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My Personal Computer Tsunami

June 2005

Tuesday morning, I opened KWord in my Mandrake 9.1 which was on a separate drive from my Windows 98. I pulled up some files on a floppy disk from my old 286 computer downstairs (which I use only for super private stuff). The first one I had converted to RTF and it opened okay, but when I opened the second one, KWord "hung up" or grayed out, and I couldn't close it or do anything with it. In Windows-lingo, it crashed.

In Linux lingo, I know now that I just needed to give the "kill" command for that one program, and I could open it again and start over. However, I didn't know that yet.

I spent from about 9:30 to 11:30 searching online for how to deal with this. I knew that in a Linux operating system one should NOT shut down and reboot to solve a crash. That's a Windows' cure. But I got impatient and decided to shut down and reboot.

Only now I couldn't get into Mandrake. It was all seized up! I re-installed my Mandrake suite, but on the empty half of the 40GB drive, just in case I could fix the first installation. When I came into my NEW Mandrake, my cursor was missing. I struggled to fix it, but couldn't get into the area of Mandrake Control, for the settings as I couldn't see where the mouse was clicking.

In the afternoon (sigh!) I re-installed Mandrake again. Still the same problem. I explored the SuSE LIVE! CD (it stays on the CD, not the hard drive), and via SuSE was able to see that my partitions were still all there, so I went to look for answers on the net, with my older computer, using dial-up. I couldn't find anything really helpful, so in the evening I came back and installed Mandrake again for the 3rd time.

While in the custom partitioning stage I decided to risk a Rescue partition click. My sister-in-law Penny called, and I was talking to her when it stopped and I saw my hard drive wiped clean! Both Mandrake installations all gone!

As I moaned and grieved Penny tried to comfort me by saying it was all just "stuff." People matter more than our stuff.

I know all that! I usually always put people first.

What she didn't know was how many web sites I've been working on, how many writing projects, graphics... and not all for just me - clients too.

I still had stuff on the 10 GB drive with Windows, but it had been locked off to me since Easter when I had a crash because of some virus from a popup ad. What I had lost now, was all the stuff I'd gathered and set up since Easter. I had not been able to figure out how to do backups to CDs, but had been saving everything to a separate partition on this drive. If I had NOT tried that "Rescue Partition" button I would still have it. (SIGH!)

I finished that third install. (I was getting VERY familiar with that routine), and late that night I hunted up manuals and instructions on backups. I was resolved not to do anything else until I had learned how to do backups on CDs. Close to midnight I went to bed, feeling odd. Like I ought to be physically sick. My heart was certainly in mourning.

All of the next two days I sought out and managed to learn a steep mountain of information. Finally I could do backups on a program sitting right there in my Mandrake suite of over 900 programs. It was called X-CD-Roast. I also learned a number of commands to use in the Konsole like a real Geek.

I still needed to learn more about changing file permissions, but I thought it is safe now to try to re-build my "stuff" in that Mandrake operating system. Remembering my move to this computer in November of 2004, and my transition into Mandrake only after Easter I realized that it would take a few weeks. All my big blogging plans were on hold.

I was able to download my sites and the ones I look after, so I had copies of them again, but the work I had not uploaded yet... well, I had to do it over.

Same with the kids' book I'd started on the previous weekend, and the article I wrote Saturday night for the local weekly paper's centennial project. A big batch of graphics I had cropped and re-sized, all had to be done over. About 80+ tracts that I had scanned for a shopping cart - need to be done over. Never mind all my email addresses. If certain friends would not write me, I had no way of getting to them!

Further sagas coming, but the good news is (from perspective of 2006), that the worst of my learning curves all came in 2005. They are behind me now, and clear sailing does come eventually!

Index of New-to-Net

What Led me to Want Linux? How to choose a Distro

Come, Tour My Candy Store! Exploring Mandrake 9.1, my first Linux System

My Computer Tsunami how one mistake led to another! (this page)

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Ruth Marlene Friesen
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