Tuesday night, I was doing an update and got one of those, “you need to reboot” messages. I clicked OK and left the room for a little bit. When I came back, the Microsoft blue screen of death was staring me in the face. The computer kept rebooting and at a certain point, the blue screen of death would come back. I used the function keys to try and do some of the “fix me” tricks, but nothing seemed to work so I finally gave in and did a system recovery – I was reluctant to do that because I knew it meant reloading everything.
This is actually the third time I have had to restore everything since last September. In February, my computer totally died and this computer is new. Every time it crashes, I seem to learn from my previous mistakes (I guess that is a good thing!). My old computer had Windows XP on and this one has Windows 7. After I selected the system recovery, Windows 7 asked me if I would like to back up some files, just in case. Lucky for me, I had just ordered more DVDs so had a brand new stack of them that were not even opened. Windows came up with a list of file types that you could back up. I decided to do my music separate from the other stuff and that took 7 DVDs for music alone.
I ended up staying up until about 5:30 AM Wednesday morning. After I did the system restore, I updated Windows and had to reboot my computer a zillion times before that was finally done. The first thing that I installed once I had Windows updated was iTunes. Everyone knows that in Genesis, God said, “let there be light.” I believe that He also said, “let there be music,” but that got lost in the modern day translation somewhere!
That is where the fun started. Windows backed the files up into a WIM file, which is a zipped Windows image file. None of the Windows restore options worked, but I finally figured out how to do it. When I got to the 3rd DVD, one of the files would not unzip but it did ask me if I wanted to continue. Of course I wanted to continue. Once I got done, I had 3400 songs in iTunes – I originally had almost 3900. None of my music videos were there. I do have backups of everything other than recently purchased stuff, so I will be able to reload the missing stuff once I figure out what is missing.
It took me weeks to get all my music back on when my computer crashed before. I discovered the hard way that when you back up purchased music in iTunes, if you lose the little identifying file on your computer (which normally happens when your computer crashes), all that CD says is “track1, track2, etc.” and there is nothing to identify what the song is. I had to click on each song because I also discovered that the order on the CD was not necessarily the order on the CD cover that I printed thru iTunes. I had to type in the song name, artist and album name before transferring it to my computer. Having 3400 songs loaded back will save me a lot of time in having to do all that.
When I went to load the DVD that had my documents, videos and pictures on, I discovered that the brand new DVD was scratched and Windows was not able to load it. Did you know that there are programs out there that will attempt to recover files from damaged DVDs? I didn’t know that until I Googled to see if there was a way to save my data. I tried about 5 different shareware programs until I found one that was working. Late yesterday afternoon, some of the data on the scratched DVD was starting to transfer over to my computer. It finished sometime after I got up this morning and had retrieved 9 of the 22 WIM files on the DVD.
There is a bunch of stuff that I know is lost, but at least I did get some stuff back. I still need to reload my last official backup to get some of the other stuff I was not able to retrieve. When my computer crashed in February, I lost something that I had been working on for several months and had to start that over again. A friend of mine told me that she emails some of her stuff to herself so that the file is online in her email account. I did that with a couple things, but I now know there are a couple other things that need added to that list. I got very lucky and my AccuChek backup was there, but I would be upset if it was not there. Besides the couple documents that I email myself, that list will include my AccuChek backup and my Quicken backup (that was one of the lost items!).