What To Do When Your Computer Fails

By | October 6, 2020
This is a note I took based on my experience with computer failure. You can imagine worst situation when everything is closer to an end. It feels frustrating and can lead to despair. You may already found the signs that your hard disk drive, display, touchpad, USB ports, are already in worse condition. Before your machine die for sure, you can learn something from my reflections below as now mine died. It died after worked for me since 2016 almost nonstop everyday. I hope you would never experience any of my story and only got solutions and the good things if anytime things going worse.

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Keep Your Mind Calm

From freedom came elegance. From calm came reasons. From patience came solutions. When I got a trouble I keep talking to myself to calm. Only calm mind can solve a thing. Anger or despair alone cannot. I do not have particular attachments to slogans but GNU/Linux Mint’s slogan came first while I writing this so I put it here and thank you Clement Lefebvre!

Purchase A Capable Computer

First thing is to have a good computer. This is a thing we should do far before everything. A good one is a durable, tested, well acknowledged by capable people. I know I admire Purism Librem laptops until I think to have one, as well as System76’s and Entroware’s but they are expensive to me for now (with respects to them). For my next life, personally I wish I could buy Lenovo Thinkpad for sure as a replacement to the broken one. For a long time I learn about Software Freedom it is Thinkpad that is often praised by activists, and even more awesome than that, all certified laptops by Free Software Foundation in their Respects You Freedom are Thinkpad. I wish that for not only the hardware quality but also the best compatibility to GNU/Linux operating systems compared to other brands. Currently I see either the T430 or the X200 family is desirable. With a good computer you will find good life just any other people for decades long.

Backup

The failed part of my computer is hard disk drive. The problem is that all my data is there and no backup. I regret I didn’t do backup. My excuse is reasonable as I do not have external storage to store copies of files I have as they are gigantic. If only I had a spare external disk drive, I would had them all backed up right away. For my next life, I think I should encrypt all my data in a compressed archive and upload them anyway to online storage (perhaps multiple of them) I trust.

Fix Charger, Don’t Overcharge, Don’t Undercharge

This is electricity trouble. It was already a solved issue for me but when I got this trouble it was devastating. I could not work at all. I could not teach either. If you ever find anomaly with your charger, buy a new one correctly (expensive) or go to an electro technician to fix it up (cheap). I did the latter and it was really a solution. If you live with batteriess, don’t overcharge and don’t undercharge either. Overcharge by keep charging even though battery is full. Undercharge by keep using computer until it runs out of power without shutdown. Overcharge is bad to your battery. Undercharge is bad for your hard disk drive and your data.

Use Non Journaling Filesystem

I believe I must use ext II for my next hard disk drives and not ext IV. I am a person who do not need much technology so even old one but works well (and prolongs my disk drive lifespan) will sufficient to me rather than the new ones that not. I am not interested in butterfly or cow. You cannot save anything if the hardware itself fails. I work heavily (much more heavier than average people) in data so filesystem that writes less is better than filesystem that writes more. Ah, and, actually my hard disk drive mentioned above is a solid state disk. I already used this trick for my SanDisk usb flash drives as I do not have spare storage I use them instead as places to install operating systems I was reviewing and as I said they work very well.

Do Not Throw Away Components

Before this case, I already had another broken laptop, my first one. Fortunately I didn’t trash it. It is Asus X44C but it has a component worth keeping that is Atheros wifi compatible to Trisquel. It is truly a blessing. It means I can swap it (“cannibal”) to another laptop and I can run any of all GNU/Linux distros works with the wifi out of the box without worries. There are some possibilities other componets still worth keeping too, say, the LCD monitor can be sold with good price.

Don’t Overheat

Heat kills. Overheat can destroy your hardware. I believe one of the causes of my hard disk drive failing is heat as Indonesia got very hot lately at noon and in fact this computer is already old. I do have a small usb fan but I don’t use it often as the cable is too short and my touchpad is unusable. For my next life, I plan to purchase a decent usb fan worthy for my laptop.

Don’t Use Failing Dongles

I have a reliable usb wifi I used for years. I like it. It was truly convenient. Unfortunately around the rising of Corona it showed anomaly so bad it made every of all operating systems I use (GNU/Linux) need to be forced shutdown. The worst, it occured very often randomly without predictable pattern and when it occured I always couldn’t do reboot or even reisub to save health of my hard disk drive. Since I removed it such problem never occurs again. I believe it was caused by either hardware bug or some physical failure. If you have failing dongle like that, stop using it, replace it with a new one if you can.

Buy Keyboard Immediately

If your keyboard shows signs of breakage, replace it right away. No matter whether you are an author like me, online teacher, programmer, designer, government worker, or simply computer user, your keyboard is your computing life. It is not a problem in my current case, but I had experienced broken ones three times, and every time it was disaster. Trust me it is counter-productive.

Bubble Wraps

It is a good idea to layer the inner parts of laptop bag with bubble wraps. Bubble wraps are shockbreakers. No matter it is ssd or hdd inside, your laptop deserves safety from shocks and bubble wraps can help and they are very cheap. Use some simple adhesive tapes to install them.

Summary

It is good to have good computer since the beginning. Whenever a hard disk starts failing, do not wait to backup. Whenever we can afford to buy good computer or replacing peripherals, do it immediately. Finally, I wish you all good computing life!


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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