05 August 2008

Laptop Computer Miseries!

I know, it’s been a while since I last made an entry to any of my blogs as well as my websites. However, just after the 4th of July holiday my trusty laptop computer – basically the web design nerve center of both EdwardRingwald.com and Interstate275Florida.com - began acting sluggish. A couple of days later for no apparent reason, when I turned on my laptop it began to report that there are corrupted Windows system files (the files that enable your computer to work) among other things which prevented my laptop from starting up properly as it should. Once I got my laptop going (finally!) I immediately backed up all the files on my laptop – which contains my work on both EdwardRingwald.com and Interstate275Florida.com including revamping work I was doing on Interstate275Florida.com – onto a portable hard drive.

Once that was done, it was off to the Geek Squad located inside Best Buy on North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, just north of Interstate 275’s Exit 41. The Geek Squad technicians – called “agents” – took a good look at my laptop and it indeed required service. Luckily, my laptop was covered under a service plan I purchased at the same time I purchased my laptop in December 2006 thanks to a wonderful Best Buy sales associate. Ironically, that was the same sales associate who helped me when I purchased my nephew’s laptop when he graduated from high school several months later!

So, out goes the paperwork that the Geek Squad needed to check in my laptop for service. With an in-store turnaround of one week at the time, that meant I would be without my laptop and I would have to be dependent on my two desktop computers I have at home for a while, if not longer. That’s right, no laptop.

One week passed. Geek Squad called me and informed me that there were hardware issues that could not be resolved in the store such as the memory modules, among other things. In short, my laptop had to be sent out to Geek Squad Central for repair. That meant another two weeks without my laptop – ouch!

Welcome to the world of life without my laptop computer.

Things would be a little tougher without my trusty laptop: No checking my email, no working on my websites – I was without my laptop while it was in the hands of the Geek Squad. But I managed to sell a couple of items on eBay using my desktop computer at home. At least that’s what backup computers are for.

All of this while my laptop was shipped out of state for repair.

Another two weeks have gone by without any word on how my laptop is doing. So, I pay a visit to the Geek Squad over at Best Buy one Saturday afternoon while I am out and about to check on its status. You can check the status of your computer repair at Geek Squad online, but it only gives you little information. However, since I was in the vicinity of Best Buy on Dale Mabry and Interstate 275 I stopped by.

Some good news came out of my visit to the Geek Squad:

The good news was that Geek Squad Central found nothing serious with the hardware part of my laptop, which was a relief. The memory modules were OK and the Windows system files were repaired in order to get the laptop working.

Now the bad news:

Due to file corruption issues within the system files of Windows XP, Geek Squad strongly suggested that I reinstall Windows completely from the restore DVDs. Geek Squad offered to do it for me, but I rather save the money for an upcoming trip by doing the Windows restoration by myself. Unfortunately, the extended service plan does not cover software repair, only hardware repair.

So, my laptop was on its way back from Geek Squad Central to Tampa. Wait practically an extra week to allow for UPS to deliver.

I got the telephone call when I got home from work that I was expecting: It was the Geek Squad saying that my laptop was ready to be picked up. In other words, after almost a month without my laptop it was time to be reunited once more.

It was simple as hopping into my car and making the short drive on Interstate 275 to Exit 41 (the Dale Mabry exit) and to Best Buy. I was excited to get my laptop back, minus some difficulty with a Geek Squad agent who was not interested in rendering good customer service when I picked up my laptop (I spoke to the manager about what happened and it was resolved to my satisfaction). Once I had my trusty laptop back in my hands I took it back home.

The next day it was time to reinstall Windows XP using a format and reinstall method to ensure that all the Windows system files are good as intact. But I made sure that I backed up all of my data files – including my website files – before doing so.

I spent practically all Saturday afternoon performing a clean reinstall of Windows XP using the recovery DVDs that I had. By late Saturday night after plenty of laptop restarts and uninstalling unneeded software (as well as installing the software I use) my laptop was back in business. Just restore all the data files and I am good to go, which I have done.

I got to admit, the Geek Squad did the best job possible in identifying what went wrong with my trusty laptop and even took the time to send it out for evaluation and repair. Now I can work on my websites once again.

Without the miseries, of course.

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