Reviving Dead Computers

I should start off by telling you physicists are renown for a (sometimes fool-hearty) "I can do that" attitude. I am no exception. I am not really a super-computer geek (but these things are relative...), but I am also not afraid to look up online videos and try to "do it myself". I have also done some home and car maintenance that way and saved thousands of dollars. So when about six months ago our family computer started struggling to boot up and was noticeably slower, naturally we did almost nothing about it. However, anticipating some kind of failure, I elected to invest in a new computer for the family. I am working from home a lot more and so it seemed wise to have more than one computer anyway. Having two computers was pretty nice. Fast forward to about a week ago and the older computer finally (seemed) to die. It was nice while it lasted right? Then I realized that part of my master plan was that we knew that the old computer would eventually stop working and I bought the new one to have some overlap while they both still worked. Unfortunately I neglected to save all of the files that we wanted to be sure that we saved from the old computer's hard drive. What to do? Well I took found a local computer shop that had a good reputation for fixing laptops. I got quotes for everything: $125 to get the data off. $300 or so to replace the old hard drive and put the files on there. And sure enough the shop said that the hard drive had failed and offered the two options. The fellow at the shop assured me that computers like mine were garbage after 3 years (mine is 5 years old), and that if I wanted to take it home it would make a nice door stopper. Well, I took it home. I bought a $7 cable from amazon that will connect a laptop hard drive to another computer through USB. I removed a few screws from the old laptop case and unplugged the hard drive. I plugged it into my new computer (using the $7 cable) and ran a windows utility that quickly found and removed the corrupted files on the old hard drive. Finally, I granted myself permission to the old hard drive and plucked the files that we had wanted to transfer all along. So WooHoo! right? I saved myself at least $118 dollars (plus tax) and I got all my files. Now, I am waiting on a new SSD (solid state drive) (about $50) to arrive so that I can revive my old laptop. With a little patience I will install the OS and then again use the $7 cable to transfer any files from the damaged HD to the new SSD. Hopefully, I can effectively restore my old computer and probably get a few more years out of it. So in the end DIY computer maintenance can go on my resume along with DIY car and home maintenance.

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