Last year my computer started to show signs of age. It had served me well and survived many trips between the UK and Ukraine and into various offices for teaching classes, but its battery was starting to decline, the fan was making more noises, it was taking longer to load up, and worst of all, sometimes it didn’t charge. I knew I’d have to replace it and had taken a peek at potential replacements.
Looking at a Mac
A Macbook Air looked like the perfect replacement, long battery life and super thin but a couple of things were holding me back. When I was at Secondary school (high school for you Americans) my school was a Mac-Centric area…for about 3 years. When the first iMacs came out, we opened up the largest school Apple based network in the UK. It was so influential that it was actually THE example that was shown off in the promotional material. The problem was…it sucked [this isn’t to say that Mac networks or Apples in general suck but this one did].
The Windows computers that teachers had couldn’t interface properly. The network was always going down and when students transferred their work between Office on the Apples at the school and their home PCs, the formatting went crazy. After 3 years of chaos the school replaced all the iMacs with PCs and it created an aversion towards Apple products that I still partially keep today.
So when I was looking at replacement computers this was a factor…but the larger factor was money (or the lack thereof).
In the end I decided to go for an “ultrabook” It would give me the superlong battery life, small and light size to travel with, have the PC software I knew and loved and cost considerably cheaper. But I still wasn’t convinced, although I knew I would soon need a new computer my computer was still working so there was no immediate need to upgrade and I suspected that the next generation of portable devices which crossed the boundaries of Laptop and Tablet would probably be even better. I decided to wait till the next year, until something forced my hand.
A week before I left to go back to Spain my laptop stopped charging. The laptop had issues charging for a while where I would have to move the charger to certain angles to make sure it would charge but this time no matter how much I tried I couldn’t get it to charge. It looked like the time was up on my old laptop and it was time to part ways. I already had a good idea of the replacement computer I wanted so I made the purchase (and traded in my old dying laptop) and enjoyed it. It was faster, lighter and nicer than my last PC.
The Mistake of Making the Upgrade
Part of the deal with the trade in was the option to upgrade to Windows 8 as soon as it came out for free. Although I had some mixed feelings about Windows 8 because of the negative reviews I suspected it was partially and over-reaction due to it’s radical change from previous version. I signed up for the upgrade and after a couple of months the time came to install the new version.
I went through the process and felt good about the whole thing, no problems, very clear instructions and I had backed up my documents the day before (not that I had many as this was a new PC). everything was going well but the upgrade didn’t install. “never mind” I thought as I was upgrading the day before it was due to be released as I found an early link. I carried on using the computer and went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up feeling a bit giddy about upgrading and imaging all the amazing insights I could share over social networks. I started up my computer and continued my normal morning routine when it suddenly rebooted…and then stopped.
Blue Screen of Death; Eat Your Heart Out
At this point, my mind started to get a little bit worried, I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong but I suspected something about last nights installation might be at play, but at the same time, I had been using my external hard drive and the message was about disconnecting a device. I started the usual routine of starting in safe mode, trying to get a back up disk, realizing I had no back up disk, borrowing someone else’s computer to download a back up disk, try using a linux boot disk, taking it to a tech repair guy and finally finding out that I needed to send it to manufacture because the hard drive was dead. That’s right, it became an “ex-hard drive” from being upgraded and was only a month old!
Normally this would be annoying, but because I was in another country, I had to send it back to my family in the UK, get it taken to the shop I bought it from, sent of to the manufacturer, and then have the hard drive replaced.
All in all taking about 2 months.
There is a silver lining though. When I picked up the computer I accidentally signed up for the extra coverage rather than the default. It had looked like a complete rip-off unless something terrible happened…and then a month into owning the computer…something terrible did happen.
Tech wreck turned tech #WIN!