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by Linda Jenkinson

Some health issues over the last year slowed me down, but some recent good news from my health provider lit a fire under me. It seems I’m recovering. I immersed myself in working on my work-in-progress and was to the moon in productivity and progress. The pieces of my story started fitting together. Then, in less than a week, I received an email that there was a system upgrade available for my computer.

I love my computer and my operating system. I’ve done dozens of upgrades over the years. You go to the site, hit “update” and then sit back and relax. It should have been simple, but this time close to the end, an alert asked if I wanted to save or delete a virtual ream of “obsolete” files. I trusted the machine to know what it was doing, so I pushed the delete option. 

May I pretend that you are sitting on the edge of your chair, wondering what happened next?

My computer stopped, time stopped, and without so much as a red, green, or blue scream of death, my computer faded to black. Fini!

I wasn’t worried. I had backed up my files and folders to a thumb drive. Little did I know that my backup program had also been updated, and now my backup was locked with no key in sight. Plus, there was a new price for the new key. Sweet! 

I bit the bullet and paid the price, but I didn’t receive a response from the programmer. He’s off the grid, gone but not forgotten, just like all the data on my computer. I dunno. I may hear from him sooner or later, but this was an emergency. My computer was on life support. 

I plugged on... researching for solutions from one corner of the Internet to the other and re-analyzing my poor thumb-drive three… four… several times. Stuck in an Einstein moment, I did the same thing over and over again, expecting a miracle. 

Guess what? I got that miracle! Yes I did. I found a “projects file” on the thumb drive that I had ignored before and it wasn’t part of the locked up backup! Woohoo!  So I figured, even if I couldn’t get into the backup, I wouldn’t lose all my work, although I was aware that I would lose 20 years’ worth of poetry, pictures of loved ones, and my  large image library, but just to have salvaged at least some of my WIP, I felt blessed.. So I resolutely moved the poetry directory to a safe place and began to revamp my near-death computer.

Guess what happened next. ? Yes, I did lose those files. Somehow between finding those files and trying to move them, they disappeared from the spot where I had dropped them, and the drive became corrupted. Well, not the whole drive, just that folder. Now you see them, now you don’t. Black magic!

Here I come Eldercare… or maybe I need a nice visit to a Sanitarium!

Back to square one. In the red, out of pocket, and without two words to rub together, I decided to do a fresh install on my computer. I had nothing more to lose. I started it and went to bed trying to find a bright side and hoping that I had enough of my WIP in my head to do a do-over. 

You know how, when you’re in bed, you get the brightest ideas? I wondered if I had looked close enough. As I languished in my self-pity and despair, did my home directory (on the USB) have a sub-directory that I might have missed searching? Ah, Einstein! I was exhausted and figured if I did find one, I’d muck that up, too. So I slept on it. 

In the morning, I found something even better. An sh file, which is a file that can be run as a launcher. And it wasn’t locked! It said “restore all.” More welcome words were never written! Although my backup was on the cusp of retirement, it worked and I retrieved almost everything with the rest of my wits about me.

Flash drives, thumb drives, USBs — I love them!. They are reasonably cheap, and I can fit my whole home directory on one 32 gigabyte disk. Wow!

I have restored everything now, but I still need to move and secure some things. It may take a day or two longer, so I’m not procrastinating... I could stand a little triage. My computer has recovered. I’m still recovering!