... you must be getting sick of them, ho ho.
The netbook hard drive is dead. A dodo is alive and well, and in training for an Olympic event, in comparison. I bought an 'enclosure', which lets me connect the netbook drive to another computer as an external drive, and I have found that my Lidl laptop doesn't even recognise that a drive is there. Apparently, after much Googling, it seems that either the drive controller is toast or, worse, that the drive itself is damaged and beyond simple surgery. Either way, to get my data back would involve sending the drive off to a data recovery outfit and paying about £300 and upwards to get the files back.
What have I lost? About 6 months' worth of photographs. A record of my weight loss since 1 January. All the maintenance and fuel records of the bikes. Microsoft Money files that I had painfully brought up to date after a period of financial neglect. Backups of this blog. Nothing earth-shattering or life-changing. Just a fucking nuisance. So data recovery is out. The drive is going in the bin. But what to do now?
Option 1: the Lidl laptop
It's actually quite a decent machine. It's still host to some unpleasant scripts (which is why I got the netbook in the first place) which make its behaviour erratic, but as a piece of hardware I can't complain. Screen's good, keyboard's good, internal stuff seems robust. Option to back it all up, and then re-install Vista from scratch and carry on. Cost? If I can find the original Vista disk, nothing, but that's a major uncertainty. I've had a complete clearout of the room that had all the computer stuff, and I can't remember seeing it. So, let's say £60 for a new installation disk. On a 3-year-old laptop that has wear marks where my wrists have been and a duff battery that means it is mains power or nothing.
Option 2: Resurrect the Netbook
Again, nothing wrong with the hardware. The screen's covered in spots (do I cough that badly? Jeez) and the keyboard has crumbs under the keys, but nothing that a screen wipe and a vacuum attachment can't sort out. New drive, £60. Have an XP disk, so nothing for software, assuming I can get it to load (yes, I have invested in a USB CD drive). Upside - very portable, neat little machine that performs way above what it looks as if it can do. Holidays, bike trips, pop it in a tankbag and you have the internet anywhere there is a wifi hotspot. Battery life is awesome - 6-7 hours at the last count. Metallic blue cover looks pretty good too. Downside - I don't think I ever used it where I could not have taken a full-size laptop quite easily. And I got really fed up of looking at the World Wide Wait through that letterbox of a screen. And the wifi card was really poor - signal 'very low' even within sight of the router. And the keyboard was tiny, and most of my typing time was spent back-deleting errors because my man-size fingers couldn't cope with the My First Computer key spacing.
Option 3: Lash out on a New Laptop
Cost £250 and upwards. Windows 7, speed, modernity, pleasure of a new toy.
Decisons, decisions. I have actually found an OEM Vista disk (thanks, Anna), so Option 1 is becoming more realistic (especially in view of the forthcoming France trip and the previous post regarding reduced pay). But your thoughts, as ever, would be welcome.
Incidentally, huge thanks to commenter Ripper, who has been extremely helpful in talking me through the diagnostics on the dead hard drive and the mechanics of resurrecting the machine. Cheers, mate, much appreciated.