It started out like any other ordinary day. I sipped coffee while checking email and social media.
9:00 AM – I opened Microsoft Word to get some real work accomplished. It surprised me that I’d left three documents open from the day before. A draft of my Boob Report and a travel post listed as Document 2 and 3 hadn’t been named. The third was my book. I rewrote 202 pages during the last week and had been hitting Control, Save without changing the file name. I checked my saved files. Whoa! The last time my computer saved my book was on 8-8 and it was 8-15. My computer had been acting glitchy after downloading 5000 photos from my vacation. I had purchased an external hard drive and had freed up another 5 GBs.
Not too worried, I pressed, “Save as” expecting the filename option to come up, when my computer froze. I got an error message, “The Dialog box is open.” What the heck is an Open Dialog Box?
9:21 – I tried everything and then called my husband Danny. He gave me the name of his IT guy, Matt.
10:57 – Matt called me back and began working on the computer via internet.
11:40 – He called to give me the bad news. “I can’t find those files anywhere. I think you’re screwed. Just Control, Alt, Delete and reboot, but you won’t be able to save your files.
11:57 – I freaked out! I called Danny in tears. “I worked all week on those stories and my rewrite. What should I do?”
“You’ll probably have to Control, Alt, Delete.”
“I’m not giving up.”
I looked at the Ctrl, Alt, Delete buttons on my computer, but my hands shook. I …couldn’t…press…the…buttons…
12:05 – I went online and Googled the “open dialog box error” message. A Microsoft support message came up. The day before, I had changed the default font from Calibri to Times Roman and had screwed the pooch. I would have to find, “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\STARTUP,” on my computer, double-click to open Word, delete the default setting and then simply save my documents. Sounds easy right?
I searched everywhere for that file. I could not find it anywhere.
12:49 – I called Matt again and explained my new dilemma. “That’s not your problem. You don’t have enough memory so your computer can’t function the way it’s supposed to. Just Control, Alt, Delete and be done with it.
I freed up more GBs and went back to work
12:59 – I called Microsoft. The tech support woman said, “If you pay $199 dollars you can get service for a year or one of our tech experts can help you today for $99. Personally, I would try Control, Alt, Delete, but most likely you will lose your files.
I continued searching in hidden files.
1:51 – I called Best Buy and spoke with one of their computer geeks. “I would Control, Alt, Delete. It is very unlikely that your computer will save your files. I am so sorry.”
I screamed, I prayed, I cried, and I cursed my computer for not having more memory. I cursed myself for not freeing up more memory.
2:00 – I had a Eureka moment. “I’ll let the computer solve the problem. It suggested “Restoring” the computer to two days ago on the 13th. AHA! My computer is so smart. It recognized the problem was the dang open dialog box in the new default setting. All I had to do was press Restore. It stated it would not alter any documents. Woohoo! I’ll fix it myself! I did a happy dance around my office.
2:14 – I called Danny and shouted, “I fixed it!”
He said he was proud of me for not giving up and for figuring it out by myself. While he was talking, I watched the Restore bar move in waves as the computer restored to its defaults from two days ago.
“You should call Matt and tell him. Maybe it will help someone else.”
2:21 – I called Matt and explained what I was doing.
In a commanding tone, he said, “YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR FILES IF YOU RESTORE YOUR COMPUTER!”
I hung up and freaked out. I pressed the x in the corner of the Restore box several times. It continued restoring. It wouldn’t stop! I pressed CONTROL, ALT, DELETE! CONTROL, ALT, DELETE! CONTROL, ALT, DELETE!
The Restore box disappeared. Then icons dropped off the computer. The screen went black and the computer shut down.
I stood up and screamed.
ALL THAT WORK!
My heart banged away at an alarming rate. Was I having a heart attack? Knowing how unhealthy this was for my heart and my healing, I took a deep breath. Its galloping pace decelerated a to a quick trot.
I held my breath and rebooted my computer. None of my programs remained open.
