One of my work computers has been dying for quite some time. It isn’t without cause – it is old as computer dirt – I think I’ve had it for 8 out of my 10 years at Slappey.

But as many times as they have tried to get me to take a less antiquated computer, I just can’t seem to take them up on it – this computer is by far the best, most reliable computer I’ve ever had. It’s never gotten that inexplicable sluggish crawl that every other computer has. You know, you have a computer for about a year, and then for some reason it just

s t a r t s d o i n g
e v e r y t h i n g
s l o w e r ? ? ? ?

Well that’s never happened to this computer, and I just couldn’t bear to think of getting a new one. For a while, my computer was the notoriously fastest computer in the office, and anytime someone needed a process done quickly, they would ask to borrow my pc. Plus, a lot of our work software doesn’t work as well on newer operating systems. So I need to stay antique to be able to work the antique software.

I’d been getting several warnings from my computer when I booted it up for quite some time. It always begged me to let it run all these big fancy and LONG processes to fix itself, but, DUH, it was BROKE. A broke computer can’t fix itself, no matter how much it thinks it can. Kind of like people. But that’s another blog. Anyway, I had let it try it’s self-help processes a couple of times, and it always just locked up, so I always bypassed them, and it kept limping along. But over the past couple of weeks, it has been getting more dire in it’s warnings and started to get nasty to me about not letting it fix itself.

I’d been putting it off for as long as I could because of my very short time in between payroll periods during which I HAD to have my computer so that everyone could get paid, but no longer. SO, I took my computer in last week for our computer guru Woody to see if he could fix it. I basically wanted him to completely copy my old hard drive onto a new one so that it would boot up exactly like it did before, except without the nasty warnings. My remote connection into the office is “sensitive”, to say the least, so I didn’t want to mess with any setup things that would disturb it. AND I gave him a three work day limit. With his and everyone else’s paycheck hanging in the balance.

Not really, I’m sure I would find a way to get everyone paid without my computer, but I’ve found that it really lights a fire under people to think that it’s the only way.

Here’s where it starts to get interesting (I’m sure you’re wondering where this post is going). After having the computer since Friday, I got this email from Woody yesterday:

I suspect that the drive’s condition was made worse in the past few weeks while it was in use, but the condition was worsened exponentially during the transport to the office. I spent some time Saturday and Sunday trying to recover the data, with no luck. Last night before I left the office, I placed the hard drive in a plastic ziploc bag and placed it in the freezer, which was my last trick-up-the-sleeve. This morning, I pulled it out of the freezer and immediately connected it to my computer and attempted to create a “forensic” ghost image, which worked, although the last thirty minutes I held a fan on it and patted it with a damp cloth.

Yes, that’s right. He couldn’t get my hard drive to give up it’s info via normal methods of interrogation, so he resorted to torture. My poor hard drive was taken to Computer Guantanamo Bay. Talk about water torture – how about being frozen?!

Then it sounded like he went a little “good cop / bad cop” on it – he froze it, then he was fanning it and patting it with a damp cloth, as if he was caring for a poor, frail old lady (which does kind of seem like what my poor hard drive was).

BUT – it worked!! He was able to ghost my hard drive, and I have my computer back at home today!! It has a few kinks to work out, but largely it is definitely back to it’s good old self!!

I consider myself somewhat of a computer geek, but only when it comes to software. I know very little about hardware, and I CERTAINLY haven’t ever heard of freezing a non-compliant hard drive!! I am quite impressed with Woody’s computer geekery.

p.s. – Woody spent in total 17 hours saving my computer. That’s crazy. And dedication.

5 thoughts on “My Computer’s Visit to Guantanamo Bay

  1. Actually, the freezer technique is similar to putting a patient in ICU, not like torture. I only wish we had pictures – I am sure I was a sight with my little reading glasses on my nose, holding a little fan, and a little wet paper towel, leaning over a hard drive on the desk, watching the computer screen like a heart monitor… :) -Woody PS-I am so grateful it worked! I was amost out of food.

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