12 Jun

Author’s Note: BSOD

So, we almost had a post this week. Almost. I’ve been struggling to get to it over the past few days, and finally managed to power through it tonight. I was so close to finishing that I was all but pasting it into WordPress and fondling the ‘publish’ button.

And then the netbook computer made a weird noise and blue-screened on me. Cue heart-stopping, oh-shit-you-did-not moment.

No, it’s okay, I told myself. I saved a bunch of times. I won’t have lost much.

Ha ha, my computer says back, that’s what you think. And then it burped as it restarted, smugly.

Okay, it didn’t actually burp. But it did eat the post. The whole. Damn. Post. Gone. Vanished. Missing. Possibly on a milk carton somewhere. I don’t know if it corrupted itself or reset back to the last backup or what, but it’s gone. Wordcount: 0. It was nearly 2,000.

Now, it’s almost 11pm and I really can’t stay up to rewrite it. I’m furious and tired and and frustrated, and about ready to pitch the stupid netbook across the room. Not the best mindset for creating a wondrous work of fiction (or even a semi-competent one).

I’ve been pondering getting a new netbook recently. Maybe it heard me. Or maybe this is a sign that yes, sooner rather than later would be good.

I will rewrite the post. It will be even better than the one I was almost ready to put up. Starry might even punch a space whale in the nose.

But it will not be tonight. My dear readers, please accept my apologies for the delay. The computer ate my homework. It will be suitably chastised very soon, when I can restrain the urge to take a hammer to it.


From a frustrated writer,

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15 Responses to “Author’s Note: BSOD”

  1. Osolodo Says:

    The last time I had similar urges, I donned a pair of boxing gloves and tried to put a dent in a brick wall.
    It was very therapeutic.

  2. Gryffon2 Says:

    As your last post: Four Words

    Where is my Post?


    Sorry to here your puter got hungry and ate the post, look forward to seeing the new version. Take your time, we’ll be here

  3. Marcus Says:

    Hate hearing news like that. Have had computers eat term papers and such when I was in school, so I know the feeling.
    Take your time, it will come back to you.

  4. Damien Says:

    When you pickup a new computer, you might want to look into a USB drive for backing up on to. Saves on the headaches.

  5. Damien Says:

    Thought about it for a bit, if you had your word processing program set to auto backup every so often your files are there on the HD.
    Go to control panel/folder options click the view tab and click the radio button under hidden files that says view hidden files. They should be in your my documents folders with a $ in front of the file name. If it gives odd file names opening them with your Word program one by one till you find the right one. Time consuming yes, but not as much as having to re-write the whole thing.

  6. Melanie Says:

    Thanks for understanding, everyone. I appreciate it!

    Damien – I’ll have a look when I get home (I’m much calmer today 😉 ), but blue screens usually eat up the temp files. I checked with a techie friend of mine. Definitely worth a try, just in case. You never know, right?

  7. Damien Says:

    A lot of times those temp files just point the program to backups, which is why after a BSOD the program has no record of where the back up is.(because the BSOD prevented the program from updating it’s location file) Generally those temp files are located in the Documents and settings/(user name)/local settings/ Application Data. You should be able to locate the backups after you change your view settings.

  8. Melanie Says:

    Good to know, thanks! I’ll check tonight. 🙂

  9. Targetdrone Says:

    awww… bsods are nasty… there are allways ways to mitigate their Impact, it all jus depends on how many Loops you can get yourself to jump through though :p

    i mean, actually working on a networked file, residing on a raid 1 disk Array can mitigate Impacts from nasty crashes…. all depends on your Setup though :p

    anyways… best Suggestion in a Situation like this : controlled breathing…. helps getting the Frustration/Anger under control, and if you don’t do that, the Computer will actually negatively Impact your health… and we don’t want that… Computers are replaceable… good writers…. not so much 😛

  10. Remy Says:

    No one else mentioned it, so I thought I’d suggest it:

    Consider typing into a google doc – they auto save almost as fast as you type, and it’s “backed up” all over google’a cloud.

    There isn’t even a save button.

    Then copy/paste in one hit when it’s done.

    Other niceties : you can have the same doc open from you phone, and add it it as ideas occur. And it tracks changes automatically, so you can revert to older versions if you want.

    This way, you won’t ever lose more than a sentence or so, no matter how flakey your computer.

    Also, consider buying a good Bluetooth keyboard with proper mechanical key switches.
    That way you don’t even need the computer, assuming you’ve some smart phone.
    You can have a proper full size keyboard that’s nice to type on and just pull it out and turn it on when you want it.

  11. Remy Says:

    Oh, steer clear of the cheap Bluetooth keyboards, look for ones with Cherry keyswitches.
    I have a fold up Bluetooth keyboard that is practically useless. But I’m fairly sure majestouch make one – there must be others too.

    Anything that says it’s Bluetooth will work with any iPhone / Android / tablet.
    Expect to pay about a hundred dollars – but it’s an investment into reducing your stress, and you are a “master craftsman” : Don’t suffer bad tools, replace ’em with ones you can trust.

    Great work BTW, your site is the first I open when I get home, I really look forward to new chapters 🙂

  12. David Says:

    Wow, love this series, read three and a half books in the last two days….

    Now I’m caught up and need to wait… No more Starry for a bit.

    Sorry to hear about the latest post, sounds like you need Elliott to take a look at that laptop.

  13. mjkj Says:



  14. Melanie Says:

    Thanks for all the awesome advice, guys!

    David – if only I had my own Elliott. Every home should have one!

    Damien – sadly, no hidden files to salvage what was lost. Bad laptop, no biscuit.

    Cloud computing is great for backing up in this kind of situation. Sadly, I do most of my writing offline (on trains and such), so it’s not really feasible. As soon as it’s finished, it gets uploaded onto the blog (which is almost as good as putting it in the cloud), so there’s always a backup somewhere else. (I have backup scripts on the server as well, preserving the site and its data.) The only vulnerable time is when I’m actually writing… which is, of course, what happened.

    I use yWriter to write and manage the project on my laptop, which saves each post as an RTF file. Its auto-save functionality isn’t great, so I’m going to look into ways to supplement it.

    In the meantime, I went and invested in a new laptop over the weekend. (As Remy said, invest in good tools!) My poor old netbook is 5 years old now, so it’s about time. I have spent a couple of days battling with Windows 8 and it’s all set up now. yWriter is installed and the Starwalker files are all transferred over. I have started rewriting what I lost.

    Onwards, my friends. More soon, I promise!

  15. Melanie Says:

    Update on the technological woes: the new laptop is a massive fail. My hand is still sore from typing on it last night, and the touchscreen is already unreliable. I’ll be exchanging it for something better on the weekend.

    And then hopefully I’ll have something lovely and easy to write on! There will be more writing, more Starwalker, more fun for all!