computer crash in finals week - help!

<p>I've been lurking here for a while and getting good advice reading others' threads but now really need some advice.</p>

<p>My daughter's Mac crashed today, and she has finals tomorrow. She took it to the Mac store and they said it is completely crashed and they have to ship it back to the factory. It cannot be repaired in the store. They might not even be able to extract the data she had stored on it. (I will never get another Mac after this!)</p>

<p>The problem is that ALL of her notes that she needed to study for finals were on that computer. Her Biology lab manual is on the computer - they did not even get hard copies. She was backing up her data when the computer crashed. She said she is supposed to take one of her finals on the computer, and now she does not have one. </p>

<p>I don't know what to tell her to do except to study as best she can with the textbooks and ask for incompletes - the worst that can happen is that the professors will say no.</p>

<p>She is devastated - called me crying about it - and is convinced that she will fail all of her exams. She's a freshman and has been going through a challenging adjustment period, and now this. She's ready to not even try.</p>

<p>Please, any advice you have would be so appreciated! Thanks.</p>

<p>Does she have anyone in her study group she reach out to? Can she access a University computer at the library for the biology manual? Have her take her receipt from the apple store to her professors in the morning and explain the situation. But she needs to exhauste every avenue befoe she takes an incomplete.</p>

<p>Also, this is a great lesson for any computer user, Mac, windows whatever. Back up your data! To me that is the best part of Mac. Their time-machine program is top notch and runs back ups in the background all the time. Whuch means if a crash happens, maybe thirty minutes of data would be lost. When her Mac comes back, make sure she gets an external hard drive and uses time-machine. (pre-loaded on every Mac). And if you have her go to a windows based machine, buy a back up program, a HD and have her do the same. Any machine can fail, it is up to the user to prevent that from being a catastrophe.</p>

<p>Thanks. She kept all her email address in the computer, so she doesn’t know how to find anyone in the class. I told her to email the professors now and let them know what happened. </p>

<p>She says the biology manual isn’t on the University computer. </p>

<p>I didn’t know about the time machine program (I’ve never used a Mac). Hers is still under warranty so she’ll be staying with a Mac for a while. I’d rather a Windows machine, but she made her choice.</p>

<p>Mac or Windows - all the data is held on a hard drive which are all made by the same select few number of manufacturers (not Apple or the Windows PC manufacturers) so there’s no point in assuming a Windows system is better than the Mac in this case. This assumes the hard drive is at fault. There’s no substitute for backups.</p>

<p>Here’s what I’d do - </p>

<li><p>Take it to a different Apple store if possible to see what someone else says about it. If there’s only one store then maybe bring it back and see if a different person can take a look at it to possibly at least recover some files. She should find out more about what exactly ‘crashed’ from the people at the store - i.e whether it’s really the hard drive or not. If it’s not the hard drive then it might be possible to put the hard drive in another Mac and still get the files or just use it. Hint - the Apple ‘geniuses’ at the Apple store are generally far from ‘geniuses’ and usually don’t really know that much about the systems so don’t put a huge amount of faith in what they say unless they can point to something concrete - like the hard drive making strange noises or indicating crashed sectors, etc.</p></li>
<li><p>If the above is a bust then ask around her campus (bookstore if they sell computers, friends, the campus computer support, or in a computer lab) to find someone who’s technical who knows something about a Mac and have them look at it. Maybe they’ll figure something out. </p></li>
<li><p>If recovering the computer or files from it is a complete bust then she’ll need to -
– Check with other classmates to get the notes, etc. or use a college computer (library, other resource center, check one out if possible, borrow one from a classmate, etc.) to download them if they’re made available online. She can put any necessary files on a USB stick to make sure she has a copy that she can use on any computer. If she doesn’t have a USB memory stick then she should buy one (inexpensive).
– She must have put the bio lab manual on her computer somehow - she probably downloaded it. She should be able to do so again with another computer. If not then she’ll need to get it form a classmate or possibly email a TA or prof to see how to get it again.
– She needs to figure out how to contact the classmates. Sometimes the email addresses are online or she might know where they live or study. If she can find one then she might be able to find more through that person. She got the email addresses somehow initially and maybe it was online which she can do again.
– If she was backing up her computer when it crashed then maybe that backup contains many of the files she needs. If she does incremental backups then the older files like the bio book should still be available.</p></li>
<li><p>I wouldn’t put much faith in the idea of telling the prof her computer crashed and therefore she should get a break on the test. It’s kind of like the ‘dog ate my HW’ excuse and many profs don’t want to hear about it and expect the student to be resourceful. It’s worth a try - just don’t rely on it and make sure other avenues to still study and complete the work are pursued to the fullest.</p></li>

<p>Welcome to the world of the burned who now know to do backups. I hope she manages to get through this okay.</p>

<p>My accident-prone child now does all the writing in Google Docs, so when she kills the computer, the data is still safe… She also now has an external HD and a time-machine.</p>

<p><a href=“How to remain calm, despite what's about to happen to your Chrome notebook - YouTube”>How to remain calm, despite what's about to happen to your Chrome notebook - YouTube;

<p>For the future, Dropbox is also a good way to have some crucially important stuff available from any computer (first 2 gigabytes are free).
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<p>This could happen with ANY computer.</p>

<p>Re: email…she should be able to access her email provider (school, aol, gmail…whatever she uses) from ANY computer. Most of the information is stored on the web these days. Tell her to either ask a roommate or go to the computer lab and log on. She should be able to email someone from her class AND her professors.</p>

<p>Agreed…backup is essential. My kids emailed themselves ALL important documents (like study guides) so they could access them from another computer if needed. Saving documents on gmail is an excellent suggestion for the future.</p>

