That nightmarish image you see? That’s how I felt last night… though I’m a little better today.

I was having a perfectly good day, chugging along with work, getting ready for the first-ever Women Grow Business Boot Camp, looking forward to today’s #140conf: DC, and maintaining a relatively sunny disposition despite the three-hour power outage we had.

Then, my hard drive crashed.

The laptop hung. I shut it down. When I tried to restart it, it started singing. I kid you not. “Doo-doo-doo-doo… ” I thought there was a bird in my office or inside my computer. Can you picture me whipping my head wildly from side-to-side to find the perpetrator?

Ugh!

And then up comes a black screen that tells me it’s not seeing any internal devices. Um, WHAT?!

I spent several hours going through the motions of trying to get it going, running diagnostics tests, etc. When I got on the phone with Dell (the manufacturer) and described the problem to them, they said it sounded like my hard drive was fried. There was no way they could fix it – since they couldn’t even get into my computer remotely.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I was freaking out so much. Computers crash all the time, we get them fixed, and we’re ok since our data’s backed up, right?

Um. I hadn’t backed up in a while. Never mind how long.

I know. That was a stupid situation to be in and it will NEVER happen again; but yesterday, I was in the position of having no access to my recent files and a ton of work to get through.

My next step: call the Geek Squad, to see if they could set me up with an emergency appointment to try and retrieve my data. I called, and spoke to I forget how many people, my desperation growing by the minute. I was ready to give them my first-born child (if I had one) if they could have fit me in last night. I spoke to a ton of “Agents,” gave them my zip code over and over again, stressed how critical a situation I was in, and…

Let me tell you something.

Contrary to the image it portrays, the Geek Squad does not swoop into its batmobile, leap tall buildings in a single bound and show up at your doorstep before you can say “vuvuzela.”

No, it makes a note of your problem and tells you someone will call you back within an hour (which they didn’t). Then, when you call them back, they tell you they’re trying to reach the “field manager” by sending them an email, but s/he hasn’t responded yet.

Seriously? And this is their “9-1-1” service?

With my nerves jangling louder and louder every minute, I did what I always do – turned to Twitter. Within minutes, Janet Falk (whom I’ve never met IRL) had connected me with Arthur Zilberman of LaptopMD. At first I didn’t think he could help me, since he was in New York and I’m not, but I finally got on the phone with him.

Arthur was so reassuring – without making false promises – that as a result, my hard drive is now on its way to him, and tomorrow I’ll know whether or not he can retrieve my data (can everyone cross their fingers and toes, please?).

The good thing in all of this is that since almost all of my “stuff” is online, I can access most of my files. And Google is a lifesaver; I wouldn’t have been able to do anything if I didn’t have Gmail, Google Docs, Google Contacts, etc.

The other ray of sunshine peeking through is that my new MacBook (yes, I’m switching to the bright side) is apparently on its way to me as I type. So maybe, just maybe, it’ll get to me at a decent hour today and I can set it up & get back to work on a normal-size computer (though I’m very grateful this little netbook’s allowing me to continue with work).

My Twitter and Facebook peeps have been marvelous in keeping me going – in fact, I would never have found LaptopMD if it hadn’t been for Janet and Twitter. And Ragan Communications put a big smile on my face today when I saw they’d included yesterday’s post on how Edmund Cude uses mobile to rent apartments in today’s PR Daily. Thank you, Jackson Wightman, for making that happen.

So it’s not all bad, eh?

But I never want to visit Elm Street again.

Image: Kaptain Kobold, Creative Commons

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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