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broken-laptopSeveral weeks ago I wrote about how I was fretting over my computers. One had seemingly died; the other was on life support. Then they both disappeared.

The desktop gathered dust on top of the desk it lived for seven years while I used my plugged in laptop on my separate writing table. As long as I had my laptop there was no urgent need to decide what to do with the monstrosity that overwhelmed my desk.

And then I had no laptop.

As is Microsoft’s wont, they flashed me a message saying I must restart my computer to install a new update to my Windows 10. The update proceeded as normal, taking much longer than I expected but dutifully telling how far along it had progressed – 45%, 57%, 76%, 81%, 81%, 81%, 81%, 81%. Hmmm, seems stuck.

It got worse.

Suddenly the laptop flashed to a blue screen asking me what language keyboard I was using. Umm, okay. English. Got it. Now, choose whether to go back to a previous version of Windows or insert a disk to reinstall Windows. Ummm, NoooooooooOOOOOOOO!

Many hours and attempts later I gave up on fixing it. The required Microsoft Update, which I had no option to avoid, had eaten my operating system. I had gone from two computers to no computers.

Flash forward: Past the grief, the agony, the growing homicidal feelings; I had to do something. A writer without a computer just doesn’t work.

It’s a few days later now and I’m back to two computers. I decided a new desktop was in order so ran out and grabbed an “All-in-One” Lenovo, to which I’m still in the process of uploading my many thousands of photos and documents backed up on an external hard drive (phew). Such a hassle to find my key “favorites,” which didn’t transfer, and remember the hundreds of passwords needed to reach all my important information.

I also have my laptop back. Sort of. Some googling via someone else’s working laptop found a place to download something called “installation media” onto a thumb drive, which after many attempts finally reinstalled Windows 10 onto my laptop. I was even able to download and reinstall my Office software without having to rebuy it. Again, my browser favorites are all gone and I’m resetting forgotten passwords for every site I visit. But at least I have a laptop to work on. It’s still getting old and I still probably should replace it.

Maybe I’ll wait until I finish paying for the “All-in-One.”

David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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