Backing up the hard drive is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I assume that I can just back the system up on a series of DVDs, but that turns out to be wrong. It won't write to the DVD-ROM drive. I don't know why. I don't get an explanation. It just folds its little arms and says, "Nope."
Allrightythen. So I try backing the C: drive up onto the D: drive (my hard drive is partitioned), and that seems to work until we are about halfway through. Then my computer says, "Uh-oh! File's too big. I won't write anything more than 4 gigs." Fanfreakingtastic. You could have told me that 4 hours ago. And why not, anyway? There's plenty of room!
Saturday, I go out to Circuit City and buy myself an external hard drive (let's hear it for credit cards!) with 200 gigs of space on it (anybody else remember when one gigabyte seemed like a ridiculous amount of memory?). Included in the package is a program designed to backup your hard drive. Yay!
Once I'm back home I install that, get about 75% through the back-up procedure when the program experiences some unexplained error and can't continue.
In frustration, I open up the C: drive and the F: drive (the extension for the external hard drive), and do a file-by-file comparison of what is in them. I move over everything I can. Some things won't go because the machine is using them right now, and one file has a name that is too long -- the system wants me to rename it. What? I didn't name it in the first place, I don't know what it does or what's attached to it. I'm not renaming anything. I wonder if that was what made the back-up software choke. I decide to skip that and hope it isn't important. I am not done the compare/copy process (which I also apply to the D: drive) until 2:30 Sunday morning.
Around noon, I take my poor sick laptop to the Firedog people, reintroduce myself to the guy at the desk (it is the same fellow who was there last week. He vaguely remembers me but not my problem), give him my laptop, the cables and adaptor, my name, address, phone numbers, password for the laptop. He says he'll run some diagnostic tests on it, but he is pretty sure it's the hard drive. He wants to know whether I have some system restore discs (I don't) -- sometimes they give you that with your laptop, sometimes they put the files right on the computer in a partitioned drive. Which is fine, unless the hard drive goes kaflooey, then you have nothing. He says not to worry, he can probably make them, and I tell him that in case he can't I authorize him to buy some for me from the company that made my laptop.
Walking into the apartment with an empty computer bag, I feel rather like the I did when I had to leave my first cat with the vet overnight. That situation did not end well. I hope this one goes better.
On a completely unrelated note, I went back to bellydance class yesterday after a six-month absence. I have one word to describe how I feel today: "Ow."