Friday, April 2, 2010

Computer Problems

I have two computers along on this adventure. One, the new Asus NetBook is mainly for packing around to find WIFI and do email and web surfing on. It works very well and I am very happy with it.

The other is an eight year old eMachines laptop that is quite heavy as laptops go and has a battery that no longer holds a charge. I considered replacing the battery last summer but decided against it. There is also a loose wire in the screen somewhere that caused the screen to go dark once in a while. It can be brought back by opening and closing it a time or two.

The eMachines is where I download all my photos from the camera and have my Quicken Financial Program where I keep track of the family fortune, bank and cash accounts. The data in Quicken goes back ten years. I backup Quicken religiously but sometimes I am not so careful with my photo backups. My backups are all on a fairly new one Terabyte external hard drive. Every time I haul it out Norma complains about “all the wires”.

Yesterday Quicken would not open! It sat at the welcome screen for several minutes and did nothing. I had a backup that was a few days old but I persevered and finally it opened. I immediately did a fresh backup and closed the program. It would not reopen!

I then noticed a screen saying my Avast! Antivirus was not running. I tried to manually start it and was told it could not find a necessary file. EMERGENCY!!!! PANIC!!!!!!!!! HARD DRIVE FAILURE!!!!! I tried System Restore a few times, going back further each time but same problem. No Quicken and no antivirus.

I have Norton Ghost installed and do full backups every once in a while. The last backup was a bit over a month old so I did a full restore from this backup. It worked! Quicken opened and I restored the data backup that I had just done. Avast! Antivirus updated itself and started running perfectly. It found it’s file. All seems fine.

Suddenly I remembered MY PHOTOS! I looked on the backup hard drive and all my photos up to the end of January were there but I had lost all of February’s photos. Damn. I checked the Asus and some of them were there as I had downloaded the camera to that computer every time I wanted to put photos on the Blog so not all was lost.

Needless to say, I am now backing everything up several times a day while I decide what to do. I am thinking of buying a new laptop here in the USA as they are quite a bit cheaper. WalMart carried Dell and I have heard good things about them. I have Windows XP on all the other computers and the new ones come with Windows 7. Will I have compatibility problems with my software? Probably, and I do not want to have to buy new versions of my very expensive software like Quicken, PhotoShop, Office, etc. This would cost much more than a new computer. Well, at least I have time to think about it. Life is not so good today!


  1. Hi Croft.

    Andrew and I very much enjoy your blogs and follow them daily. We usually read them together. Thank you for sharing your life with us vicariously.

    If you buy a Windows 7 computer, you are very likely to have considerable compatibility issues. When Andrew and I each upgraded to Win7, we knew we would have to replace our printer. Since our scanner recently died, we had been considering purchasing a new printer/scanner combo anyway.

    It is possible with some computers to wipe the hard drive when you buy it and then install Windows XP. My present computer originally came with Vista, and I immediately wiped it and put in XP. Now, as I mentioned, we are running Win7 on it.

    Dell makes very good computers, and as long as everything works well with it, you will have made a good choice. However, if you ever have a problem, expect to spend at least two hours on the phone to try to get someone to help you with it.

    I used to recommend Dell most highly to my computer clients, but since they began outsourcing their customer service, they seem to desire to pay someone to hassle you on the phone rather than to replace any broken parts. Most of the time, their computers work flawlessly. However, because of that small percentage of lemons, I quit recommending them to clients.

    My recommendation is to find a computer, whatever brand you want, that has been around long enough that it will still support Windows XP easily. This means that the manufacturer will have the necessary drivers for all the parts of the notebook computer.

    Alternatively, you could buy someone's used computer either through Craigslist or eBay.

    Life is still good for us here in Guadalajara, and we are considering buying some land and building a house near our RV park here.

    Kind regards,

    Dave Clingman and Andrew J. Wharton

  2. Croft, unlike Dave, I went from a 4 year old Toshiba laptop with Windows XP (and some the same issues you had) to a new Toshiba laptop with 64 bit Win 7. LOVE it. I was shocked to have NO compatibility issues, INCLUDING the use of Money 2002 (where I have all our financial data), which has been discontinued by MS for at least a year or two. I can't believe it works!

    When I hooked the new laptop up to the printer (an HP all-in-one that is at least 8 years old), I was on the internet. Win 7 used the connection to look for the right drivers. It works, with one small glitch - an error message that pops up every so often but doesn't seem to have any impact.

    I use Picasa for photo polishing, so don't know about issues with other programs. Our old version of Windows Office works fine.

    We were so pleased with the change that we purchased another Toshiba, 32 bit Win7. Again, no problem loading one our many 7 and 8 year old software programs.

    I say, go for the Win 7. You're going to want to upgrade SOMETIME - why not now? We found some excellent deals on Toshiba laptops at Best Buy.

  3. Hi Croft.

    You can check the compatibility of your computer hardware and software for working with Windows 7 at this website:

    Let us know what you guys decide.

    Enjoy your trip north.

    Dave and Andrew

  4. Thanks Dave and Andrew. I will hang onto this link.

  5. Hey Croft,

    I'm with Laurie, got my Toshiba from Future shop and am loving it. Got a great deal on it, windows 7 has not given me any trouble, and am overall quite happy with my choice.

    Good luck on your choice.