What do you do when your computer crashes?

Last week, I encountered with one of my biggest nightmares: a crashing laptop. It’s been four years since I purchased my Macbook Pro, and I know for a fact that I overused this poor machine. It is a laptop but I don’t think it’s meant to traveled this much. This laptop has traveled with me to more than 30 countries. My beautiful screen has been cracked for two years (just the glass), and of course, I dropped it a couple times. Poor thing. I wouldn’t blame it for giving up its life at this point. But financially, it would be a nightmare.

Last week while synchronizing my Dropbox folder, I experienced extreme delays. Something was wrong. I carefully stopped and examined folder by folder, and something was definitely wrong. So many errors, a slow hard drive, the constant rainbow cursor… My brain and heart sank to the floor. “This is not happening!”

I moved important files and folders to my external hard drive (when I wasn’t having ‘-36 error’), and checked for software updates. I admit, I’m not the best at taking care of my electronics. I know enough to do better, but as always I’m just being lazy. When I was using Windows based computers, most of the problems were easily fixed by reinstalling Windows. It wipes the hard drive clean so you can start fresh. I knew this was different but I thought I’d try it at least.

It was time to enter the world of Maverick.

While downloading the new OS through my slow wifi connection (it took three days), I had the chance to backup more files. The hard drive acted better after I cut off the connection with Dropbox, but I was still afraid of loosing important files. My book that I’m writing, new software I downloaded, important documents for AWE, freelance articles… I double and triple backed things up. But my computer was still giving me -36 error, and I couldn’t move big files. Now, the question was… what about these tiny little images and documents?!


Do you ever get the feeling that you have too much junk on your hard drive? No matter how much you try, every corner of the computer is filled with photos and documents that fall into the categories of what I need, what I want, and the fuzzy area of what probably I don’t need but couldn’t trash. For years and years, I didn’t even know so many files were there, but all of a sudden, faced with the task, I didn’t know what to do with them. It felt too tedious to back them up, but I wasn’t ready to let them go either. Media trip itineraries from two years ago, brochures from some B&B where I stayed, funny images, inspirational quotes, blog articles, draft emails… I could probably get them again if I need to, but for some reason, I couldn’t just trash them.

There were times in the past when my hard drive quit on me without any notice . It was the time when I was using a PC. Those crash more easily since I was moving a lot, and it was the time before external hard drives. If the PC crashed, I lost everything. I would be devastated for a week or so, and then I’d bounce back. After all, most of the files I lost were probably ones I didn’t really need. The crucial documents were already backed up on CDs.

While I was devastated, but I was secretly glad. I was given a chance to start fresh. I didn’t want to, but the chance was given. I would re-organize my hard drive how I wanted, make specific folders for specific things, and try not to clog it so much; I could do it all over again. So why couldn’t I make this opportunity for myself? Why couldn’t I just back everything up and click the reinstall button without the computer crashing in the first place? Why do we wait for the push?

Most people have a hard time letting things go.

And because of that, we are secretly waiting for an outer source to push us to the next level. Same as with cleaning the hard drive. It’s so hard to trash files and wipe out the hard drive because you’re afraid of losing something important even though you completely backed up what was important already. Sometimes you have to let go. If you don’t today, you will end up sometime in the future with more things to let go.

Don’t wait for the chance to find you, be proactive. Don’t wait for your computer to crash before you start over.

Maverick is finally downloaded and installed. I’ve delayed this necessary step for so long, but glad I decided to do it now. It would’ve been better if I did it before my hard drive started acting up. Better late than never though.

Life lessons can be learned from even a simple thing like reinstalling your OS.

3 thoughts on “A Laptop Crash and Learning to Let Go”

  1. Well, computers dont last forever – even apples it seems! I said goodbye to my HP last december when I was in Japan, and had to buy one online there. So far, for just over 400 bucks and less than a quarter of what I paid for the HP, the Lenovo does the job. Some things though are STILL in Japanese after I trying to change them all over. When you travel though, and I took the HP to many places and it got buffetted about a lot, you are going to reduce the life of your computer. Tough to get a new one when travelling, hope you dont need to. Something a lot of modern travellers have to deal with these days. Before 2011 I never even considered bringing my laptop along. I’d buy a tablet but I need my keyboard for blogging! Great post!

  2. Richard Watson

    After a major data loss last year, I honestly thought that my information was gone forever. Boy was I wrong! Thanks to a work partner, I was referred to CSU in Palm Beach Gardens. CSU was a life saver; they retrieved my data and provided an outstanding backup solution to protect my data from future mishaps.

  3. The thing that stresses me out more about a laptop crash is the cost of replacement, but losing data sucks too. I gotta be more proactive about backing up my important files to the cloud…

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