This ‘n That…………………..CRASH!

Computer users can be divided into two groups: those who have seen the Blue Screen of Death, and those who will. I’ve been in the first category since computers were invented. In the past, I’ve just rebooted the computer and gone on my way.

Before I continue, I need to back up to the last week in July. On my way to Ontario (California) Airport, I stopped in at a Best Buy store and made two significant purchases for my trip to Alaska. The first was a Sony DCR-SR47 digital camcorder. The second was a new laptop computer.

I had been planning the first for some time. The goal was to replace the bulky (spell heavy and cumbersome) tape machine whose battery life was typically 1/2 hour and traveled with a bag about 1 cubic foot for all the tapes and accessories.  I love it. Almost every photo in the blog about the trip to Kenai came from that camera. It fits in the palm of my hand, has an internal (i.e., no tapes) recording time of 45 hours, and a battery that lasts more than two hours. That camera is not the subject of this blog although it was involved.

The laptop was a semi-compulsive purchase. I bought it to replace the battery in my old(er) laptop. It was like this, either the battery in the old machine was kaput, or the internal charger was. In either case I had been frustrated for months by the inability of any technical folk to determine which. I didn’t want to shell out triple digit bucks for a new battery with the chance of finding out it was the charger and no one had the wherewithal to test the battery.

While I was waiting for the clerk to dig my camcorder out of the back stock room and collect the few accessories I had selected for it, I gravitated over to the laptop display counters. And there it was… the wide-screen laptop (HP Pavilion) with an 11-key number pad built into the keyboard, 250Gbyte RAM, wireless built in, and on sale. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit it into my already over-packed luggage for the flight, but I left the store with it.

In the days after my return from Alaska, I have decided that this machine is not only going to replace the old laptop, but will take the place of my Dell desktop as my primary computer. And there began the tribulation.

During the trip in Alaska — Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, and Kodiak Island — I had collected and downloaded about 2 gigabytes of video from my HandyCam, not to mention a bunch of  email traffic and various notes about the trip. Back home, I loaded the computer with a video processing package and Adobe CS-4… another 638 megabytes. That was the big stuff.

Then, after creating the two blogs previous to this and doing a bunch of other chores, I figured it was time to start migrating stuff from the old laptop. For that, I invested in a software kit called PC Mover. It consists of software and a special cable. I picked the package based on Internet reviews.

Two initial options are available: migrate just files or migrate files and software. I elected the latter. After all, the process is straight forward and the software is smart enough to  not move anything from the old computer that already resides in the new computer.

When the process started a screen popped up telling me the migration was going to take about six hours. Hmmm, the clock showed a few minutes past 10PM. No way was I going to stay up until four in the morning watching this happen. After  making sure I was beyond all the pop-up windows and the work was under way, I walked away to let it run.

The next morning, I cranked the system on and was presented with a “blue screen of death” and an error message saying the process was terminated prematurely when the computer shut down. Dang it! I had forgotten the laptops power control facility that was set to turn off the display after 20 minutes AND THE COMPUTER AFTER TWO HOURS!

As I had done countless times before, I clicked the appropriate option buttons to reboot in normal mode. That collected me another BSOD this time advising me that the operating system was corrupted and asking me if I wanted to revert back to the last automatic restore point. I tried rebooting again and got the same result. So okay, I elected to do the restore point.

CRUD! The next BSOD said, essentially, no dice. After trying to do all the automatic system restores successively, I was left with only one option: Reload Factory Configuration. CRUD!

With no alternative left, I did the factory thing. The result of that was to upload close to 500 megs of updates to Windows Vista, then install all the software I’d lost, then do all those updates. For some providential reason, I didn’t delete all the videos from the Handycam after I’d copied them over. I did lose all the stills I’d captured from the movies including all those I’d been collecting for the third installment of Alaska – Kodiak. But the videos were all intact for me to reload.

I discovered eventually a warning that cautions once the file transfer with PC Mover is started to NOT turn the computer off else… well, else you want to start from before scratch like I did. Oh yeah, I changed the power control settings temporarily to never turn off the computer automatically.

Love all,

       the VGOG   (V for very)