I’ve had computer nightmares before…lost data, viruses, failed parts, etc. As a result, I’ve tried to be very careful about making sure I was protected. I’ve got a secure router, the best virus protection, an external hard drive on which I back up my files regularly, surge protectors on everything.
This past Sunday, I was painting at the computer at 6:00AM when the power went off and on, 3 times in rapid succession, likely due to the wind and rain outside. It stayed off for about an hour. Big deal, I have SURGE PROTECTORS. So I went and had breakfast.
When the power did come on, I found out that surge protectors aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I turned the computer on, and it took longer than it should have to come to life. I began to sweat when I saw a big red word listed beside one of my hard drives that read ERROR, and another one in yellow that said DEGRADED. These are not good words. These are words spoken in whispers in dark alleys.
But once it powered up, the computer appeared to be working fine, and then I realized what had happened. Thankfully, I have mirrored hard drives. For the uninitiated, this basically means I have two hard drives, each a complete copy of the other. When I save any file or do anything to the computer, it saves to the second hard drive as well, and if one drive fails, the other takes over, and your computer runs as it should. So it saved me…as it was supposed to. But once you’ve had this protection, being robbed of it feels like driving around in a strange city during rush hour with no car insurance.
I could still use the computer, but if I got another power surge (which is all too common in Canmore), I could lose the other drive as well. True, my data is all backed up on an external hard drive, but it would take at least a week to reinstall Windows, all of my software and data, and to restore all of my settings. I can probably come up with 1000 things I would rather be doing than that.
Today, all is well. A new drive has been installed, and the mirror is currently rebuilding itself. In addition, I bought a second faster external hard drive on which I’m currently backing up everything. I also bought a battery backup (currently charging) that my computer and monitor will be plugged into. If a surge happens again, the battery will take over immediately and it will give me an hour to save any files, and shut down the computer safely.
Big thanks to Ken Anderson at TMS for building me a great computer in the first place, and then making sure I was back to being fixed up in a couple of days.
It all comes down to being prepared, and realizing that this stuff can happen to anybody. They’re just little machines and parts and lines of code, but imagine what it would feel like to lose everything in your computer and to possibly be without one for a week. It’s especially frightening if you make your living on it.
Now, If my computer isn’t protected enough at this point, the only thing I can think of is to wrap it all in a big condom.