Nothing Stops Progress

I have (had) a lovely laptop running Windows XP that I used for coding windows programs and writing my novels, and everything else related to computing.

That is, until last Wednesday.

The laptop stopped working. No need to panic. All I had to do was reinstall the operating system and everything would be Ok again. The computer did not recognise the USB ports, or the CD drive. The hard drive would not boot the operating system. I could not install XP again.

Panic set in!

I realised I had lost 30K words of my latest story.

I realised I had lost my database of royalty sales for the past 5 years along with the program.

I did what my mother used to do when she had a problem. I rested on the bed and thought through the problem for the best solution.

I remembered backing up the hard drive to the external hard drive in March, so I should have only lost April’s work.

Not so bad.

I thought of my old server, and went back into the office. I started the old server running Windows NT. It still worked. I plugged in the external hard drive. Nothing happened. Windows NT did not recognise the USB ports.

Back to the bed and thinking. I have Windows 2000 Server and Workstation software (legal copies) so I could upgrade the old server, which would allow me to use the USB ports. All I would be missing would be the April and early May work. But it might not run all the software programs I used.

Off the bed and to the phone. I rang the local IT store and queried fixing the laptop. The cost to repair the laptop would be more than purchasing a new laptop. I remembered I am living in a throw-away world.

So, I priced new laptops. Yes, all cheaper than repairing the old laptop. But there is a catch. The new laptops are X64 and would not run Windows XP. I would have to use Windows 8. Oh, and Windows 8 will not run the old programs I owned, which includes my Royalty program to automatically extract the sales from the different distributor excel worksheets and store the data in the database.

I purchased the new laptop and tried to learn Windows 8 operating system. What a load of #$@%.

First, I located some double-sided tape and covered the camera. Then went searching for the camera controls so I could disable them. Found it and disabled it. The tape remains over the camera. 🙂

Why is progress defined by add-ons (that are not required by most people) that slow down the system noticeably on a new operating system that is supposed to run faster then the older hardware and software on “you beaut state-of-the-art” hardware but in fact does not run faster? It runs noticeably slower.

Ah, progress!

Then my broadband company sent me an email advising I had used 3GB of the monthly allowance in 2 days. All this activity was from the Win 8 programs talking to whatever servers over the internet plus me downloading Scribus and xMind and LibreOffice again.

On the third day, I deleted all (hopefully!) links to web sites for games, and other useless programs. I “pinned” the desktop window to the bottom bar and set the laptop to open to the desktop window. I finally had a semblance of order in the chaos of Windows 8.

I put some old game programs on the laptop, but not one of the DOS games worked. Solitaire and Sudoku, both 32bit games, did not work.

Clickomania worked once I located the serial number to unlock the program.

However, games programmed inside Excel 2000 and 2003 worked. Yeah, for Excel.

The internet worked fine. I installed Google Chrome and went serching. I found coding sites advising how to program Sudoku so printed out instructions and will look at it later. In the meantime I found a Just Sudoku Professional program and am now getting my daily Sudoku fix again. Thankfully!

I quickly rewrote NineTiles in Visual Studio Express 2013 (had to download it) and that works. So I have four games I can waste time on until I write some more.

Movie Magic Screenwriter dies on opening. Goodbye Movie Magic Screenwriter! Or, I could install on the old NT server before or after I upgrade it to MS2000. It should work there.

xMind works! LibreOffice works! Scribus works! Thank you everyone who wrote the Linux programs.

MS Office 2003 works!

So far, Dramatica works.

Calibre works, but advised it has an upgrade. Will see if I need it later. More important to locate all my converted books and check they still work first.

I still need to locate Scrivener on the external hard drive and install again and pray that it works.

And importantly, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 still works.

As a backup, I need to locate GIMP on the external hard drive and install again. And then test my Wacom. It should work.

But, I am now almost back in business on the new laptop.

I then heard about a case to insert old hard drives that can plug into a USB port (actually need 2 USB ports) that might help locate and copy missing data from the old hard drive to the new hard drive. I purchased one and it works.

I now have the 30K words of the latest story back. I should have all my converted stories ready to reinstall in Calibre.

I should be able to locate all my purchased and free ebooks ready to add to the new laptop hard drive.

I located my Royalties database and program. The database works. The program doesn’t. I need to rewrite it in VSE 13 or inside Excel and save as a template so I can add it to any worksheets as a macro. Still thinking about which way to go with that.

Next I need to write a notice in BIG font and place it above the light switch in the office. The words will be simple. “Back Up Now!”

Then I can think of writing my speech program that reads my stories back to me during editing. I am sure I will add more to the list as I get back into the routine of writing.

Hopefully, this episode will remind me to backup everything every day, but I am thankful I found the 30K story and other useful stuff on the old hard drive.

To celebrate getting most programs and data back, I purchased some material and sewed a new winter coat. Next, I will make a new pair of jeans.

Now back to writing and learning more about writing series with Holly Lisle.

Hope your past month has been event free and relaxing without any horror stories on lost data.

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4 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    Oh, no! What a nightmare. Backing up has become so automatic for me after losing data a couple times over the years. I’m glad you mostly have everything back. Good that you have the skills to do all that coding!

    I absolutely hate Windows 8. My daughter’s computer we bought last summer has it. I was lost trying to figure that thing out. I’m holding onto mine with Vista as long as it’ll last.

    • D J Mills on

      Yes, hold onto Vista, or XP or any other older version of Windows. The latest is not very intuitive, and most of the controls are hidden from the user.

      Thankfully, I used to be a Network Administrator back when 95, 98, NT, 2000, and XP were all that was available, along with Linux, and OS/2, etc. and knew where to look for most of the controls. I am sure I missed some others, but will eventually find them. I am mostly upset that all the older programs I bought will no longer work. Looks like I will eventually move to Ubuntu which runs LibreOffice, XMind, Scribus, etc. But, it means I have to learn another programming language if I want to write more applications.

      It all takes time away from the writing. 🙂

  2. Lisa on

    I’m so sorry to hear XP crashed and blipped out of existence on the laptop. But it’s great that you were able to recover the majority of what you thought you’d lost.

    Do you backup to Dropbox or Box or something like that? I know Scrivener can backup to Dropbox if you set it up that way.

    It’s a nuisance when the technology we use goes on the blink. I hope you’ve been productive, anyway, in the interim. 🙂

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks. 🙂
      I normally back up to an external hard drive, and once each book is published I cut all the files for that book to a CD.
      However, I was a little slow (my fault) in the monthly backup to the hard drive so panicked over the month’s lost work, but thankfully, got it all back.


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