Oh the joys of motherhood. My baby Blanche de Castille (hp dv 6000 laptop) is ill and even as I type this, I might be pushing it. But hopefully, “safe mode” is exactly what it says it is. Safe. So a couple of weeks ago, someone accidentally spilled some liquid on Blanche, and like any true baby who’s exposed to the elements, Blanche has gone through a series of ailments. First her keys were sticky and the quickplay buttons wouldn’t work. I didn’t really mind that, don’t really use them much anyway –except for the mute button.
Then the mousepad was acting iffy. To rectify that, I switched the primary mouse from the left to the right. Thing is, whenever I switch her on, it alternates between the two. So I can never tell which my primary mouse is, unless I remember what it was the last time. Sigh. That I could handle as well.
Next, the battery wouldn’t charge. It got up to 1% battery power left, and anytime I accidentally unplugged the power cord, everything would shut down. Which, you can imagine, can be VERY annoying. Anyway, I figured that so long as it was just the battery, and not the motherboard and all that, I could handle it.
Until. Until Blanche started freezing up. I’d be working on something, and she’d just freeze up. The mouse would move, but nothing was “clickable”. Frustrating! Each time, I’d have to restart her – which I doubt, could be very good for her. Talk about having the flu with chills and the fever!
Finally, I decided to go see the Geek Squad at the local Best Buy. Now tell me how this girl, or rather, her battery, decides to work perfectly once the attendant plugs her in. He didn’t do anything special, I ran him through everything I’d done, but it turns out she just wanted some geek guy to hold her. I mean, how? Isn’t that the ultimate betrayal? Anyway, since her senses are obviously not in the right place, I’ve forgiven her. Her fan is working alright, that’s supposed to be a good sign.
So I come home, thinking everything will be fine. But it’s the same old drill. Turn Blanche on. Work for 5-10 minutes. Screen freezes. Restart. Over and over again. Sigh. I’m a patient person, but not THAT patient. I ran a diagnostics test, which told me her memory was fine. I checked to see if any drivers needed updating. All in top-notch working order — or so it says. Finally, I decided to just restore her to before all these dire symptoms started.
Lucky me, my dad is a computer scientist. So desperate daughter shoots daddy dearest an email about how sick Blanche is, and my dad tells me to use CCleaner, which I’ve done. So far, so good. Maybe if I just work in safe mode it’ll be ok? Thing is, not everything works in safe mode. Like my itunes isn’t working cos the audio hardware is disabled. Sigh. I really hope Blanche gets well soon and that it was just an annoying plug-in or virus that was making her act up. Else I’m gonna have to start a get-jemi-a-laptop fund.
But Alhamdulilahi. I’m not as worked up as I’d normally be. I figured, everything has it’s time and place. And with Haiti going on, who am I to complain about a sick laptop? There are other important things to deal with. Besides, I need to get on studying for the GRE anyway.
In this digital world, things like this creep up all the time. So here are some pointers for you, if you ever have a liquid spill.
1 – Turn off your computer and disconnect the power. According to the geek squad attendant, the computer shouldn’t be used for a good number of days after a liquid spill. I didn’t get that memo early enough.
2 – Back up all your important documents. Use a jump drive, external hard drive, CD, whatever. I couldn’t run a proper back up so I just copied and pasted onto Ebony-Noire (my external hard drive)
3 – Run a virus check. If you already have virus software like McAfee installed, use that. Otherwise, try CCleaner.
4 – If your computer is under warranty, contact the maker — Hp, Dell etc. You might qualify for a free diagnostics or servicing.
5 – Research or contact your tech savvy friends. The geek squad guy told me the diagnostics would cost about $170. After a little research, I figured out how to do it on my own. Check computer forums, youtube etc.
6 – Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the spill (or hardware) but rather your software. Check to make sure all the key drivers have been updated. If so, check to see what your latest updates were. Maybe one of them is causing your computer to malfunction. Restore your computer to just before the update and see what happens. If your computer doesn’t allow you to do this in normal mode, switch to Safe Mode. If you need to get online, use Safe Mode with networking.
7- Reinstall the operating system. If all else fails, you might need to reinstall your OS. Bear in mind that this would mean losing EVERYTHING. Make sure you’ve backed up what you need. Also, make sure you have the necessary software (CDs) to reinstall. Especially if you have Microsoft Office and so on installed. They will be wiped out with the system restore.
8 – Keep the faith. I believe that the personal connection I have with Blanche, helps determine the outcome of many things. I’m sending positive vibes to her right now so she gets well soon. And what would you know? I just worked on an entire blog entry; must be working :)
Besides…there’s no use crying over spilled milk.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.