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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It Took Two Computer Crashes in Two Months, but Lessons Learned

Most of you already know about this, but for those who just happen across this post, this is my recent history. And let me start by admitting that I know almost nothing about computers. I am the antithesis of a geek, a technophobe even.

My computer of 7 years crashed right before Christmas. The hard drive failed and none of the files could be saved. I lost tons of photos, some genealogy stuff, budget spreadsheets, and who knows what all. The computer repair place I use told me if it had been a solid state hard drive they would have been able to get my files off, but most computers have a hard drive with moving parts and when it goes, everything in it is toast.

I bought a cheap Toshiba from Best Buy and had trouble with it from the get go. It had Windows 8 and every time I took the computer back to Best Buy, it would either work right or they would tell me it was a Windows 8 thing, and I did find plenty of complaints about the same thing and all blamed Windows 8. So last week, I turned the thing on, and a screen came up saying it couldn't find the drive. I took it in and they said the hard drive had failed. 2 months to the day that I bought it. Luckily, I learned my lesson with the other one, and didn't put any files on it. I had saved a bunch to Favorites and saved some photos of things I want to make, but the loss was minimal. Best Buy said they would send my computer off and have a new hard drive installed but since I didn't have the hard drive backed up, I'd have to buy a new operating system for around $200, and I told them I'd rather not have that lemon at all. So they gave me a credit for what I paid, less $50 and I bought an Asus. I just got it going this weekend, so Monday was really my first day using it. So far so good, but it has Windows 8 too, and I'm not loving that. But try to find a computer at Best Buy without it.

I've spent the last 2 months dealing with computer issues, trying to rebuild files, and trying to blog regularly. I've also been trying to work on projects around the house. I've been sick twice, Hubby had the crud that lasted a week, and I still haven't taken my Christmas iphone out of the box. Maybe tomorrow.

We bought the computer from our local Best Buy but had to pick it up from a store in the city. Before picking it up, the Geek guy showed me how to create a recovery disk of the hard drive before downloading the security software and Microsoft Office. But when I got the computer home, and began following his directions (which I had written down), the Recovery app wasn't where he said it would be on the All Apps screen. I searched the net for directions to find it, and all I found were more questions on how to find it. I thought Windows 8 had been around long enough for there to be at least ten tutorials on eHow and youtube. But there was nothing. So I took the computer back to Best Buy and my favorite Geek, James, found it.

 If you found this blog while searching for the steps to create a Recovery disk on an Asus computer (mine is a Q500) with Windows 8, here it is.

From the Start Screen, right click anywhere on the background.

A popup will appear at the bottom. Click on All Apps in the corner.

Scroll to the right end.  (Scroll appears at bottom when you mouse over). Click on Control Panel.

Click on Recovery.

And there you are.  Click on Create a recovery drive, and follow the directions there.

Lessons I learned from all this:

1.) Back up your hard drive, even if you don't have anything on it. Then if your hard drive crashes, you only have to replace the hard drive and not the operating system, which is also a couple of hundred dollars. I backed up the new one on a 16G flash drive for $14. If I can remember where I put the flash drive when the time comes, I've got it made.

2.) Put your files twice on any of these, external hard drive, CD, flash drive. I've put floppy disks in the computer before and have them unreadable. Haven't had it happen to a flash drive, but I've heard of it. Buy a computer with a solid state hard drive if you can afford it, but it's much cheaper to buy an external hard drive and a few flash drives. Much cheaper.

3.) If you buy a new computer from Best Buy and have any problems at all, take it back within the first 30 days. Every month afterward, they deduct a percentage from the refund amount.

4.) Best Buy has a Geek plan for $199 per year, or $99 with the purchase of a new computer. With that, they will work on 3 computers, even if you didn't buy them there. They will remove viruses and malware, remove added junk that slows down the computer, and just about anything that isn't hardware related.

5.) If you happen to get the FBI Moneypak Ransomware Virus, take it to a reputable computer repair place, or Best Buy to get it removed. A friend of my mom's was on Facebook and a box popped up. He thought it was a message box from a friend so clicked on it, and it was that virus. They demanded $200 and shut down his computer. He wired them the money. Best Buy charges $150 to remove it, which is cheaper than the ransom plus it is removed, and the virus is probably still on that guy's computer. While we were buying my new laptop, someone came into Best Buy with a computer locked down by the Ransom Virus. If we happen to get it, we have the Geek plan so can get it removed for nothing extra.

6.) Again with the Ransom Virus and other malware. Don't click on anything you aren't 100% sure about. By the time you see the Ransom popup, the virus has already infiltrated your computer from some link you clicked on earlier. The links are usually in an email but some people say they never clicked on a link in an email. Even links on websites can be tampered with by the virus, putting a link in a post or on a website that the original writer did not intend to do and knows nothing about. Mouse over the link before clicking on it, and look at the bottom of your screen to check out the url first. You can't do that with tiny urls, which has always been a bugaboo of mine. And watch out for popups.

7.) The Geek at Best Buy said to use the browser Google Chrome as it gets fewer viruses (so far) than the others.

8.) If 2 computers die on you and everyone in the house gets sick in the same two months, check your karma.



  1. Yes, we all learn from the School of Hard Knocks. I hope your lessons are complete.

    I've backed up my computer files on an external hard drive for about three years. (I learned the lesson the hard way, too)

  2. Oh Marti, I'm so sorry for the computer issues you've experienced. I'm disappointed in Best Buy though. You bought the Toshiba there (with Windows 8) and it failed on you, almost from the get go. They knew this, because not only did you buy it from them, but you kept bringing it to them, yet they forced you to buy a new OS since you "didn't have it backed up." It sounds like they have found a VERY good customer in you. Unfortunately, I know it may be your only option if you want a working computer. My grandmother recently got an Asus laptop with Windows 8, and I've been helping her set it up. I have to say, I'm not at all impressed with this new operating system. However, there are ways to mimic the old operating systems, namely Windows 7 with the start button. It's taken a little while (we're doing it all remotely because she lives in CO and I live in MO) but we've pretty much gotten it all set up now so she can use it. The #1 thing I would recommend to you is to get a good antivirus program with website blocking. That would have prevented what happened to your friend's computer. I highly recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. It's free to download. The registered version ($24.95) includes a life-time license with updates, and will scan your system automatically every day, and also prevent you from visiting malicious websites. I've used it for several years now. Can you tell I'm a computer geek? I hope everything works out for you with your new computer. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and your sweet comment. :)


    1. Oh no, I must not have been clear. I didn't buy a new OS since I basically traded in the Toshiba for the Asus. If I had let them put in a new hard drive on the Toshiba, I would have had to buy the new OS though.

      With the new computer I got a six month subscription to Kaspersky. When it is up, I'll look into Malwarebytes though. I need all the help I can get.

      I'm finding several workarounds for Windows 8. The minute I turn on the computer, I hit the Windows key and the letter D and it takes me to a normal desktop screen. And I've disabled the mousepad so those annoying Windows 8 icons don't pop up as often. Everyone I talked to said using an external mouse would make it easier, and it does somewhat, but the Charms bar still pops up when I pull the pointer from right to left, even if it's in the middle of the screen.

      Some people love Windows 8. I'm just not one of them.

  3. You have read my problems with pop-ups. I have scanned, scanned, rescanned, used three virus programs and a malware program. All I use is Chrome. I think once something gets in - you can't get it out. After all I have done, I still have pop-ups!

    Good luck to you!

  4. Do you ever wonder if the guys writing the programs use what they've written? Hope you've got your computer problems under control for a while. I should back up my computer this weekend, it's been a while.


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