Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ms. Fix It

I was using my laptop when suddenly I got the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death."  One moment all was good, the next the computer had become a somewhat unattractive door stop.  I rebooted the machine and received a message that didn't tell me anything.

Turns out I have learned something useful about computers in the 10 years I've been doing CSA (Client Support Adminitrator) duties for the Guard.  I rebooted again and went into the BIOS.  There I saw that the hard drive was not a choice to boot from.  LAN and CD were still there, but the hard drive wasn't showing.

The previous day Pie had gotten caught in the computer cord and pulled it to the ground.  It didn't appear to be suffering any damage, but since it suddenly stopped working, I was hoping perhaps the hard drive had just loosened enough in the impact that over time the tentative connection was severed, and if I re-connected it, all would be good.

The only problem was my smallest screwdriver had been misplaced in my move, so I couldn't do anything that night.  The next day at work I headed over to the computer maintenance shop to borrow a screwdriver.  I opened the area with the hard drive and discovered there aren't even any screws holding the hard drive in place.  The technician said many manufacturers rely on the pressure of the case to keep in in place.

I took it out, put it back in, and turned the computer back on.  My technician friend glanced over and couldn't hide the surprise in his voice when he said, "Look at that, you fixed it!"  Yep, it booted up no problem!  Usually when your hard drive goes bad, it isn't as simple as re-setting the connection.  But most hard drives aren't taken out by Pie, either.

Then he asked me if I back up my files (yep, just bought an external hard drive) and how old the laptop is.  I think it is about 3 years old, and he commented that it has some miles on it and, "Remember, a laptop ages 20 years in one calendar year" and I might think about saving money for a new one.  Little does he know that I use stuff until it just doesn't work any more.  Besides, 60 isn't old. 

I'm happy my laptop is still working for now, and that I got to feel really handy by fixing it!

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