Oh no, my precious

I’ve been doing it for 35 years and I can tell you it’s not difficult to keep a personal computer up and running smoothly. For Windows, you just follow three simple steps:

  1. Install a top-rated anti-virus and anti-malware suite before you do anything else, and never click on anything you can’t personally vouch for.
  2. Backup your brains out. All drives — hard drives, solid-state drives, thumb drives — will fail; keep two if not three copies of everything valuable.
  3. Wipe and reinstall everything to give your PC a fresh start every six months.

I broke Rule #2 — ironically, all the files from my PC were backed up on my USB flash drive, my inch-long life, my everything, but not all the files on the flash drive existed on the PC. So when my magic key started throwing errors and “Windows cannot repair the drive” messages last night, there was nothing for me to do but wail.

Now I have to do Step #3, which sometimes I find a pleasant, tidying pastime in a Martha Stewart way, but I can’t spare the day it takes to do it. Back in the days of floppy disks and Disk Operating Systems (pronounced “doss”), I used to sing about it:

The light came on and the disk spun
I fought the DOS and the DOS won
I looked for my files and found none
I fought the DOS and the DOS won

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