Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oh dear, not again

Its been a long winter of computer problems.  Shortly after we got back on the boat I lost all network connectivity on my prime laptop.  I think I can do a non-destructive re-install of Windows so I wasn't overly worried about that.  That of course has to wait until we get back to Buchanan.  Both Marilyn and I use the same model of Dell and we carry several identical backup laptops so I just pulled one out of storage and fired it up.  That's when the "issues" started appearing.

Initially I think it was storage in damp conditions.  Of the three backups we had onboard, none would do a clean boot and none were really useable when they did finally boot.  They would beep wildly during the boot and once they finally loaded some or all of the keys were non-functioning.  The keyboard on my prime laptop was still useable so I was able to sort of work through that initial problem and I got a backup laptop running with a partial restore of my data.  I've got something like 140 GB of data (lots of photos) in my main backup so I didn't even think about a complete restore.  That worked really well until about a week ago when something else happened.

This time its a corrupt user profile and I don't know whether that was caused by some kind of malware or whether it "just happened".  It seems really unlikely that I got struck by two random events in such a short period of time but I can't find anything malicious on either machine and I've looked really hard.  The user profile problem is apparently a known problem with Windows 7 and again, the only possible solution is a non-destructive re-install of the operating system.  That of course also has to wait until we get back to Buchanan because we don't carry all our original media with us.

I've managed to get the machine with the corrupt user profile sort of functioning.  It still has network access but anything that requires a temporary user directory won't work.  So I can't send email (but I can receive just fine), can't use Windows Livewriter to make this post (but I can do it online), I've lost my desktop and I get to respond repeatedly to prompts that should have their answers stored in my user profile.

We got up Monday morning in Vancouver to glorious sunshine and calm waters.  We hadn't planned to cross back to the Island until later this week but Monday seemed too good a day to pass up so we got underway before noon, got a good lift from the ebbing tide and were back on the dock in Cowichan Bay for a late supper.   We'll enjoy a few days of socializing on the dock before we go to a yacht club outing at Otter Bay in early April.  We're starting to count the days until we can return to Buchanan.  I've been checking the webcams in the mountain passes and most of them are already free of snow.  Our schedule could still be deranged by a day or two by a spring blizzard but our current plan is to leave here around April 7th. 

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