I am not going to say that I didn’t shop “Black Friday;” that would be a lie. What I will say is that I don’t have the commitment (or found anything I wanted enough) to be standing in line overnight, or at midnight, or trying to compete with countless others to get.
My sister kept joking about being at JC Penney at 4am for the sale on boots. I know several coworkers who were at assorted Best Buys across the city trying to score on limited quantity items, some with success and some without. But that didn’t apply to me. In reality, there was only one thing I wanted enough to bave the shoping masses… an external hard drive for my laptop. (By the way, my sister did get her boots, and she didn’t even leave home before 9am.)
Last year I bought a 1.5TB portable hard drive for less than $100. I considered that to be a very good deal. I was looking for at least a 2TB drive for approximately $80. I did some research and found that someone had pulled together a list of the best Black Friday deals for hard drives. I took this as by “go by” of places to look.
As you can imagine, the $99 3TB drives at Best Buy were gone by the time I got there. I really should not have had breakfast before leaving home. That may have cost me vital time. But two doors down, at Office Max, I found a 2TB drive for $75. Score! I bought it and declared my shopping done.
Next came the installation.
I connected the drive and saw that the computer “read” it, but it wasn’t showing up in my computer. My first thought was that the drive letter was conflicting with something I already had installed (that’s happened to me before, on other computers). Unfortunately, I’m still not comfortable in Windows 7. In XP I could have found the computer management window without problems. On Windows 7 I just was lost. thankfully, I found a discussion thread on a tech board that pointed me in the right direction. (BTW, if you need this info for XP, I also found that on the Microsoft site.)
Once I opened the disk management window, what I saw was the the hard drive was “offline.” Offline? Why? I hovered my mouse over the “?” next to the disk drive and typed in the error message, word for word, into Google. The search results gave me several options, of which I chose the Microsoft board discussion that offered soooo many solutions; halfway down the page was the very pragmatic suggestion that I right -click on “offline” and get the option to place the disk “online.” (I know, so amazingly apparent!) And that worked beautifully.
I moved my files from my laptop libraries to the external hard drive using a sync utility I’ve been using for a few years. Yes, I found SyncToy via a suggestion on a Tech blog. At this point I don’t even remember which one. I just know that it’s one of those small applications I use daily.
But while in the process of creating duplicates of my files, my hard drive kept disconnecting. Very weird. Almost as if it was turning off them on again. Repeatedly. And so I found out that the hard drive has settings that default to turning off when it’s not being used. This forum suggested downloading software from the Seagate website (which is how I found out about the settings). The download wasn’t necessary; the software install comes on the hard drive itself. I just hadn’t installed it or opened it to alter the settings. Once I knew what it was for, and what I needed to look for, I installed it and altered the settings. Problem solved.
The most interesting challenge of moving files to the external hard drive came with moving my iTunes files, and database, without losing the information. I’ve done this before, following the instructions on this page. It’s a very detailed, very dry read, but incredibly effective. I followed the suggestions step by step and it worked flawlessly! I like it when that happens.
As my day ended, it occurred to me that I had a very successful day thanks to the kindness of strangers. I was able to save money, time and a lot of headaches because others had done research and shared it with me, had shared their expertise with others (and archived it online for future use), and had just generally been helpful because they could be. And I was glad I am savvy enough to know not to download unknown software from unknown websites, to look for some recognizable resources, and was able to search in such a way that I could find the information I needed.
Today my only failure on this is that I’ve been unable to figure out why when I delete a file on the external hard drive, it doesn’t go to the recycle bin. It just disappears.
Oh well… I’ll just keep looking.