My Next Crash Might Be Fatal
The blue screen of death visited me yesterday. Five times!
It was a reminder of how dependent I am on my computer as a lifestyle entrepreneur. I’m in business anywhere in the world, that is unless my computer crashes.
The only problem I’ve had with my computer is that the “t,” the “r,” and the “n” keys are no longer labeled. I’ve worn the labels off from excess use. But about three weeks ago it crashed. It was the first time I’d had a significant problem with my two-year-old computer. I’ve been creating a lot of content, especially things that have huge file sizes like podcasts audio, videos, an audiobook. So I thought that perhaps my hard drive was getting too full. I purged some things from my computer and moved some other files to another storage device. And I prayed.
That seemed to do the trick, for a couple of weeks. But then yesterday, it crashed and shut down and rebooted. The first time it did it I wasn’t too worried. When it had rebooted, I just started working again. But the second time I was vexed. Not only because I had crafted a lengthy email that I was just about to send when it crashed, but also because my business centers around my ability to write, access the internet, and do other things that require a computer. My very smart smartphone wouldn’t cut it. If my laptop died, I’d be hosed until I could get it fixed or buy a new one.
In the US I’d had a backup computer, but two years ago I sold it as I purged most of my belongings in preparation for my move to France. I hadn’t thought anything of it, until now.
After my computer crashed and rebooted the second time, I got on the internet looking for computers for sale. I was anxious. Would I be able to get the info I needed before the laptop died for good. I took a quick course in RAM and processors and other computer technology that I only think about when it’s time to invest in a new computer. And I assessed and documented what would be comparable to what I have. I couldn’t be without a computer. How silly for me not to consider my back up plan. Why do these things seem to happen when cash is flowing in one direction, out. These were the thoughts that swirled around in my mind.
But I couldn’t get caught up in money fears or in bashing myself. I needed to focus and prepare for the worst-case scenario. My computer is a lifeline for my livelihood. It’s not a luxury. I’d quickly copied down my computer specs and got some info on two computers before the blue screen appeared again.
Dammit! I thought. This isn’t going to be good.
It crashed two more times after that. I started to panic. But then I reminded myself to breathe and I told myself, Patricia, you’ve got options. Then I remembered what a technician had instructed me to do several years ago when an old computer I’d had was about to die. He told me to disconnect the battery, then after about twenty seconds reattach it and turn it on again. Maybe this would reset my computer and fix whatever was not working.
It was worth a try. So I prayed, and unlatched the lock to the battery casing and removed it. As I waited the interval before reattaching, I recognized how much I’ve taken my computer for granted. Every time I turned it on I expected it to start up without thinking otherwise. I was demanding of it too. I’d make it run a lot of internet windows at the same time while I worked on some other program to edit my podcast or video and I still expected it to be fast. In that moment, where I was scared to think about what I would do if this trick didn’t work, I was suddenly grateful for all it had done for me without question.
I took a deep breath in as I put the battery back on. Then I let it rest for another several seconds before turning it back on. It started to whir, and I considered my options if this did not work.
I’d need to either get it fixed and be without a computer for the duration or buy another laptop to replace it or buy another laptop as a backup while I got it fixed. Either way, it was going to cost me money I hadn’t planned on spending. As I was coming to terms with this, the computer home page came up.
I opened my email and started working. Two emails came through, and I rewrote and sent the email I’d started working on the second time the computer crashed. So far so good. Then I did some other things, holding my breath as I expected to get the heart-stopping, blue screen with the unfriendly error message.
Soon it was twenty minutes later, and my computer was still running. And it was faster than it had been in a long, long time. Then it was 60 minutes later and no crash. I was feeling more hopeful that removing the battery had fixed my issue (at least temporarily). Then two more hours had passed without a crash. Had that trick fixed the problem?
I could hope that was the case. But I wasn’t going to ignore what could have happened like I did the first time my computer crashed three weeks earlier. This was the second time I’d felt afraid that I’d be up a creek without a paddle. The first was a small warning sign that I’d pushed aside and forgotten. This second incident screamed at me. It shook me.
I will be purchasing a backup computer in the next day or so, even though my laptop seems to be running fine today. The cost of not being able to work is too great to disregard again.
Sometimes it takes a near miss to get our attention about what we are taking for granted. Sometimes it takes a wake-up call such as this one to notice what we are failing to notice.
Perhaps my brush with disaster can bring you to a state of gratitude and thankfulness for the things you have and take for granted because of their dependability. Maybe it can bring awareness to something you are not noticing that could put you in an uncomfortable situation before it actually does.