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31 May 2016 @ 10:44 am
The Black Screen of Death  
Yesterday, my computer died. Right after I finished playing Shatterhand--literally, like two minutes afterward--the screen went black. Restarting the computer produced a restart loop where the dark colors had an alternating pattern of blues lines, and while it booted into safe mode and worked fine when I uninstalled the graphics drivers (well, relatively fine since the blue lines were still there), installing a new graphics driver in an attempt to figure out if it was a corrupted driver installation caused it to completely shit the bed.

When I left this morning, it had run a full CHKDSK and found nothing, then failed to start Windows and Startup Repair wasn't able to fix the problem. I left it running MemTest this morning, but even if that does find and fix a problem, my computer's days are now sharply numbered. Now that it's catastrophically failed--there was no warning and no performance problems, it just stopped working--I can't trust it.

Fortunately, I've got backups. I know that backups are like Schrödinger's cat and they are of indeterminate quality until used, but most of my stuff is redundant. I have a full cloud backup, a lot of my books and documents are backed on my iPad, my music is on my phone and an external HD (where my media is as well, plus another backup of the documents), some stuff is on softlykarou's computer as well...I certainly have plenty of places to go to get my information from. The only problem will be getting it onto the new computer, since pulling down 1 TB of backup will take forever. Though not as long as it took to upload it!

I already ordered a new computer and paid a bit extra for faster shipping and same-day processing. The computer that just failed I built, and it worked for five years, with the only problems that ever cropped up when I tried to play heavily-modded Skyrim and the budget Nvidia GFX 570 I bought in 2011 couldn't handle it. Other than that, my gaming tastes have changed. Now, the games I anticipate are ones like Chasm or Eitr or I Am Setsuna, games that I'm pretty sure my old computer could run flawlessly. Of course, my stomach is trying it gnaw its way out of my body with worry--what if I wasted my money, what if it arrives defective, what if it fails just outside the warranty, what if, what if--but there's nothing I can do except wait and remind myself that the ratings on that particular model are good and the tales of computers arriving with massive problems are not automatically representative.

Well, it was five years old and it served me well. I was planning on replacing it anyway, just not for another month or two. In the meantime, I still have my phone and my tablet, so I guess I'll be doing more reading for the next couple of days.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Retro Game Audio podcast
Bendrydem on May 31st, 2016 03:58 pm (UTC)
Dropbox pro is 8.25 a month and gives you 1TB of storage, which can be useful for backup transfers, as there is no requirement for how long, if you can get your old computer to connect to the internet for a while. It's not fast, but it automates the process pretty well in my experience.
dorchadasdorchadas on May 31st, 2016 04:05 pm (UTC)
I have a full backup on Backblaze (unlimited storage size!), and I checked it last night and it's current as of when my computer was in safe mode and I backed it up while it was still working.

Currently, my computer is an expensive paperweight that can't boot to Windows, but I'll definitely be doing more backing up if I can get back in to safe mode...
Bendrydem on May 31st, 2016 04:09 pm (UTC)
Well, that sounds like good news. or as good news as can be expected in the situation.
dorchadasdorchadas on May 31st, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah!  photo emot-qfg.gif

I mean, if the problem is hard drive failure, then some of the backup might be corrupt and I won't know until I try it, but since it spontaneously imploded and I had no problems until then, I'm hopeful that my backups likewise are good.