The Latest from Lola's Diner

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Computer Advice Needed

I had been using Anastasia's old laptop. She had purchased a brand spanking new one last year. Yesterday morning when I tried to boot (my) laptop kept wanting to do a disk check, so I let it, and it took well over an hour. After the check was completed it checked for free space, then it started the boot process. Then a blue screen came up too fast to read, but I did manage to see "beginning dump". Then it started the boot process again. It kept looping and wouldn't boot. Damn I hope the stuff on (my) hard drive can be copied or I am really screwed. It had my resumes, photos, future posts, financial/legal information and brochures, flyers, forms and contracts for a business start up. I don't have the money to take it anywhere right now, but was thinking I will probably take it to Best Buy's Geek Squad (this is not a paid post), because I really don't know of any other local place to take it.

Anyone have this happen? Were you able to have your data recovered? How much did it cost you? Does anyone know of a reputable place in Illinois around Joliet, Shorewood, New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Plainfield, Lockport, Romeoville?

So now I will be at the mercy of the lovely Anastasia for computer time. Have I said lately how much I love love love her? I do have a desktop, but using it is difficult for several reasons.
1. The table and chair for the desktop exacerbate my back problems.
2. I like to multi-task and watch television while I drop Entrecards. I can't do that where my desktop is located.
3. I'm kind of afraid to even turn on my desktop for fear of having that take a dump. I have even more crucial financial data on there. And nothing is backed up. What can I say? I like to live on the edge.
4. The desktop is in an area away from the "family zone". While in theory this sounds good, because I will get a break from the family, I will be isolating myself. I don't think that's a great idea right now considering the current state of my psyche.
5. There is no space available to move 1 of the "working" printers near the desktop. Very cramped for space and no other option to move the desktop until someone with big muscles comes over to take our computer armoire (which is in boxes unassembled and weighs about as much as a small car) up to our second floor so it can be assembled.
6. I want to get a new laptop, but it's not in the finances right now. If I get my taxes done, I could use that money and stimulate the economy at the same time. Woo Hoo! But, I need to get the tax software and then I have to deal with #3. (I think I know what I will be doing on Sunday - my taxes.)

Regardless, I will still be posting and dropping Entrecards. I may not be able to read as many blogs as I used to. (Not to mention that I lost all my bookmarks. Grrrr.)

Which brings me to the ultimate question...PC Versus Mac. I've always had PC's.

PC - I really don't want to deal with this virus nonsense anymore. Getting a PC would necessitate continuing to have to deal with virus threats. Windows Vista - I really don't want to go there. I have heard such bad things about it. I know it is possible to get Windows XP machines if you really look. I also know that there are some machines loaded with Windows Vista that can be converted to Windows XP

Mac - I've worked with a Mac once when I worked for the library. I'd like to get a Mac, but 2 things always hold me back. Those 2 things are the much higher price and the fact that I need to stay adept at Microsoft Office 97 (Excel, Word, Access, Powerpoint) for my career. Also, I already have the software. I've done a little bit of reading on using Mac's Boot Camp to load Windows XP SP2, and be able to run Windows software, but right now that just confuses me even more. I'm pretty much Mac stupid. I know very little, but I figure I have some time to get educated. So, help me out, educate me!

So what are your thoughts on PC Versus Mac? And if you are a Mac devotee, please convince me (in detail) how I can easily run my coveted Windows Microsoft Office 97 on a Mac.

Lola's Diner


Anonymous said...

Greetings Lola,

I switched to a mac last year as a result of vista trauma. yes, it was vista that drove me straight into the apple store. My partner (a long time mac girl) insisted. She got tired of hearing me cursing at my laptop.

yes they are more expensive but now that I know what I know and having gotten past the small learning curve I would eat potted meat for a year to buy another one if I had to.

I did not want to give up the windows only based programs I use and I went with parallels instead of boot camp. I can tell you that without a doubt windows xp runs way better on a mac! I wold really suggest you upgrade to xp from 97. I don't even know if you could put 97 on the mac. Your apps won't bee too different your gonna have to move soon anyway.

