Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Vista Crash

I own a laptop with Microsoft Vista. It's never given me any real problem. I've heard people fuss and moan about it, but to be honest, most of the complaints came from people who have added Vista to an existing computer and found certain aspects simply didn't gel.

No, I've never had issues with it. I've also never had the slightest real interest in changing to a Mac, either. I used one while working for Planet Weekly newspaper and basically found everything about it annoying. And, no, I don't use Linux or anything else like that. For all that I am, I am also still basically a neo-Luddite; that much interest in technology makes me want to blow things up.

To use that appalling ad campaign: "I am PC." By choice, I have always been.

And do you know how Microsoft repaid me?

By taking over my laptop and tearing apart my work. Friday evening, while I was making dinner, I let my Toshiba idle. The screen had gone black (as it should), and I had a few windows open. As I sat down to shut it down for a while, the screen flashed on, and that annoying Microsoft message told me that it was restarting because of my updates. Then it began to shut itself down and restart.

Problem 1: I had restarted the thing a few hours early entirely to keep it from doing that. There's absolutely nothing I hate more than Microsoft telling me it's time for me to do when it wants to do because of the updates. There had been no updates in the few hours since I'd rebooted the computer, so there was no reason for this to be scheduled.

Problem 2: Open windows. I was working on three things at the time. The first was the rewrite of Heroes... Chapter 8 - "The Shining Way." Another was the first part of Conduit. The third was some notes and outlines for yet another project. I'd saved everything except the notes when I rebooted, but everything had had work done on it when this happened. As anyone familiar with Microsoft knows, when your computer decides to shut down, it doesn't save - it autosaves. Big difference.

I was ticked, but there was nothing to do be done. The screen darkened as it tried to reboot. I let it run for a bit. Suddenly, a new screen came up, informing me that it had shut down improperly and hadn't been able to restart. I hit the key it told me to. It again restarted. It took forever to bring up the desktop. When it did, naturally the first thing I went to do was recover my documents.

The Big Problem: None of the documents that came up were as I left them. Not only had Autosave failed to recover about 30 pages of notes that simply vanished *poof* into thin air (though it did leave me with some - just not all), it also "managed" to recover only older versions of Conduit and Heroes...

Yes, I'm saying that when I dug into the files, those two open, saved files had been replaced by the files that were existant as of Tuesday. I'd done all the Conduit work this week - a few dozen pages, finally getting some traction. It was all gone - every word. Heroes... was backsaved that the 20-odd pages of rewrites and edits that I'd sweated out were now 5 pages.

How many software problems is that? It shouldn't have rebooted itself in the first place. It shouldn't have had problems shutting down. It shouldn't have had problems starting up. It shouldn't have failed to autosave. It shouldn't have failed to recover those saves. Most importantly, it should not have reverted to older version of the open files when reopening. That saved data should be the one sacrosanct thing on one's computer.

All that time I was away, furiously, frantically writing, rewriting, editing? That work? Gone. I spent hours trying to find, search, and recover the lost data, but it's simply...gone.

I blame Microsoft; I don't blame Toshiba. I think the Satellite is a bad-ass laptop, and I'm happy with it. It's just the pissant engine running it that's got me angry now. Not that that will change a thing. Microsoft is notorious for not giving a damn what people think of them, or caring what they've done to others.

So until Bill Gates returns my four days and seventy-odd pages of very hard work, Microsoft can kiss my ass. Am I PC? Yeah, but not by choice anymore.


  1. I'm PC- always by choice. I hated the mac like retarded computers at school. Safari? Logging into 4 different account things just to get a normal screen? Being able to take pictures and video right from the computer? Stupid, and useless. All of it.

    I hate you lost all that work man, I'm paranoid about that very thing; I dont write a word on screen until there are two rough drafts in spirals as my hard copy. More time consuming, but works.

    Toshiba's pretty kick ass. I liked them as far as laptops.

    I did figure out audio files & embedding them into posts today. So you can actually hear me now. (Not that I expect that to be a positive for you.)

  2. Safari sucks, but Firefox is easily downloadable. I used to hate macs too, until I was given mac or no computer. It annoyed the piss out of me for about six months until I got used to it-but now I have to say I've had so many less comp problems than I did in my devoted PC days.

  3. Also macs don't auto restart for updates...just sayin :)

    Sorry about all your work though. That's a ridiculous amount of stuff to lose...

  4. I'm a pc by choice and because I used to fix them. I do a lot of saving. When I'm writing something important, after I type three sentences that I like, I save and I email myself a copy at one of my web addresses from one of my other web addresses. Normally, I don't have software problems, I have hardware problems. My last laptop had a faulty video cable and is now in two pieces (it made me angry)

  5. I've been a systems admin since 1993, and am thus an ubergeek. Was always a PC guy, but got a Macbook in March and now wonder why I didn't switch earlier. It's nice not needing antivirus software, and Firefox on the Mac is same as on PC.

    I don't begrudge PC users, but it is really annoying the MS defaults to automatically download (that's OK) and install/restart (that's not OK) updates. One of the first things I do in a new Windows install (XP and Vista) is turn this off. In Control Panel (may need to switch to classic view) select Windows Update. Click Change Settings, and then select "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them." This problem will not happen again.

    Good luck!

  6. I am a PC through economics. I just can't afford to bye the gadgets of the techno-hip.

    I also own a Toshiba Satelite. It is wrought with bugs. For example, I can not shut my laptop down through Vista. I have to unplug the power cord and close the lid, or my laptop simply reboots and reboots. Oh and that black screen of death, it happens to me every time I leave the room for more than 10 minutes. My Toshiba freezes, I have to hold the button down, and agressively reboot. Good fun, happens 3 or 4 times a day.

    Conclusion: The combination of the crappieness that is Vista and the shitastic (albeit tough as nails) quirks of the Toshiba, equals the odd hair pulling event such as the one that happened to you. I feel for you man.

  7. Oh I've been there - well, maybe not with that much writing. I learned a long time ago to SAVE whatever I was doing, anytime I stopped typing for 2 seconds, and sometimes even when I was still typing. I also learned to never let windows updates run on its own - I've always disabled them because of things just like that. Of course, I can't stand Microsoft - but I'm a PC.

  8. I do see that I'm not the only one who's had these kinds of issues in the past. After a week, I've given up on trying to find the lost work; it's officially HISTORY.

    I appreciate all y'all's advice - and I assure you, I'll be taking most of it.

    In defense of my Toshiba Satellite, let me say this: it was my first choice when it came time to get another one last year. The laptop I had before that? Toshiba Satellite. I bought that one second-hand from a buddy (say "hi", Tom!) when it was almost three years old. I finally upgraded to a new one after I had put more than four years on it.

    When the Nerd Herd found out it that it was still running, still functioning at 7 years old, they pretty much freaked out. I still use it as a backup.

    Wow. What a pointless digression... to sum up, I love Toshiba and hate Microsoft. Due to my innate distaste for all things 'hip,' I have no interest in being an Apple cultist, either. And since I don't love technology in a near-carnal way, the whole Linux thing to me is right out.

    I guess I'm PC, but Microsoft can still kiss my ass.

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