I recently encountered one of the most frustrating technological experiences of my existence and I feel as though I can only blog about this topic because in the end, I hailed victorious. Sorry to ruin the ending for those who enjoy a suspenseful technological blog, but I assure you, your blood will boil as you read on. This is a story about what happens when you encounter one too many BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) right at the transition point between computer operating systems.
Ah yes, the dreaded blue screen – my computer encountered a fatal error. Literally it died. In the five years I’ve been operating, I’ve now had four laptops. I typically like to replace them after about a year and half because the amount of wear they get under my usage is nearly unprecedented. These machines are on and being used for about fourteen hours every business day and perhaps another eight or so each weekend day. It’s in and out of travel bags, moving from one Starbucks to one airport after another. With this expectation of wear and tear, I use Carbonite to back up my files real-time, every day. And for larger files, I often add a secondary backup to an external hard drive or flash drive. So I wasn’t all that concerned about my files even when I realized my computer would not be coming back to life. I was a bit worried about the delay – it always takes some time to setup a new computer once it’s purchased. But this time around, I had a bigger concern.
BestBuy was no longer selling Windows 7 machines – only the newfangled Windows 8. While I’m generally all for embracing new technology, I don’t like to be the first and particularly if I’m in a rush. A mid week learning curve was not what I had in mind. And to make matters more dire, a number of significant pieces of software I relied upon were not yet compatible with Microsoft’s shiny new untested operating system. In other words, it was useless to me. I begged and pleaded and found one Windows 7 machine on their floor, but I’d have to buy the floor model. What could really be wrong with that?
A lot could be wrong with that. Although it was a highly upgraded machine, there were clearly issues with it. It was giving me Blue Screens of Death within the first week of owning it. So back to BestBuy I’d go in search of another Windows 7 machine. Well that was just not going to happen.
Our new plan? Buy the Windows 8 machine and write Windows 7 right over it since I had the restore disks from my previous computer and it was the same brand. Oh, sure. That sounds quite simple. I have at least two “geek squad” members in my family and it took an intense collaboration to figure out a way around this. The computer’s BIOS were written such that it could only take Windows 8 s we had to find away to disable that piece before we could successfully install Windows 7. All that work to take a brand new machine and make it old. To make it familiar. To make it comfortable. To make it work.
Back to Windows Heaven.