Photo by mikrosopht
1. Breathe A Sigh of Relief
The vigil is over. The bloated registry, clogged Start Menu and ten thousand temp files have been silenced. Whip out the digital organ donor card and start planning the reclamation project. Somebody is going to be very happy with that extra RAM and creaky graphics card.
2. Seek An Impartial Advisor
Get an assessment of which goodies to hoard and which gifts to share. Relinquish total control of the hardware. If you’re the only person who can build or purchase the replacement, spend extra time on step 5.
3. Contact Loved Ones
With the immediate arrangements underway, borrow another computer and plug into your online network of family and friends. Inform them of your loss. Give them a remembrance of the old computer: a favorite photo of the time little Johnny spilled milk onto the keyboard; an ironic blog post of how you were finally gaining control over the machine.
Then, let everyone know that you won’t be in touch for a few days. The last thing you should be thinking about doing is tweeting, blogging and emailing as if nothing catastrophic just happened.
4. Acknowledge the Loss
Hopefully, the hard drive was not the fatal organ. If your advisor assures you that the old hard drive is okay, you’ve really only lost a comfortable habit and a familiar (inter)face.
A total loss of data is not as common as you may think. Between the backups that you’ve faithfully made and a skilled technician, you may yet recover your address book and fruit cake recipe.
5. Go Play
Wriggle around a bit. Imagine if this were your new life.
Go ahead, fantasize about all the things you now have time to do.
Play that game. Practice that guitar. Watch a movie.
Spend some time with real, living people.
6. Dare To Be Different, This Time
Old habits die hard but, since this one is dead, you may as well develop a new one. Be aware that it really doesn’t matter. It’s just fun to be different.
The goal here is to imagine a more efficient partnership with whatever machine comes to take your old PC’s place on your desk.
Why not use the old hard drive as a backup? Stick it in a USB-style enclosure and you’ll be able to run at least some of your old programs! Delete the operating system and use the space to hold downloads. Your new hard drive will thank you.
7. Experiment With Portability
Why go through this pain every seven to eight years? If your whole computerized life is on a flash drive, you can keep your sanity when the next PC kicks the bit bucket.
If you really want to live on the edge, cuddle up with Google and other web-centric enterprises.
8. Vow To Write Everything On Paper
Let’s face it, when the new computer comes, all you want to do is get up and running. As you start installing your favorite things, you’ll run into roadblocks like SMTP settings, proxy server URLs, that one password for StumbleUpon that never made it onto your RoboForm database because you haven’t logged out in three years!
Do yourself a favor, get a notepad and pencil and write down all the settings.
9. Take Chances
Okay, portable Firefox is installed. All those lovely extensions are going to have to be downloaded again, right? Nope. If you can find them on the old hard drive, all you have to do is copy them en masse (or piecemeal) to the same folder on your new hard drive and restart Firefox!
Other software may actually be transferable without reinstalling. Give it a try – if it doesn’t work, well, you were going to have to reinstall it, anyway.
10. Smile, It’s Behind You
As you begin working with your new iron partner, old memories will haunt you for a few days. Hold fast to fond recollections and forge ahead with a renewed sense of purpose.
Count your blessings: it’s just a computer.
Photo by Ruth and Dave
In memory of REX 3000, July, 2000 – December, 2008