Good news, hackers!

Great news for hackers, folks.

My hard drive crashed a couple of days ago, and I tried desperately to restore my stuff to a new HD.  First up was the re-installation of Windows 8.1.  Not a problem?  Easy for you to say!  As it happens, I had downloaded it in the first place, and so had no installation disc.  I had, of course, been diligent and created recovery media, including an image of my system, that, according to all accounts, would allow me to restore everything, just as if nothing had happened.  My computer would be new inside, but no one the wiser.

I loaded the recovery flash drive and booted up.  Immediately a message came up: cannot restore, missing sector on drive.  Well, hello, it’s brand new.  Must be a mistake; tried again.  Same message, this time with the helpful suggestion that Windows would have to format the drive before I could restore on it.  Except, of course, I didn’t have Windows anymore, did I?!  No worries, though.  I had also diligently written down the activation key for Windows; I could download a new copy on my laptop, and install from that.

Or not.

That key was no longer active, probably because I had never uninstalled Windows from the drive that crashed.  Had I known it was going to, I would have deactivated Windows moments before, but, oddly, I got no warning (sarcasm alert).  What to do?  Call Microsoft.

Ever try to find a contact number for Microsoft on their website?  After running you around in circles for a sufficient time, they offer a “chat” instead.  Sounds delightfully cozy, a nice chat with your buddy from Microsoft.  Of course, it takes awhile; 20 minutes, to be precise, before your buddy becomes available.  I pressed the button that said I would prefer that they call me, and gave them my number.  After another 20 minutes, they did.

“Hello, this is —- at Microsoft Office support.  How may I help you?”

“But I want Windows support, not Office.”

“I’m so sorry. I’ll have a representative from Windows support call you.”  Another 15 minutes passed.

“Hello, this is —- at Microsoft Office support.  How may I help you?”

Arrgh!  Was this the “chat” I had been promised?

Eventually, I got through to a nice fellow in India, which is where Microsoft has determined to be the most secure spot in the world, apparently, because that’s where you go for any sort of meaningful help.  Even so, even after I had reluctantly given him control of my laptop remotely, it took the nice fellow 4 hours to download a new copy of Windows 8.1, complete with a new activation key, to my laptop and save it to a flash drive.  Yes!  Now I could install it on the new HD, and restore my beloved desktop, with all the software I love!

Or not.

Long story short, restoration from the image could not be accomplished, because it had been made from an earlier version of Windows.  Nor could I use any of the regular restore points to at least get my documents back, because THEY WERE ON THE OLD DRIVE, WEREN’T THEY?

I threw in the towel, utterly defeated.  Off to Best Buy, where they had a nice computer for sale for $400.  I now have to re-install all of my software, half of which have secret keys and codes to which a mere mortal such as myself, who doesn’t even live in India, has no access.

The good news is, I can now verify that computer software and the internet are totally and completely secure from legitimate users like me; only hackers can get access.

Note to anyone who even whispers the word “Mac:”  for $400, you might be able to get a keyboard.