Friday, February 16, 2024

Comic Cuts – 16 February 2024

my laptop... and I'm rather fearful that I might also be saying vale to my new laptop – the one I bought last January (pictured above), so I've only had it for a year. It took me that long to get it all set-up the way I wanted, and now it looks like I might have to go through the whole process again.

The laptop that died was an old Dell Inspiron that I've had for twenty years. I used to watch films on it as I could plug in an external DVD player. It worked fine until a couple of weeks ago and then the screen just went black when I turned it on. It has now retired to the floor.

But it was twenty years old and still running Windows XP. I'm surprised it was usable for as long as it lasted.

The new one, on the other hand... I've no idea what has gone wrong. It was working one minute – I was having a break and playing an audiobook on it – but when I went to get back to work, I couldn't get into the files on the desktop. I didn't panic, just turned it off and on again. Nothing happened. The little set of circling dots didn't appear.  Windows didn't launch. Tried again. Nothing happened. The little set of circling dots didn't appear.

I managed to open the help screen, but I have no idea if there's a way to open Windows in a safe mode. I ran various diagnostic tools and they all seem to think that the machine is OK. There's an option to restore the system to a previous working configuration, which I've clicked on, and it tells me it has done it. But still no joy. Windows doesn't launch.

No, it isn't!

Because the memory of the machine is fine, I have managed to rescue and dump my two main areas of work (the desktop and documents folders) onto an external hard drive. At the moment everything else is, as far as I can make out, still on laptop, just inaccessible to the laptop.

This morning I found another another way to diagnose problems, so that's currently running, with another 72 minutes to go.

As you can imagine, this has been a most frustrating week. I'm back on my old PC which, over the past couple of months, I've only used for scanning and working on Beyond the Void. That, incidentally, is safe. I have a handful of copies on order and hopefully I'll be in a position to plan the release of the book shortly. The files for the Forgotten Authors book have been rescued and I'll be getting back to that next week, hopefully.

Two things I'm thankful for... any orders I'd had for Bear Alley Books were processed and in the post that morning; I didn't have access to my spreadsheet where I record sales, but thankfully I had a back-up only a few days old, so I can update that one. New orders I can see coming in.

The second thing is that I'd just that morning finished writing an article that I'd been asked to write; I'd posted it off around 11am and then did some scanning so there were some illustrations. I sent off some sample illustrations via We Transfer, and then decided to have a break... and you know the rest. Those scans are on this PC, so not affected by the crash.

Copying files for Bear Alley's Rocket index... wonder how long it'll take...
Oh... bother!

Unfortunately, at the moment, I've lost access to a year's worth of stored e-mails, because I move a lot of them to "local" (i.e. on my hard drive) folders which I can't access via my e-mail provider. I might be able to get them back – they are stored, after all, but I don't know how or when. Also things like recently bookmarked pages, settings for various programmes, cookies for a lot of websites that I'm going to have to go through all over again (I'm pathological about turning off as many as I can), and a whole lot of etceteras that will slow me down over the coming however long it takes to fix the laptop.

OK, so the diagnostic has run and it found no problems. But a reboot hasn't opened Windows. All I can do is go back to square one and see if there's anything I missed.

When this all happened, I couldn't get to the most recent updates of the Forgotten Authors documents, and rather than end up with different revised versions on different machines, I started writing something entirely new – a piece about something I've been meaning to write about for years but never got around to. Yes, it's the history of Joan the Wad!

If you collect Fifties paperbacks you'll have seen the adverts for this lucky Cornish piskie. It turns out that the people involved have an interesting history and, as I dug deeper, I discovered that they even have a connection to Wivenhoe, where I live. I'll try to write some of this up shortly, although I'm still digging at the moment.

So there's an option to download the operating system for the laptop, although that will wipe everything. However, there's also an option to 'clone' the hard drive on the laptop, so I've cleared an external hard drive and, fingers crossed, the the cloning process is now under way. This is terrifying!

OK, I've chickened out of downloading the new operating system. I need to check that the hard drive has copied everything and I really should get some advice about this before I go for the nuclear option.


  1. Regarding your old laptop, the screen went black on mine as well - turned out the screen had expired. I could have got the screen replaced (and might yet do someday), but I bought a new laptop instead.

  2. The point being that maybe your old laptop still works and that only your screen needs replaced.



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