When last we left my not-so-trusty computer, nuked by a stupid virus, I had just F11'd the hard drive back to its (allegedly) pristine 'factory condition'. This was done after making a backup on my new little external drive, bought just for this occasion.
That was the plan, anyway.
My first clue that things would not go as planned should have been the 'format this before using' instruction sheet, helpfully written in Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, German, Lithuanian, Swahili, Navaho, Nepalese, Papuan, Latin, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and pictures for those of us who speak English. My computer wouldn't even boot Windows--how the heck was I supposed to format the new drive? I'm sure there's some way to do that from the DOS command line, but that wasn't covered in the English pictures. Not to mention I'm allergic to anything done in obscure monochrome abbreviations. I avoid as much as possible the "C>:" (or "C-prompt" for non-geeks--and no, it's usually not prompt in its actions). It was bad enough going to the BIOS settings with its 1976 Pong-style graphics, but at least you get a little color there, and the programmers helpfully spell everything out, so long as you can speak 1337 computerese.
I followed the picture instructions to the letter. Or in this case, to the picture. After plugging in the hard drive, I was greeted with the question "Do you want to make a recovery backup of your files?" I said 'not just yes, but heck yes!' and pushed the appropriate button and waited for the backup. And waited. And waited. And waited. Once that was done, I hit F11, wiping the hard drive and loading from the recovery partition.
This was suspiciously easy.
I expected to jump through 18 million hoops and the obligatory "Do you want to wipe your hard drive?" "Are you sure you want to wipe your drive?" "Have you consulted HP, Microsoft, your loved ones, your friends, and the hackers' forums before you considered this?" "This will destroy everything you've ever made, copied, downloaded (legally or illegally), and listened to in the last 500 years. Are you sure? Really sure?" "Really sure with whipped cream and a cherry on top?" "OK, we can now proceed with wiping the drive, even though we know there's a simpler solution, but we're not going to tell you, ha ha ha." "There. All wiped. Are you happy now?"
I cheerfully plugged in the Maxtor, pulled up the copied files, and looked through the saved files. Only six files were there. Given that I have more than six games installed alone, not to mention all the other files, I was a tad suspicious that something was amiss.
The helpful Windows File Recovery Tool made some interesting choices in what it 'recovered' and copied. I found sample music from iTunes (but none of the music I'd loaded or downloaded). It copied some system files. My favorite was the Adobe PDF instruction manual, never mind the fact that all my actual documents, and Adobe PDF reader itself, were completely gone in electronic oblivion. Luckily, my trusty Hubby had bought a 5Gb card for the new camera, and I hadn't erased the pictures from said card when I uploaded them to my computer. The Good Lord must have been watching out for me in that respect.
It took me about a week to re-install all my files, games, music from iTunes, Firefox bookmarks and extensions, and so forth. You've not lived through computer hell until you've had to deal with lost iTunes music or trying to remember all your passwords.
But wait, there's more.
I discovered the hinge for the lid was cracking, and it was splitting from the screen along the side edge. So, I had to contact HP. And that's yet another story.
It's never a dull moment in my Geeky world....