Afraid to look, I opened up Microsoft Word. At the top of the page, three documents had been saved in temp files.
The Foreboding – Original Version 8-8
Relief that my documents had been saved was brief as I looked at the file of my book and realized I may be screwed like Matt predicted. Original Version 8-8. No!!!
I opened up my 440-page novel. I remembered one of my last edits on the 14th. I had changed a wooden box to a peach crate. I held my breath and scrolled to page 202. At the top of the page, my protagonist said, “Thank God!”
Was it an omen?
I scanned through the paragraphs and found the words, “peach crate.”
Thank God is right! I almost fell over.
2:34 – I called Danny. Relieved and happy for me, he suggested I call Matt to relay the good news.
2:39 – Matt said, “I would NEVER count on that happening ever again. You are very lucky.”
I backed up the files as my hands continued to shake.
After shutting my laptop, I descended the stairs on wobbly legs and baked six dozen cookies and a cake. Even after watching Superbad, my nerves still jangled. Two days later, I opened a new file in Microsoft Word. It came up in Calibri. It did restore the defaults, but didn’t delete my documents.
Matt was right. I am lucky…
I went back to dreaming and posting on social media with a slight change in diet.
Have you ever lost an important document?
Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!
Easy thing to do is email the latest version of what you’ve written to your own email address (work or home or both) every time you finish a session.That way, if your computer goes wrong or you lose it, the work is out there waiting to be retrieved with a couple of clicks!
I had been doing that believe me. I just had a major lapse of laziness. It was sooooo silly and such a huge waste of energy. Now it is backed up every which way possible.
Thanks for reading my perilous adventure…:)
Oh wow! I could feel your heart beating! I would feel the same way if there was a chance I’d lose all my photographs! I’ve got so many on my laptop and thousands more on my portable hard drive… the thought of losing them has me hyperventilating! So glad it worked out for you 😉
I am so glad you “got into it.” I tried to convey what it was like to stress out for 6 hours. Everything is backed up now!!
Matty to the rescue! haha 🙂 I recommend ‘publishing’ your new novel and keeping the audio rights! Also getting an inhaler, just in case… You’re reads are compelling!!! & Thanks SUSIE
Thanks so much Someone!
I think that is exactly what I need to do. I will feel so much better when it is on “old school” paper!! 🙂
Haha… Oh dear, what a frightful adventure! Forget everything else on the PC, it’s all about the book. 🙂 Microsoft is far to glitchy for me, which is why I use Mac. Never had a problem. I double up by using Time Machine (automatic back up). Plus save on a server password protected on temporary intervals. Plus USB. It’s safe to say that book isn’t going anywhere 🙂
I learned my lesson to say the least! I save everything now in several ways. That was such a waste of energy and time!
Thanks for stopping by Barry!
You have some seriously good mojo going on, Susie! Oh, but I get the panic. I’ve come close to disaster many times… the worst was near the end of a video project and my hard drive appeared to have died without my having backed up any of the footage or anything. Luckily for me, it was just a problem with the power cable. In your case, it is nothing short of miraculous!!
Oh my goodness what a scare! I am really glad for you that it turned out okay in the end!! 😀
I back up my work daily now. Ha!
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I had a back up drive that died. I lost over 10,000 photos, so now I have two back up drives!!
It’s mad how much data we all have isn’t it!?
Oh, nooooooooooo!!!!! I need to buy a second and a third back up drive. I do pay extra for iCloud storage. I should print the ones I love most!
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Wow thank goodness you didn’t have a heart attack or lose all of your work!!
Ha! It took me a long time to get my heart rate back down to normal. 🙂 I set up the cloud and bought a backup drive. I also send my WIP to myself through email. I’ve learned my lesson! I hope….
Thanks for reading, Rachael!
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I bet it did.
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I felt your fear as mine. I know this story. Lived this story. I survived too.
You know how intense that was!!! I remember how he said, “Don’t click to revert,” and I already had. Ha!
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