Last week I spoke about my decision to invest my money into my computer rather than endlessly try and chase down a PlayStation 5, a decision that I’m ultimately glad I made. But I wanted to follow up on last week’s post and briefly go over the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced in a mere 7 days. See, I was sweating the overall installation of the components more than I really needed to. The real hassle, while brought on by replacing my hardware, actually turned out to be more of Windows fucking me over than anything else.
5 years ago I built my gaming computer from the ground up, which was a first for me considering up until then I had only replaced components rather than build an entire computer. It was a wonderful experience that fell a little flat because of some defective hardware, but that was sorted out pretty quickly. But considering I was very budgeted back then, my components, specifically the motherboard, was not able to accept any newer processors. It was a problem for “future Ari,” and boy did 2016 Ari really fuck 2021 Ari over.
So I get all of my new parts in and manage to get everything installed within an hour or so without any issues. When it came time to boot my machine however, Windows decided that I no longer had it installed (despite it totally being on my still connected C drive) and asked me to reinstall. Well, I had no idea where my Windows product key was, but luckily there was an option to proceed without one. Then the strangest thing happened that I’m sure smarter computer folks can explain, but when I tried to install Windows again, it told me that none of my hard drives were formatted correctly for Windows. I thought this was weird considering Windows had been and still was installed on the damn drive it was telling me wasn’t formatted correctly.
After an hour of getting virtual middle fingers however, I relented and took comfort in the fact that I had backed up my PC before embarking on this upgrade, and formatted the entire drive to make Windows happy. Turns out, that wasn’t enough. After some Googling, a user on some forum basically ran down a list of commands I needed to type into the command prompt to more thoroughly format the drive or something. I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but I was assured it would solve the problem. And solve it, it did!
Something you might not be aware of is just how much Windows locks you out of when you don’t have a product key. Every time I wanted to do anything that resembled customizing how my desktop looked, I was gently reminded that cheapskates like myself don’t get those privileges. After some time of trying to track my key down, I ultimately gave up and just bought Windows again from Microsoft, essentially boosting up the price of this upgrade by another $150. Five minutes after that purchase, I found my product key just kind of sitting on top of everything in a drawer that I definitely looked in earlier. Thankfully, the customer support people at Microsoft were very understanding and were able to give me my cash back, but the whole experience just didn’t need to happen.
Bow that Windows was finally installed on my fresh drive I was off to the races, or so I thought. Then I discovered that the system image I made of my computer the previous day no longer existed, maybe that deep hard drive format had something to do with it. I had backed up certain files to an external drive, but not everything. That’s when the panic started to kick in.
Years of projects, articles, and artwork, all gone in the blink of an eye, including literally everything I had for this very website. I very nearly had an emotional breakdown and was ready to write up a post about how the site would be vacant for a bit before I was able to rebuild what had been destroyed. And that was my mentality for a few days.
Then something wonderful happened. I plugged in all of my external drives a few days later and was so thankful that I’m an idiot who gives cheeky little names for all of my hard drives. Never in my life was I so happy to see my external drive show up in the finder than when I saw “Count Backupula” themselves. I dug into the Count’s files, and hidden about 10 layers deep, in folders that was just titled as symbols and numbers, I found it all. My entire desktop was just sitting there, waiting for me. It was a great feeling of relief mixed with the affirmation that I knew I couldn’t have been that stupid to forget to backup everything in several places.
Now I have the best of both worlds, where I have all of my old shit at the ready, while simultaneously getting to enjoy the feeling of a freshly wiped computer. I’ve learned a lot from this experience, particularly the importance of redundant backups. I’ve also learned that while my CPU and RAM upgrades may feel slightly incremental, the biggest and best upgrade one could invest in is an SSD. Seriously, I don’t know how I ever played video games without an SSD eliminating the vast and shitty load times I used to endure so regularly.
And that’s kind of been my week honestly. I’m still happy I made the choice to upgrade, but boy howdy do I need to plan more thoroughly before I do anything like that again. The only upgrades I need to do from here are maybe a new case and the ever elusive 30 series graphics cards. Seriously, those things are just as impossible to find as a PlayStation 5.