The Two Tiers

Here and there I read about folks having trouble with various programs that they’ve downloaded and installed, and which either suddenly bring their PCs to their knees (through spyware or unwanted add-ins) or, even worse, blue-screen them. QuickTime seems to be a big culprit, as are most things that deal with multi-media.

(A blue-screen is a fairly bad experience; at best, you’ve just lost what you were working on, since a blue screen can only be cleared by a hard reset of the PC. At worst, you’ve lost the contents of the hard drive for good*. It’s time to break out the restore CDs, as well as copies of your programs. It’s a tedious process, but as long as you do regular backups, it’s a lot less painful than it could be. As for backups, my philosophy is basically this: how bad would it be if you lost everything this very moment? Back up accordingly.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I take a different approach. I download stuff to an older PC that I have, and I then install it on that PC as well. If that PC blows up and dies, I don’t care. All I have to do is reinstall Windows and anti-virus and I’m back. The PC has a multi-port USB card, so I can copy data over to thumb-drives and external hard drives. None of the downloads (mostly MP3s, and yes, all legal) touch my regular “main” PC until the stuff has been scanned and pronounced safe (by computers).

Next time you’re in Goodwill or the Salvation Army store and wonder why someone would buy some old junker PC, well, now you know.

I wrote this just so the blog wouldn’t wither away, you know. Because I don’t actually do any of those things! Actually, I do, but thought it would be more interesting if I spiced it up with some lies. But I’ve learned my lesson now, haven’t I, Mr. Happy?

*If you have a USB external drive box, you can sometimes attach the drive as a secondary drive to a working system, and the working system will fix the drive, at least enough to get it booting. Sometimes, too, you can boot on a Linux CD (like Knoppix) and rescue things that way. It’s best not to count it, though, if you’re at that stage.

Have I put everyone to sleep yet? I still see some eyes!

2 thoughts on “The Two Tiers

  1. Oddly, I have yet to back up my systems since first getting my comp 2 1/2 years ago. I do my best to not really store much on it so if I lost the whole system it wouldn’t be a big deal. Thankfully I have a cuz who knows far more than I do about these high tech typrwriters and he’s done a great job of protecting my comp from bad stuff so far. But I do need to do the back up thing…. well maybe tom.

Comments are closed.