Last week my computer was attacked by what they called a “fake virus warning” and I did everything wrong. Inadvertently, I allowed access to this cruel amusement, this nuisance some low life hacker created and although it was called a “harmless” virus, it kept me from working in Internet Explorer and after trying every fix in our small bag of expertise (including getting help from Microsoft) without results, we decided to take it in to a computer repair shop. They recognized my problem and assured me the job would only take a day or so and I could pick up the machine on this past Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, Phil called to see what progress had been made and much to our astonishment we were told (on speaker phone) in a matter of fact way that the hard drive on my computer had been “accidentally” wiped clean and it was irreversible. EXCUSE ME?
The pathetic explanation referencing how it happened was so far beyond comprehension it did nothing to appease the horrific feeling of loss that stunned us into disbelief. It couldn’t be … we didn’t hear correctly … surely they could undo the deed and make it all better! Nope, we were told nothing could be done. The only recourse without paying some computer lab many thousands of dollars—a “restore” feature on my computer was defective (probably from the factory). My 40 years of genealogy work in the computer program “Family Tree Maker”, my 10 plus years of work writing my ancestor’s biographies (not to mention my own bio), all the research I have collected over the years, our life on the road in pictures we have taken over the past 4.5 years and deleted from the camera, all my carefully digitized and categorized genealogy photos … all gone!
Phil went ballistic and I retreated into a quiet place to keep from going out of my mind.
As we drove the seven miles to town, we discussed our options and tried to decide what should/could be done. By now you are thinking, hasn’t she told us before she backs up her computer? Yes, we backed up “My Documents” and C-drive about once a month and I have a stack pf CDs that are labeled, “FTM” so although we lost several years of our “favorites” in IE and AOL (We learned our “favorites” on AOL were stored on our computer, not in AOL and we have learned it is possible to back up our “favorites” in IE but hadn’t done that either!) we were fairly certain it would be possible to reload my software programs and transfer the data from the external hard drive back into my computer. However, I felt sick and pretty stupid the next day while trying to reconstruct my genealogy program from the recent “backup” CDs when I discovered the only thing on them—ALL of them, was the FTM shortcut from the desktop—no data. Instead of using the “back up” feature on the FTM program I had used the “send to” feature from my hard drive to the CD. The worst part was that I KNEW better and that knowledge came back to me in a flood of remorse.
Now, for the good news, my packrat tendency may have saved the day. I have all my floppy diskettes leftover from the “old days” and I dug them all out of the media box. I have an external 3.5-inch disk reader and on them, I found my files. The thousands of pages of data were intact albeit out of date (as you know, genealogy is an ongoing project--ever changing) but it is a beginning! Then later, I found an old CD dated 2004 and yes, it was actually a bona fide back-up CD—burned correctly so I have my info up to five years ago. A huge start in the reconstruction! Also, all the data on my external hard drive transferred correctly and “my documents” is restored up to three weeks ago.
Note: The owner of the computer store installed a DVD burner, added 512 MB of RAM (bringing my total to 1024) and reinstalled Microsoft Office (I didn’t have the CD) at no charge as compensation. It was the best he could do and along with his genuine remorse, it would have to be acceptable.
Weather in Casa Grande: At 7 am, 50 degrees and cloudy with showers. The desert always needs rain. Even so, I can’t help but wish Arizona would rain on its own time, not mine! Does that make any sense? Oh well, (as Phil always says) … the forecast says we will have showers, thunderstorms and clouds for the next couple days. Since we are moving to the fairground (unpaved, hard packed clay RV parking) for our Western Gypsy Gathering Rally today we can expect lots of mud. We are not looking forward to that.
I am so sorry this post is so long but I wanted to tell you all why I have been conspicuously absent from the comments sections of all my friends and family’s blogs lately. My sadness overwhelmed me for a few days but I am back … I will survive this nightmare, I will!