Oh, the joy of flipping back and forth between my mac side and my windows side, sharing files between the two and never, you heard that right, never seeing a windows operating error in over a year.

The lighted keyboard is a total babe.

I do some heavy duty computing and went with the mac book pro you might not need that much horsepower. if not go with the mac book.

My girl, the journalist/editor just got the new Mac book pro and it is beautiful.

I have never, never loved a computer the way I love this one.
Frankly, it is what computer love should be like.



Cher said...

I was a total windows fan until I started using Itunes and realized how nice Mac programs are. Then we got an iMac about 2 years ago and I don't think I could ever go back. I have yet to have virus and I have no clue about any of the Vista problems. We have Office 2008 (word, excel, powerpoint) as the Mac version. We never actually set up bootcamp because the programs we wanted we were able to buy Mac versions.
Also, the Mac associates ("genius" as they are called) are awesome and very helpful. If you can't go to an Apple store, they do sell them at Best Buy or you could always browse the website. They do cost more but its like buying a nicer car because you know it will last and have less maintenance. It will take you a little getting used to though in the begining, but I promise it will be worth it!

Jane Doe said...

I believe that blue screen you referred to is what I call 'the blue screen of death.' Usually it means you have a virus or something. If you get it again, and it stays up long enough to read, choose the option that says 'restore my computer to last good configuration.'

Good luck! I've been having major issues with viruses lately so I feel your pain.

I am Harriet said...

Hi Lola.
Thanks for the email etc.
Yes- he is a pious idiot.

I use a Mac and a PC. I prefer the PC. Macs are known to be better for the gamers etc. PC's are better for the productivity types.

I've had that stuff happen to me. I don't even hesitate to buy the complete antivirus software and run it weekly. Definitely, get an external to back stuff up.

Hang in there :)

Lola said...

@ A Progressive Girl/Cher-Thanks for the information. I use Excel 97, Word 97 a lot. They run on Windows XP or Windows 2000 so I don't think that would be a problem, but I will definitely have several conversations with the Apple Associates beforehand. Now I'm trying to find out what I need to ask about.

@ Jane Doe-I tried hitting F8 during startup and tried to startup in 'Safemode'. When that didn't work, I tried 'Last Good Configuration'. That didn't work either.

@ Harriet-I spent New Year's Day installing McAfee Anti Virus on all 3 of our computers. I guess I need to check the warranty and see if it covers the 'blue screen of death'.

peace said...


If you are seriously thinking abot a mac, it is expensinve and you should have all your questions answered. I think your best bet is to get to an apple store. Even if you have to go out of town to do it. you won't believe the experience. you can make an appointment to have your own personal sales associate and they will answer every and all questions you have.

I was very much like you when I went in and they were awesome. The mac thing seemed kinda daunting because of the price and the change but it was so worth it. I don't use my mac for games but I do run windows xp and OS-10 Dreamweaver/photoshop/psp9/outlook (with paralles running the windows side I don't need to buy Office for the mac and it si always avilable) and Itunes while dropping entrecards all at the same time...with never a glitch.
That is a lot going on and it handles it all beautifully. The folks at the genius bar will even set up your system for you as well.

Get to the apple store if at all will leave knowing you did the right thing if you buy a mac or not.


progressive Girl said...

That was strange...instead of logging me in as A progressive Girl it decided I was "peace"


oh well...good luck with your computer adventure, Lola


Patricia said...

I couldn't begin to solve your problem, but we have had luck with the Geek Squad in the past.

Regarding PC versus MAC, we have always been a PC family but a few months ago, my husband switched to MAC. He seems relatively satisfied, but I still use the PC.

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Oh, poor Lola! Been there, not fun. My hubby's laptop did the 'blue screen of death' and constant looping mode on him not too long ago, too...I asked him what he did, and he said he turned it off, let it cool down for a couple of hours, then when he turned it back on, it was fine. Sounds like yours isn't cooperating like that.

