How Do We Manage Without ACCESS…?

mouseFor the past few days, I have been without access to my precious internet-no web access. In fact, I had no access to my PC at all. I thought that all of my data, all of my information, documents, pictures, and so much more had been lost forever.

Most salient for me was that my ability to connect with the world outside of my physical, geographical proximity, had been severed. What was once considered a luxury,  an accoutrement and inconsequential to our daily existence, has now become a necessity.  Internet usage is now a standard medium for communication in today’s world. It is an expectation and the only respectable avenue to remaining relevant. Our entire lives from 9-5, which is now irrelevant, requires that we interact in one way or other, over the internet.

Ok! So, yes there is always the android, tablet, iPhone, etc… But, my email address[-es], my social networks[only one or two], and my subscriptions to numerous other sites….. have PASSWORDS and USERNAMES. Who remembers those things anymore? My computer, that’s who remembers and stores them neatly! I can’t possibly be expected to keep track of all of the distinct identifiers I have for every account- for every site!

Moreover, if it weren’t for the smartphone itself, and the stronghold it has in my life, I couldn’t be relied upon to remember anyone’s telephone number, at all. It is taken for granted that we no longer have to use pen and paper to write down and log your friends, family, or business colleagues’ contact information anymore. Why should we commit numbers to memory when the perks of having ‘smart’ devices is that they have this capability built in already?

Understandably shaken, I asked for help from my son, an IT specialist, computer hardware genius who works for a major US telecommunications company, and all around ‘techie’.  He is in Florida and I’m in New York. Well, his assistance was helpful, but the bottom line was that nothing substantial could be done to rectify or restore my PC over the telephone. I was crushed. Of course, the computer was Overloaded with ‘stuff’, lots of stuff, too much stuff. I just had never found the time to toss and eliminate some of the useless stuff that was buried deep inside the memory of my little piece of sanity and my personal organizer. It was my virtual file cabinet; my rolodex, and my photo album, too. This machine holds in its grips, my life’s story chronicled in pictures- pictures of my family, my children, my work photos, PD certificates, research docs, and so on and so forth.

 Always back up your data!

I was desperately seeking a miracle cure to dig myself out from this terrible, life-altering ordeal.  Next strategy was to contact the manufacturer, who shall remain nameless [hint: their initials are H.P.].  I did a Google search and located the site, in search of customer support, troubleshooting. After identifying my model, serial number, and the OS, I set out to perform my own troubleshooting to restore my PC and resume life as I had grown accustomed. I must say that I am and have always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. If I can’t do it [anything] myself, then I try another strategy. My last resort has always been to call in the professionals.

Not quite certain of the problem, but the symptomology indicated that the operating system was gone-irreparably. I am now lost in confusion and a state of panic, but I never give up. So, I find a service offered by the company with those initials that fixes and repairs common issues with computers. Mind you, this service is not free, because my warranty had expired, I said “Sign me up!”. First suggestion by the ‘technician’ was to perform a ‘system restore’. I told them that I had already done that, as suggested by my son. I forgot to tell you that my son was at work when I told him about my predicament, and so our time was limited. He was still ‘on the clock’, and so I told him to continue with his day. I knew that I would find a way. I can read! I love to read! I’d find a fix, and save the day.

Always back up your data!

So, now this tech said do another restore, and I humored ‘her‘.  As a woman, I know that this will sound sexist of me, but when the voice on the other end of the telephone was female, my heart immediately dropped to my feet. I already had an ‘attitude’-remember that word-‘attitude’?  Prior to my call, a last resort, I had already tried many different fixes, and exploratory exams to diagnose the problem. Also, this is not new to me, either. I have had a PC die on me before, and I had prior knowledge of the dreaded ‘system recovery’ fix. I wanted no parts of it. THAT is a last resort, because it totally wipes your computer clean. It restores it to factory condition. No way was I going to allow that to happen to me again…with no backup!

Always back up your data!

Moving along, after waiting for cue, this woman suggested that I perform another restore to an earlier date. I did that, all the while realizing that this person was pretty much doing what I can and have done myself, with no help. She was reading from a list of possible solutions according to the symptoms reported to her. I wanted a real tech person. She informed me, after I performed another restore, that though she understands my reluctance to recover the system, that was all that she could do for me at that time. And, I paid for this service that called itself my ‘Smart friend’!

So, she said, after my insistence that there must be something else that would make it work, we will call you back in about an hour or two to check on progress. Through my poking and prodding, and trying f8, f11, f10, I saw a glimmer of something. Anxious for their call, I called them back. They’re supposed to be 24/7 tech support and my Smart Friend”. So, this time, I was connected to another person who was thankfully, I thought, male. This idiot, and certainly he was not an idiot, but that’s how I felt. Once again, he was giving me info that I had already in my own repertoire of fixes.

This time, this person told me that there was nothing else to consider except system recovery. It was at this point that I went off. I began to swear and apologized, but politely asked for a supervisor. I asked for a REAL tech person-one with actual experience. I wanted someone who didn’t have to refer to a script, but was familiar enough with my relatively simple problem, that solutions would come from off the top of his head…unscripted. I demanded to speak to someone else, because the expert advice was kindergarten, and I needed college level help. The suggested solutions were all within my abilities to do alone, and free.  All they wanted to do was the easiest-wipe my computer clean. I can do that myself. He told me to call back the next day, and then I totally lost it. What about that 24/7 support?

Anyway, to shorten your pain, a miracle happened, a gift from God! Or just my own sense of determination, persistence, a lite knowledge, and a few prayers. I shut my system down for one last time, and then…voila! I’m back!!! No tech support. No IT son. No system recovery[wipeout]. Just me! I did it! Yay, girl power! Hello world!

What is the moral of this story? Everyone… in unison….

Always back up your data!



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