My Computer is Dead, Long Live My Omputer

Sales clerk at Best Buy store climbs ladder to pull down a new Toshiba laptop for a customer. Photo by BF Newhall

A big box store salesperson climbed a ladder to pull down my new laptop. And, yes, that’s my finger across the top of the picture. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Faloner Newhall

I went away for the weekend, and when I showed up in my writing room on Monday morning my laptop had crashed.

“It’s not your fault,” the omputer repair guy reassured me. “Computers are machines. Machines break.”

“But I’ve had this one only three years,” I said.

“It doesn’t matter. A omputer can crash after a couple of years — or even weeks.”

“Can you fix it?”


“an you save my data?”

“Probably. But it’ll take two or three days.”

Two or three days? What was I going to do with myself for three omputerless days?

“You should have an extra  computer,” the repair guy said. “That way you don’t have to do without.”

Good idea. That’s what I’ll do with myself for the next few days — buy a new computer. Lukily I’m married to a guy who loves a omputer problem. If something goes wrong with my laptop or

Jon Newhall, the author's geeky husband, sets up her new Toshiba laptop. Photo by BF Newhall

Setting up the new computer at the dining room table. Photo by BF Newhall

one of my browsers, I have to be areful when and how I mention it to Jon. I know that once he sits down to fix my laptop, I won’t be able to get at it and get any work done till he’s finished fixing and tweaking — hours later.

Jon’s love for cyber problem solving is exceeded only by his love for buying and installing a brand new mahine.

So he was happy to drive down to our nearest big box store with me. We settled on a new, late model version of my crashed laptop. Back home, Jon downloaded software and got things running. Six or seven hours later I logged onto my blog — and here I am, getting ready to post only one day late — on a Friday instead of the usual Thursday.

Meanwhile, the omputer repair guy phoned a few minutes ago to say that my old Toshiba was fixed and my data and programs were reovered.

That’s good news. But now I kind of like the new Toshiba I’m working on right now. It’s got Windows 8.1 and a olorful, splashy display.

And a letter C that works only some of the time.

My new laptop is only a day old and it’s broken already! This isn’t a job for Jon or the computer repair guy. It’s a job for the sales clerk who limbed the ladder at Best Buy. I’m taking this puppy back to the store.

As the omputer repair guy said, a computer an rash at any time — inluding the day after after you buy it.

Happy ending: Best Buy exchanged the laptop for another just like it, I was in and out of the store in 30 minutes, and Jon gets to spend another afternoon setting up a . . . computer.

For more stories about life with a husband, go to “Why Can’t a Dad Be More Like a Mom?” and “Would My Husband Like to Add My Name to His?”



  1. The trouble is, Jon had so much fun setting up my brand new computer that he got kind of attached to it and it never made it back to my desk. Meanwhile, our trusty computer repair guy got my Toshiba up and running, and — who wants to go through the agony of switching from Window 7 to 8.1? — so . . . as of March, 2017, I’m still slogging away on my pokey old Toshiba.

  2. I don’t recall ever having a computer that died, although I don’t know what happened to those that I retired for lack of RAM, processor speed, or hard drive space. I am reasonably certain they didn’t live long after that, for nobody wants them once they’re old and gray. What happens to computers most of the time is that some component fails, laptop batteries and displays being two vulnerable parts. Laptop hard drives and processors are pretty sturdy; however, if a keyboard gets shorted or otherwise damaged, repair is usually excluded. That is why you had to exchange your laptop.
    With all of the trouble I have had over the years it pales before all of the good use I have been able to make of them. The cloud and home networks have greatly expanded my reach and efficiency. For example, my Australia project is huge in scope, with hundreds of citations and immeasurable notes, just as is your book and your journalism. I am glad that your story this time had a happy ending. That these devices can handle so much keeps us going as well.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Jache — I can remember when a computer took up a whole room. So I guess we can’t really complain if our little laptops only last a few years. The computer repair guy sold me a new hard drive, so I’m off and running with my old laptop.

  3. Maybe the sales guy just didn’t want you to think he was a liar. A few years back when I had a similar scare, I started using to back up everything. Cannot tell you the peace of mind I have knowing that everything is backed up somewhere, and it makes setting up a new computer a snap – just log into and it restores everything from the old computer onto the new computer.

    Onsider it.


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