My desktop had that issue - which of course had all my important files, and all my early pictures of my Little Princess. Turned out that there were 'bad sectors' on the hard drive that prohibited my computer from booting up - usually caused by a virus. I saved my hard drive and one of these days will see if the original files and pictures can be pulled off of it, I understand it can be done.

If you can get it to boot up to 'Safe Mode' at all, do a 'System Restore' (Start...All Programs...Accessories...System Tools...System Restore). You can choose a previous date (I usually go back at least a week or more if I ever have to do a System Restore). It'll will bring your system back to (hopefully) before you had whatever caused the don't lose any documents or emails or anything by going backwards.

If you can't boot up at all regular or in Safe Mode, and you have the Windows disks for that laptop, before you boot it up, put it in the CD drive - it should come up with a screen for options to replace or repair - in order to salvage your files stored on your hard drive, you want to select repair.

If none of that works, more than likely you have bad sectors on your hard drive that is causing it to not boot up at all...which would mean you need professional help - the Geek Squad may be able to use whatever programs they have to pull your files off the hard drive...I know there are programs out there that do. Not sure how much that costs, but if you have business stuff on that hard drive, the cost of retrieving those documents can be used as a tax deduction (business expense).

As for deciding between a PC and a Mac - when I had my computer crash and did a bunch of research, I had to stick with a PC because of the reasons Harriet mentioned above. That, and I had a ton of software that was PC only - software I use regularly that I really didn't want to have to replace with Mac versions... ;) What I have read and heard and experienced is if you stick with a PC, do NOT use Internet Explorer as your browser. Use Mozilla Firefox. There are way too many security issues with IE - Firefox is one of the safest ones to use, it runs faster, and has no security issues. I have Norton as my anti-virus software, but I hate how slow it can make my computer run (but at least not as slow as McAfee is), so I have it turned off except to scan incoming email and do a full system scan about once a month. No blue screen of death for me since I stopped using IE! ;) And on this laptop, I'm even using the dreaded Vista, which has not given me any problems or headaches...knock wood! ;)

Once you get back to 'normal' again, definitely, DEFINITELY get yourself an auxiliary hard drive. I have two - one that's not portable, the other one is. I have everything backed up on the non-portable one, and use the portable one as my drive to save everything to as I'm working on things. They both plug in via USB and have given me peace of mind about if my computer should ever crash, my files are not on its internal hard drive. ;)

Ranran said...

it's Mac all the way!

Lola said...

@ Progressive Girl-Actually there is an Apple Store in Orland Park, must be new. I'll have to check it out.

@ Patricia-I've always been a PC person, but I'm just geek enough to go to the 'other side'.

@ Stacy-I tried "Safe Mode" and "Last Good Configuration" and the laptop still looped and wouldn't boot up. We don't have the Windows 2000 disks for that laptop because it was purchased refurbished and Anastasia never made discs.

As soon as I have the money I guess I'll be taking it to the geek squad unless I find an alternative.

Anne said...

I had the same problem (it felt like forever, but may have only been a few days). My husband (after threat of getting a new computer), took over. I haven't gotten the screen in more than 12 hours (I am hoping this means it is fixed). You need to restore to a previous setting or start it in safe mode. See if you can back up at that point (just in case). Then, remove everything that isn't necessary. Hopefully, that will work. If it does, you can start to reload. If you can get to it (and have it), start with Norton since that was what was causing the problem with mine.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

U said u tried safe mode, hhhhhmmm try going into your bios and turning on the S.M.A.R.T hard drive service then reboot and go back into safe mode, while the pc restarts listen to hear any "ticking or clicking" sound coming from the hard drive vicinity, if so that means your hard drive is dying FAST.

While in safe mode try copying your files to a jump drive or even burning them to a cd.

When next you get a pc or laptop try splitting the hard drive in two or more parts that way u stand a better chance of saving and retrieving files when problems occur. Hope this is of some help.

Luv from Jamaica Lola, lovely blog


Lola's Diner Was recently updated by by copyright 2009 ©