I don’t love my new Toshiba netbook any more

Early last year I bought a Toshiba NB200 notebook. It was just what I wanted. I bumped up the RAM to 2GB and installed Dropbox, and I never looked back. I could take my work with me and have it synchronise with my main laptop at home.

About a month ago it became unreliable as to starting up. Now it won’t start up at all. Not happy.

I’ve checked forums and so on. If I press F2 or F12 while it’s trying to boot up – nothing happens.

If I press 0 (zero) while it’s booting up to restore it to its factory condition – nothing happens.

If I do nothing when it’s trying to boot up, I either get a black screen or the Toshiba splash screen, and there it stays.

The forums also say to use my system restore disk. I have no system restore disk, and I don’t have a portable disk drive to run it on, so to buy these things will cost more money. I thought that’s what the space being taken up on the hard disk by the factory system restore was for.

I know we’re supposed to be replacing our netbooks with iPads or other tablets these days, but I use mine to work. I need a keyboard all the time. I don’t want to have to mess with a virtual keyboard, and I don’t want to have to carry a portable keyboard around and have to connect everything up when I get to the place where I am researching. I just want to open up my netbook and go.

I can’t afford to buy a new netbook every year and then upgrade the memory, and then spend the time loading everything back on it that I need. I would pay more for a netbook with a longer guarantee, but it seems that netbooks are on the way out, in favour of tablets.

OK, I’ve had my rant, thank you for your attention!

By the way, if you are interested in Dropbox, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, you will do me a favour if you sign up using my recommendation. That way I get more space, and when you are as hooked as I am you can recommend it to your friends and get more space above the first free 2GB.

Picasa Face Recognition can be moved to a new computer

Picasa face recognitionA few months ago my laptop spent days going through all my photos and tagging the faces, and then I spent a few more days (on and off) giving them names. It was a lot of fun, and I wrote about it here.

When my laptop ran out of space I had to move all my photos onto an external hard drive. I was nervous about losing all of that work so I wasn’t brave enough to open Picasa.

Now I have a new laptop, with plenty of space for all my photos, and so I have moved them back. The question was, did I have to do all that face recognition all over again?

The answer, I’m happy to say, is no.

Picasa keeps all of that information in a separate database. As long as you can access those files from your old computer you can use them to replace the new ones when you install Picasa on it.

Basically you need to back up:




The first one holds face recognition data and probably much more, and the second holds your albums. I didn’t have these files backed up, but they were still on the hard drive of my old computer, and today, with the help of my new hard drive enclosure that arrived in the mail, I was able to copy them over.

I have also added everything under AppData to my Mozy backups so I don’t have this problem in the future if my hard drive fails.

Do you have your AppData backed up?

What wasn’t backed up after all

dreamstimefree_594My old laptop died a sudden death on Good Friday, 22nd April 2011.

My new laptop arrived on Black Friday, 13th May 2011.

Are you detecting a pattern here?

The death of my old laptop was not the catastrophe it could have been, thanks to my many backups. I only lost a morning’s worth of emails since my last backup had run overnight. I had backups of all documents, photos, music and databases in various places, including online.

I had a few issues with the software I had to use until my new one arrived, but these are mostly resolved. The main issues I still have are lessons you can learn from:

  • Is your Application Data (in Windows XP) or Appdata (Vista) folder backed up?
  • Some programs keep their data in the same folder as the program files, under Programs rather than Documents. You may have to consciously export a backup regularly rather than relying on it to be backed up with other documents. If you didn’t, it will be lost when you computer dies.
  • All my browser extensions and bookmarks have gone missing. I need to find out how to back these up too.
  • My download limit is being pushed by having to download a lot of software at once, and re-establishing with Mozy, my online backup service. I’m getting better at organising these things for offpeak times.

I have ordered an adapter for my old laptop’s hard drive. Since it was the motherboard that died I am hoping that the hard drive can still give me the data that wasn’t backed up. It will look like a portable hard drive, only I can open it and put the hard drive into it. Stay tuned!