General Quarters

“General Quarters! General Quarters! All hands man your battle stations!”

I don’t hear this call over the 5MC anymore, but yesterday morning felt as if I was back in the stress of GQ. It was 0530 when I woke, and I thought I would try to go back to sleep.

Until I saw the glow emanating from the office. I stuck my head in and immediately knew I had to go to GQ.

There, staring back at me from the darkness of my office was the computer screen, frozen in place, taunting me. The victim of another mid-night Microsoft update.

My heart skipped a beat or two—I realized I had not backed up in a while. Surely, the system really wouldn’t crash, right?

At stake? Two recently completed books, one of 128 pages, the other—a whopping 338 pages. I did not relish the thought of having to completely re-work them.

I really did not want to explain the delays do the authors.

And then there was the question of all the financial records. And sales tracking. And photos.

This was followed by the guilt of not having emplaced a suitable backup plan. Oh, the plan was there, the problem was the plan was basically inadequate.

With everything at stake, it was definitely time to call in the specialists. For $125, they could solve my problems. In a little over 10 days. Problem was, I needed help now! They said, no problem, we can fix it today for $500.

Again, I hear the Klaxon sounding in my head and a sailor intoning us to GQ over the ship’s loudspeakers. I start to get a real queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. This could be bad.

Real bad.

So I have no choice other than “to do what I have to do.” It is time to buy a new hard drive and operating system. And hope I can slave the old drive to the new.

Did I mention I was a little nervous doing all of this? There’s nothing like a little bit of knowledge, shored up with another computer that has access to the Internet.

Cracking into the computer’s case was a little bittersweet—we came across some of Spike’s fur on the inside. He liked sitting hear the warmth generated by the computer.

Inside, I quickly disconnected the hard drive and replaced it with a new 1 terabyte hard drive. After cleaning up the chassis and removing the last of fur left by Spike and Gracie, it was time to close up, reconnect, and install Microsoft 7.

After finishing the clean install on the new drive, it was the moment of truth.

I opened the case once again and re-installed the original hard drive, slaving it to the new one. When I turned on the power, I was disappointed to see the computer did not recognize or read the original drive. Back to the Internet on the laptop and into the manual on the desktop.

After double-checking the cables and connecting one left undone, it was time to try again.

The power came on and—wow!—there they were! All the files from the old hard drive. To say I was one very happy camper is a bit of an understatement. In the deep recesses of my mind, I could hear the petty officer calling out over the ship’s speakers.

“All hands! Stand down from General Quarters!”


©2011 J. Clark

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4 Responses to General Quarters

  1. Jeanne says:

    So happy you got things up and running again!

    • Joe Clark says:


      Thank you. It has been a terrible past two days! I have almost got everything back to normal, but I think it will be another couple of days…


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