My computer in the last few weeks has been giving me endless troubles. When bringing the computer out of ‘sleep’ mode the OS could not find the hard drive, in Windows when trying to access any of the drives I was told I didn’t have the correct “permissions” to open files or drives. It got to the point that I couldn’t actually DO anything with my computer. I tried using Windows Recovery to revert to a previous state. I scanned and scrubbed the hard drive looking for errors or viruses. I was getting nowhere.
So, this weekend I decided to restore the computer to factory its factory settings. I panicked for awhile trying to find the Windows CD and Drivers CD (which I did eventually find) until I realized that Alienware computers have a hidden read-only partition on their hard drives that you can boot from and restore the computer to its factory settings. And that is what I did.
First, I wrote down all the software I had on the PC, all the subscriptions I had that weren’t mediated through a cloud service, etc. etc. That way when the computer was reset I’d know what I need to download again. Second, I backed up all my pictures and documents to external drives. Finally, I hit the big red button and wiped the drive and reset the computer back to how it was when I first bought it over a year ago.
I was worried that the problem might be physical instead of software related but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The computer seems to be working fine now, and I’ve got almost everything back on the computer. It took some time, yes, but it did seem to go faster than the last time I had to do this (that is a nightmare story, that D will be happy to tell you! Sorry D! Never again!)
Anyway, the computer seems to be working again. I thought it might be interesting though to share with you all the software that I have installed, and later I’ll share all my podcast subscriptions.
- 7 Zip – Handles any type of compressed file you throw at it. Clean and simple interface too.
- Avast Anti-virus – You need something and this one is free, effective, and after some tweaks stays out of the way.
- Battle.net – Hearthstone, nuff said.
- Bleachbit – Secure file deletion.
- Breevy – Text expander, think autocorrect and shortcut maker for text. Instead of typing my name or address I type in a short sequence and Breevy completes it for me.
- CCleaner – Crap Cleaner does a good job of erasing all the cruft and detritus that somehow manages to accrue on hard drives.
- CrashPlan – Cloud back up service.
- Atheros Smart Net – Allows me to prioritize how software interacts with my Wi-fi.
- DropBox – Documents in the cloud.
- Virtual Clone Drive – Run iso and bin files from a virtual CD drive.
- F.lux – Adjusts monitor lighting to avoid blue light in the evening.
- Chrome – I’m so tied into the Google on-line ecosystem it doesn’t make sense to use anything else.
- Imgburn – Quick and easy CD/DVD/Blueray burner.
- IrfanView – Photo manipulation.
- iTunes – I wish there was a non-bloated alternative for podcast management but Apple has this locked down.
- LastPass – Password management. I love it and only have to remember a single password anymore.
- MS Office 2013 – I had LibreOffice but I recently got this through work and so I’m using this now. Again, the default in the field.
- Notepad++ – Notepad replacement. I use this for all my html and script writing.
- REVO Uninstaller – Uninstaller software. Helps clean up what built-in uninstallers usually leave around (empty folders and registry entries.)
- SCUMMVM – For playing old LucasArts games.
- Skype – Talking on-line.
- Steam – My backlog is terrifying.
- TeraCopy – This copies files much faster than the copier built in to Windows.
- Twine – Interactive Fiction creation engine (I’m abandoning my KQ1 demake in Inform to try it in this.)
- μTorrent – If I need to grab a torrent, I’m going to use this.
- VideoLAN – Opensource media player.
- Paint.NET – I don’t need Photoshop but sometimes I need more than Paint. Paint.NET fills this need.
- Pidgin – IM Client.
- SumatraPDF – PDF reader.
- FileZilla – FTP client.
- Wizmouse – Makes your mouse do a lot of neat tricks. I have it mostly so that I can scroll through inactive windows without them becoming the active window.
- Xplorer² – Windows Explorer alternative. I like a double-pane file explorer.