Never been so glad for a weekend to end!

This weekend turned into the weekend from hell. I have never been so glad to say goodbye to a weekend.

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’d come home from grocery shopping to have my computer tell me it detected a “hard drive problem.” (The laundry did get done, btw!) I spent the afternoon trying to back things up. When I went to bed Friday night, it was still working, and I was still backing up photos, so I left it on over night, expecting that when I awoke on Saturday morning, it would be done backing up and I could move on to trying to figure out what exactly had gone wrong.

I was half right.

It was done backing up, although not because it actually finished. As it turned out, during the night, the hard drive gave up its last gasps and died. I didn’t know this just yet, though. What I knew was that my back up failed to back up 49 photos, and nothing was working. As it turned out, when I thought my back up wasn’t working, it actually was, so I lost nothing at all.

So I began trying to figure out what was wrong. I tried repair disks, recovery disks, even restoring the system image. When the repair and recovery disks failed, but the system image restoration worked, I was thrilled. It went through the restoration, told me it was successful and to restart my computer. I did…well, I tried to, anyway. That was when I discovered that it was, in fact, my hard drive. It was done. Fried, completely unusable.

Money is a bit tight at the moment, so things looked pretty dire right then. I had no back up computers that I could use. Fixing this one seemed as though it would cost more than I could afford at the moment. Buying a new laptop was more than I could spend, and frankly, I like the one I have and didn’t really want to give it up if I didn’t have to.

My parents were a huge help, swinging by the flea market and finding a guy there who repairs them cheap. This seemed like an excellent deal at the time. $120 to replace my hard drive, and if it turned out that the laptop was unfixable, he’d buy it from me.

It was fixable (a fact which I knew). He said he could have it done by four that afternoon, so I returned home to swim and relax while I trusted him to get my computer back in working order.

That was my mistake. My second mistake was selling him two old laptops I had that no longer worked properly. He told me they were worth approximately the same as the cost of my repair and suggested we just do an even swap. Great! Or so I thought.

As it turned out, he replaced my 500GB hard drive with a 160GB hard drive. Understand that my files (photos, documents, etc.) are about 95.5GB alone – that’s not counting space for the operating system, and the various programs I use and would need to reinstall. No way would 160GB be doable for long. But, since I had a working computer, I figured I could deal for the time being, and eventually, I’d find a 500GB hard drive, swap them out, go through the process of getting everything situated again, and life would be good.

Except that it didn’t quite work out that way. You see, I have an Acer laptop, and when he reinstalled Windows, he used a disk from an HP. If you’ve never had to install Windows, you may not know that trying to install one manufacturer’s version of Windows on another manufacturer’s computer does not work. The product key found on your computer will not validate if the disk you used belongs to another manufacturer, assuming you can get it to actually install. I knew this, but I also knew that since it was a new hard drive, installing it probably wasn’t a problem. I assumed he’d activated it, as well.

I was wrong. And he didn’t give me a product key. Though I knew it wouldn’t work, I tried to activate using my product key. Yeah, that didn’t work. Three times, that didn’t work.

Windows 7 (which is what I have) will continue to work, even without activation. However, it reduces functionality to the point that it is basically useless. So just letting it go wasn’t an option.

Yesterday, my parents, once again helping me out, said they’d pick me up a copy of Windows 7 at Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart didn’t have it. They tried Staples, Office Depot – but all were no-go.

Then they spoke to a tech at Office Depot. During the course of the discussion, what came to light was that this “repairman” was doing some very fishy stuff. This wasn’t just a matter of him not knowing exactly what he was doing and making some serious errors. This was some deliberate tampering to ensure that I would have to come back and get more work done. there was even concern that perhaps I needed to worry about any personal information that was on my old hard drive and my system image disks…which, of course, since the hard drive died with no chance of doing anything, there was considerable personal information.

The tech told my father that even if they could find a copy of Windows 7, or bought Windows 8 instead, chances were that no installation would work. The only option was to deal with the situation as is (which isn’t really an option at all) or to buy a new hard drive, swap them out, and start fresh. So my parents kindly purchased me a 1TB hard drive, and my father swapped it out for me.

Once I was finally able to restore my system image and get things running again, I immediately went to work changing all my critical passwords to ensure that no one gains unauthorized access to my bank account, email, etc.

Today, I’ve gotten the more vital programs I use (such as my writing software and photo editing software) reinstalled. I’ve got my back up system restoring my files to the new hard drive, and I’ve even managed to get some writing done.

This was a miserable weekend, and I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so glad that I have a truly working computer again, and that having a brand new hard drive installed means that I shouldn’t have any problems for at least a year or two, hopefully longer. Now I can comfortably get back to work on my writing without fear of losing an entire day or week’s worth of work.

How was your weekend?