Who would’ve thought my first and most personal victim of COVID would be my computer?
A few days back my computer stopped booting. That’s unfair. A few days back my computer had trouble booting. I tried a few things, opened it up, and managed to get it working sporadically. I was Surprised Pikachu central. How could this happen? My otherwise fine computer suddenly having a hard time? Then I thought more, my computer wasn’t a spring chicken. I did the math and worked out that it was nine years old. Egads. THEN I thought harder. My computer was a DIY job, at least for one of my friends. He worked out the parts to get, then helped me through putting it together in his lounge. It has two hard drives. We bought a 2TB drive so it would have lots of space, and I already happened to have a 500GB drive from my previous computer. Turns out that drive was eleven years old. When drives are that old, it’s less of a tragedy and more of a mercy. A friend chimed in and pointed out that yes, the older hard drive was the problem. Fortunately, I’d separated my two drives by uses. The old drive was purely for Windows and other program files. The second drive was where I stored all my media, documents, applications, etc. It was a clear delineation, which meant I could replace the old drive, install Windows on a new one, and have a working computer once again.
It took hours. He’d worked out that the reason why the drive wasn’t booting, is that it was clicking. He said this was a sign of overheating, that the drive had expanded and was now struggling to spin. He said there was a slim chance it could still boot, and if that was the case he’d be able to replicate the drive. He tried holding the drive and physically spinning it to encourage the boot process. No dice. He had drive repair software, but it didn’t manage to connect to the drive. Turns out new drives are pretty cheap. A 500GB solid state drive was $90, so he bought one and did the install. Fortunately I’d kept a folder full of applications and drivers over the years. It made the whole thing a shit ton easier. We had most of what we needed ready to go. He finished the install and refused any kind of payment, so I offered to donate to a charity of his choice instead. I think it’s important not to take your friends skills for granted, especially if it’s something they normally charge for.
Holy hell it’s a long and laboured process reinstalling software. Sure, Ninite is exceptional. But there are so many Windows updates (especially since I had to stay on Windows 7 to enable my Pro Tools hardware to keep working). Now that Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows 7, the files aren’t all available. There are supposed to be shortcuts, but the critical downloads had been removed from Microsoft’s site. So many programs need certain prerequisites before they can be installed themselves. It took me until about 2am to get all the security updates installed, to get drivers, antivirus software, and finally (probably most importantly) Magic Arena. Woof.
You know what though? The system had been bloated for years, and I just assumed that was regular wear and tear. Now I can clearly see how long the boot drive had been in decline. It was taking upwards of ten minutes to start up my computer. Now it takes maybe a minute. It was entirely unable to sleep. Instead I just logged out and turned off my screen. Now it automatically goes to sleep, the drives stop spinning and it’s like a whisper. If I clicked on an internet video and hadn’t recently watched any, it’d be maybe 30-40 seconds before it’d actually play. Now they play immediately. It’s running like a dream, and I can’t believe how long I slept on fixing it up. I mean, at some point I’ll just have to replace it anyway. Nine years is already too long.
Though if this was really supposed to be a COVID victim, it would’ve at least have been taken down by a virus.