I’ll admit it, the last time I did a backup of my computer was February. Six Months ago. All excuses aside, it’s way too long.
Last night I was sitting in the big green chair. Watching Oliver Douglas try to get Arnold Ziffel the Pig out from under the floor in the bedroom of the old Haney Place on Green Acres, I realized I reached the dreaded “Logical Breakpoint”.
I was going to do a full shut down of the PC that I use for my “Daily Driver”. This is the little laptop that I’ve had for about 2 years. I bring it everywhere that it’s appropriate and I’ll need proper computing power. I use it for web development, graphics design, all my consulting, as well as a significant amount of entertainment. I’ve got others, but this one and I “bonded” and it’s the one I start first and use all day. I have programs that run from when it starts to do chat on AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger, and MSN Messenger, Skype and others so that I can be found if any of my clients and friends need me.
It’s pretty important.
So I don’t shut it down often. I usually hibernate the machine because to shut down all those networks, graphics design programs, video editors, and the rest of the layers of software just take too long to get back to where they were before I shut it down in the first place.
I don’t like that little gold shield that sits next to the shut down button because it will sit there nagging me until I do what it wants.
Last night I did what it wants.
It took about an hour of reboots to recover.
The machine went and installed 10 Windows Updates, then powered off.
I pressed the little silver power slider to get it to come back on. It finished the updates, then rebooted itself.
Ok first things first, that’s a major problem with Windows 7. When you start a machine, it does not tell you what it is doing. Sure, Microsoft wants you to believe that it is a sealed unit, just like a Mac, but it isn’t. Something can go wrong. In the land of FPL where power pops can destroy your washing machine, a laptop is an easy target.
It went to restart itself and asked if I wanted to try the recovery console. Sure, lets try it.
Nope, it got part way into it and restarted itself.
Helpfully, from across the room I hear “Try powering it off completely and powering it up from a dead stop”.
Tried that, got further into the recovery console but that didn’t look comforting. When you see that first power on screen again after almost two years, you know you’re in a weird place with your computer.
I closed that, and tried the shut down again.
It attempted to reboot the system again to the windows startup menu.
This time I got what a little child once called The Dark Place. Wonderful description about when you get a black screen with white typing all over it trying to tell you what to do.
We selected “Boot From Last Known Good Startup” (or something phrased remotely like that) and it got me back to my familiar desktop. I was staring at M.E. DePalma Park in bloom. We all breathed easier.
Grabbing the external backup drive, I plugged it in.
After some hunting for the “Backup and Restore” software, it was started and I told it to do a full backup of my C Drive.
In Windows 7, Backup and Restore is in the Control Panel. Start, then Control Panel, then Backup and Restore. Don’t listen to Mr Expert. He’s wrong when he tells you that nothing like that is in Control Panel.
Anyway… when I woke up this morning the backup was at 75% complete. That was after 10 hours.
So today has been “Triage Day”. I’m familiar with the word Triage from the series MASH. Basically the concept says you categorize your efforts into three levels:
- Dead – What you don’t need.
- Repairable – What you need but if you lost it it wouldn’t be terrible.
- Alive – Absolutely Must Be Kept Safe!
I’m doing that now. Getting the data into categories. Copy your “My Documents” library onto some removable media. Get the videos or music onto the chip that goes into the tablet or mp3 player. Get your downloads out of the C:\Downloads or the C:\User\Bill\Download tree.
Then do a Chkdsk. Remember those? To do it right, your system must be in “Single User Mode”. That means nobody can do anything to the PC. So basically you schedule that disk check for when you turn it off and back on again. To get to the program you have to do the following:
- Right Click on the “Command Prompt” icon and select “Run as Administrator
- type in “chkdsk C: /r” and hit enter
- respond “Y” to the question “would you like to schedule a chkdsk next time you start your computer?”
You will need to actually shut down the PC and then turn it back on. That is where I am at. When the machine comes back on, I’ll do the backup, really I will. But that means I have to get back to the logical breakpoint.
As for Arnold Ziffel, he got out from under the Douglas’ floor before Oliver got squirted by the Hooterville Fire Department’s hose.
The PC will take a little bit more time than that escapist comedy on TV last night. I have 27GB of data from a client that still has to be copied off onto a removeable hard drive before I chance that chkdsk that will take more than an hour.