What's the "cold beads of sweat" moment for any computer owner? Reading "Operating System Not Found" on your monitor after turning on your PC. It happened to me on December 1. Hard drive failure. Dead. No Pulse. Flatline. No clicks, whirrrs, movement of any kind.
I've reinstalled the operating system onto the new hard drive and have managed to get most of my software running again. The most difficult task has been locating those quaint "certificates of authenticity" from CD jewel cases so I can type in the go-code that enables the software. It was fun to go through storage boxes of our computer flotsam and jetsam to find those software serial numbers. Empty CD jewel cases, old floppy discs. Power cords. Old zip drives and discs. Old DOS programs on floppy discs. Doom. Coaster. Word Perfect. Space Simulator. Mavis Bacon. An old cassette with a spreadsheet program for a Timex-Sinclair ZX-81.
I underestimated the time it would take to get the entire system up and running again. For instance, finding the correct drivers for my modem, video and sound cards was a real pain. My internal modem was so generic I couldn't find a manufacturer's name or model number. The only information on the modem's label was an FCC registration number.
I downloaded Firefox 2.0 again late last night. This morning I'll get Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail system up and running. Also on the list to download are my spyware programs, Acrobat reader, and my favorite rainy day toy, Orbiter simulator. It's all about the orbital mechanics, baybee!
I foolishly haven't backed up any of my documents or pictures for a long time (*blush* as in never on this PC). So I lost a lot of documents. I have paper copies of critical documents, but otherwise my failure to perform backups resulted in the loss of many files. Lessons learned the hard way are the ones remembered forever.
To anyone who has sent me e-mail the last week or so, my apologies for not responding in a timely manner.