past week.
I bought a new desktop.
Normally this would be a good thing, but first let me tell you a little about my old desktop. It has everything I’ve ever written contained in its memory banks, all eight books, (it’s probably silly keeping these files since the books are in print, but I just can’t make myself delete them!! Not after all the work that went into creating them!) every short story, every blog, the notes for every workshop, and even notes on ideas for future manuscripts.
It also has pictures AND financial records, including the information that I MUST have to do this year’s taxes. I guess one could say most of my life is on that computer, and needless to say, I was a little nervous about HOW these files were going to be transferred. If I would have been a better consumer and taken the time to learn a little more about computers, specifically how to store files, I would’ve backed the most important files on a flash drive, but I didn’t.
Instead, I bought a service where the files are transferred via the phone and their service center. And it did work pretty make the call, hook the two computers together via a USB cable, then the service tech remotely transfers the files. The other thing the tech is supposed to do is remove any of the little buggies that, unbeknownst to you, might have attached themselves to your files.
Two things happened—1. My financial records have disappeared, and 2. Now there’s this lovely, little box that pops up continuously on the new computer telling me its infected with close to a hundred viruses and that I need to purchase their software in order to be protected. (Did I mention the box also has a sound effect? It screams whenever it appears on the screen. Kind of disconcerting when I’m trying to write, to say nothing of the way the noise makes me jump!)
The only way get rid of it is to click on the box, go to the website, then close out of the website. This happens about every 5 to 10 minutes and I can’t continue working on whatever it is I’m working on until I do. I did call the service center back, but they told me it wasn’t their fault and I have to purchase yet another service in order to get rid of it.
To prevent making a long story even longer, right now the store is working with me to retrieve the financial documents, and when I stop by today, they are going to call a supervisor at the service center about removing the annoying little box. We’ll see if the situation gets resolved.
Do I wish I would’ve done things differently? You bet! But I have a friend who says “it’s never a mistake as long as you learn from it.” So what did I learn? It does not pay to rush ahead, willy-nilly, which I must admit, I’m prone to do, without doing a bit research first. As a consumer, I should’ve shopped around, made myself more knowledgeable about files and file storage. I should’ve asked more questions, and next time, I can assure you, I will.
That’s it for this week—oh and btw, this blog was written on my laptop, not the new desktop. I didn’t think I could stand that screaming box this early in the morning.


Casey said...

My sympathies, Shirley! There is nothing more aggravating than computer problems.

Sharon S. said...

:( I don't think it is silly to keep all your old book files. They have some of the coolest flash drives now. Here are some shaped like books! You could get one for each book and then print the name of the book in each! Good luck with the computer.

unseelieme said...

Are your files still on your old computer? I only ask because what I would recommend doing is go out & buy a portable hard drive. You can get one with 500GB for $80-$100. The Seagate ones are the best, Western Digital is good, but I would avoid Toshiba. It might seem like a big expense, but its so worth it. You can easily transfer everything onto it, unplug it & plug it right into your new computer & copy over everything there.

And you can regularly just copy files onto it, so you always have a backup. Just plug it in, it gives you all the prompts.

My son (he's a 16 yr. old computer genius) made me buy one when my old laptop started going wonky. I was so glad I did. Otherwise, I would have lost everything. Instead, I have a new laptop that has all my settings & files with no problems.

As for dealing with the viruses, there's free software you can download called Malwarebytes. (Again, my son loaded it on my computer.) It's phenomenal. All the tech geeks use it.

If the files are gone off the old computer, there may still be a way to recover them.

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Thanks for the tips!! And yes, I now have a new portable hard drive, and from this point forward, all important files WILL BE backed up!!!

An update--the store manager is doing everything he can to make things right with me...the tech center not so much!! (They are insisting that it's my fault I have maleware on the new desktop.) The manager gave me another program that is supposed to clean files at no charge and a refund on the original transfer of files program since the tech center missed nabbing the financial file. He also steered me toward a local geek squad whose charges are considerably less than Best Buy's. And THEY have assured me that they can retrieve the files, which they are in the process of doing now. Hopefully, this is going to be a case of all's well that ends well!!!