Oh, My, What a Nightmare!

My computer began acting up and I decided to go to one of the online companies who worked on computers because I thought if I took it in to someone around here it might be days before I ever got it back. Ha ha!

I chose one that sounded good, and I knew it was in India. Ever see the movie "Outsourced"? Well the whole experience reminded me of that movie.

My basic problem, I thought, was that I couldn't get into Word or my Outlook Express for my email. I had so much I had to do, the problem needed to be resolved. I explained my problem to the first tech--and the next one--and the next one--and so on.

Eventually I learned that Word was corrupted. So, I suggested that I buy a new copy of Word. Good idea. Went on line to Microsoft and purchased Microsoft Office. When I tried to download it, it wouldn't--almost an 8 hour procedure. I went directly to Microsoft, told them my problem, and they said they'd download it. Which they tried. Wouldn't work--the said my Windows was corrupt.

Passed the word to the gurus in Indian--or I should say tech, one after another. (I never got the same one twice, so they kept asking me the same things over and over.) Sometimes I was on the phone with them, mostly they were connected to my computer and we were connected by chat and they wanted me to stay there so I could answer questions. This went on and on and on. One time, after I was in bed and sleeping peacefully, they woke me at 3 a.m. to ask me to go sit in front of the computer.

A couple of times I screamed at one of the techs--and I also cried. (I hardly ever cry, but I was so frustrated and upset and worn out.)

Finally, they came up with a solution,which they said was to start all over with Windows if I had my disk. I did, of course. They warned me repeatedly (one tech after another) that I would lose all my files. (Of course earlier, they'd told me all my files were safe.) By this time I'd been connected to this techs for three days while they tried one thing after another--some many times.

I thought I was safe because my files were backed up off line twice a day about a service called Mozy.
I told them to do what they had to do, clear the deck and reload Windows. I went to bed on the third night and to sleep. I woke up with a horrible thought--Mozy probably copied my computer when the files were all deleted. Oh no! What was I going to do.

In the morning, I could see that I had a new Word and Outlook Express and all my other programs seemed to be there, but not a file in anything.

With a prayer in my heart, I went to the Mozy website. I found a place where people had asked questions and gotten answers. One questions was, "How do I restore files that have been deleted?" Woo hoo, here was the answer. I copied down the directions, followed them to the tee. Found my deleted files and downloaded them. Just like magic, they went right to the programs they belonged in.

Oh yes, prayers work for everything, even making sure I got all my files back. The nightmare was over.

I'm exhausted and I have a backlog of work to catch up on. But I didn't lose any of my writing or other important work.

Let this be a lesson to all of you, back-up your files away from your computer one way or another. I love Mozy, but there's also Carbonite and I'm sure other things. If I hadn't had that service I'd have lost so much, including the two books I'm working on right now.

The nightmare is over, now back to work.


Patricia Gligor said…
Oh, Marilyn, what a nightmare! I can definitely relate. A few years ago, I was having major computer problems so I called HP, in India, of course! I talked with several techs too and eventually ended up with a woman who told me "Go get a screwdriver." When I asked her why, she replied, "We're going to take our your hard drive." I politely declined and hung up the phone. I ended up calling a friend who came over and took care of the problem. What an experience!
Cassie Exline said…
If there was an award for having a writer's worst nightmare -- you'd win! The thought of losing all our hard work makes me cringe and tremble with fear. So pleased you survived and your work. I save everything on flash drives, but will be checking out Mozy.
Cassie Exline said…
Wow Patricia, "take out the hard drive!" I would have freaked, hung up and disconnected the phone.
Sunny Frazier said…
I have an extended hard drive and I've learned to download my most consistently used files every couple of weeks. It didn't cost me very much (Staples), is about the size of a cell phone and holds all the manuscripts that come in for acquisitions. I also have Comcast backup. And the most terrific local guy who can fix any computer for very little money. Better safe than sorry (or having to deal with India!).
Gloria Getman said…
I feel your pain. I have an external 2nd hard drive that I back to once a month. But best of all, I have a resident computer guru, my son, Richard. He spent 2 years in college to learn all about computer and it pays off.
M.M. Gornell said…
Sooo glad you didn't lose your files. I have an external hard drive backup. Should do it more often I think... Thanks for sharing--it's an experience we can all share from! Wow.

Anne R. Allen said…
A nightmare indeed. I'm so glad it ended OK. It's a warning to us all: back up every night and never assume your computer will work in the morning.
Morgan Mandel said…
All's well that ends well

I have a Dell Datasafe program for my desktop computer which saves all the Documents and I use Flickr for my photos. Flickr is really fast. I also keep all the photos on my old and new iPhone, plus have all the cards from the camera, but it would be hard to get it all back where it should be.

Still, whenever I'm working on a new book, after saving it, I send it to my other email address for safekeeping.

I did have a computer scare with my laptop computer which I'm using on vacation and doesn't have that backup system. It was shutting off when the power plug was removed. I quickly began sending files to myself through email, which takes forever when you're on Edge 3 bars here in the NorthWoods.

Then I checked the battery and discovered it was loose. Now it works fine, but I still have some files backed up which is a good thing anyway!

Morgan Mandel
Anonymous said…
Marilyn, online help is basically worthless. Pay a technician to drive up to the foothills and fix things for you. I keep forgetting you live in the boonies! But even here in beautiful downtown Yukon, OK I can get a tech out for $60 an hour. Cheaper than a nervous breakdown. Check your Tulare phone book to see what you can do next time. Or Visalia. Sheesh, I need to look at a map! lol
Pat Browning
Cindy Sample said…
Marilyn, that story is scarier than the mysteries you write. Why do I think you now have a longer list of people you need to take care of on paper! Thanks for sharing so we won't ever have to go through this painful experience. Have a happy Mother's Day.
Anonymous said…
I too feel your pain! The same kind of experience with a tech in India who didn't speak the kind of English I speak!!! Thelma Straw in Manhattan
Everyone, If I'd had to pay for what was done for my computer by the hour, I'd have to put a 2nd on my house. They really did a tremendous job--and were in my computer, I could watch what hey were doing. Frankly, except for the repeat chores, they did get to the core of the problem and fix it.

But a warning, just backing up your Word files is not enough, you need to backing up any financial stuff and your emails. Because if you lose everything, that's all gone too. Fortunately, my off-line back up service was programmed to back-up the whole thing.

And, for those of you who use thumb drives, they get corrupted too.

Believe me, I prayed and cried and sometime screamed through this whole process.

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