<p>But really right now, she SHOULD be able to access her email addresses and ANYTHING that was sent via email (assuming she didn’t delete the item) by accessing her email server remotely via the internet (<a href=“…look%5B/url%5D”>…look</a> for student log in…and then use her password, etc.</p>

<p>Where does she go to school? Nowadays most schools use a centralized system for notes and slides- prof uploads them, students can download them. There should be no reason she can’t get access to such notes even if her laptop dies. Or some profs email them, in which case she may still have them available (or the prof can resend or classmates can resend). If it’s electronic, it should be available. </p>

<p>She should be able to borrow a laptop from a friend for an exam, or if not, get a loaner somehow (either from on campus or off). Or worse case, write the exam in the computer lab (and also use the lab to print off the notes to hard copy). </p>

<p>This is all a hassle and frustrating, but much of it should be resolvable. It does not have to be a catastrophe. </p>

<p>Just contact the profs, and explain the situation. They probably have other ideas as well. Taking incompletes seems like a very last resort.</p>

<p>Because of how UUDad, Thumper and star bright all are on the same page, especially with the email call out and it’s availability on any other commuter (Outlook is one email program that may not be accessed remotely, but she is on a Mac so she would not use outlook and if she is on Mac’s email she can access anywhere from mobile me and I suspect she has a .edu address which would be readable anywhere) have you considered that she may be doing poorly in her classes and with finals looming she might be trying to find an “out” for previous short comings? You mentioned she was having trouble adjusting and thought she would fail because of this commuter failure. Maybe she was headed for failure already? I certainly don’t know your daughter, but I had a son that was overwhelmed years ago who failed out first semester at a private college and after re-reading your post, I see many red flags.</p>

<p>My daughters Mac crashed a week before Christmas. She’s a grad student. She was able to borrow another computer from the library for 8 or 12 hours a time, take it back and borrow another one. The good news was that even though hers was NOT under warranty the apple store replaced her hard drive for free because they thought it may have been defective. They were not able to retrieve anything but she had backed most of it up on an external hard drive up to about a month prior to the crash.</p>

<p>Call the college help desk they may be able to get her access to any class resources that were on her computer from a computer in the college computer lab. They may even have a loaners. My kids back up all their papers and important “stuff” to an external drive and also e-mail everything important to themselves. They can access e-mail from any computer with internet access. Makes for messy e-mail but e-mail is backed up on the college servers. Also the profs post up notes, and essential info to a college portal, which is accessible from any computer perhaps your D’s college has this. </p>

<p>Same for e-mail addresses, if there is a college portal, I’m sure the help desk can “help” her. </p>

<p>What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Hard for some kids to hear but she’ll survive.</p>

<p>Finally for all parents remind your kids to keep their computers “cleaned up” as well as backed up. One year my son brought his home in the spring claiming it was “broke.” The darn thing was so full of junk and viruses and crap …a couple hours of basic computer clean up maintenace which I made him sit and watch and he was up and running good as new.</p>

<p>Oops, I meant a week before Thanksgiving. Just happened last month.</p>

<p>swimrunmum…sent you a pm</p>

<p>Thanks for all the good advice. Wish I’d known about Google Docs and Dropbox and time machine before this happened. </p>

<p>ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad, wish I’d had your post before she took it to the store. They could not repair it (something about the motherboard) there and have shipped the computer back to the factory. It’s still under warranty but it will be a while before she gets it.</p>

<p>thumper and starbright, thanks for the good advice. I’m trying to tell her to hang in there, that it doesn’t have to be a disaster. She was doing well before this happened, and she’s been studying, so hopefully she will be fine.</p>

<p>momofthreeboys, thanks. You are right that she will survive and she will be stronger for it. Some day she will, I hope, look back on this and realize she can get through anything. I’m passing your message on to her…</p>

<p>She’ll be able to get everything that was posted online, but it’s the loss of the notes she took for herself that is the hardest part. </p>

<p>collegeshopping, sorry about what happened with your son and hope everything is OK now. It’s not like that with my daughter, though. She’s doing well, just going through the typical adjustment of a college freshman going into a top 20 school. </p>

<p>She was one of the smartest kids at her high school, made almost all A’s effortlessly, passed all her AP exams, and now she is in a college with a freshman class full other very smart kids who were at the top of their high school class, so instead of being one of the smartest in her classes, she’s more at the middle. From what I’ve read here on CC, that’s pretty typical, especially for kids who get into the most selective colleges. She’s in classes full of kids just like herself, not used to being “average” for the first time.</p>

<p>Plus she’s in a tough pre-med program and taking the hard science classes that are designed to weed kids out of the program. She’s getting B’s in those classes so far, which I think is good, but she’s used to getting A’s, not working for B’s. And it doesn’t help that one of her professors speaks English very poorly and with an accent that is very difficult to understand. Plus this professor openly admitted to hating teaching this class. We never expected that sort of unprofessional behavior at a top-ranked university! </p>

<p>Sometimes I think college was easier before everyone had computers. For every new technology, there is a new hassle.</p>

<p>College was not easier before computers, believe me! When writing anything, we really had to get it right the first time. No switching things around, deleting, correcting, adding, editing in general. Proofreading meant using white out or correction tape, a laborious project. I returned to school in my 50’s and could not believe the difference. Once a person knows to back things up, or to e-mail documents to him or herself, there is little danger of this kind of situation. The daughter in this post will always remember to back things up from now on. Tough way to learn, so sending sympathy and hope that things work out okay.</p>

<p>One trick I’ve also learned about ‘backing up’ important docs…I email them to myself and store them in a folder. As long as I can access my email SOMEWHERE, then the documents I need are there.</p>

<p>My son’s $800 * three month old * PC crashed twice in the last few weeks. LOL…I told him we’re switching to Macs. Guess it really doesn’t matter.</p>

<p>Anyway, he took it to the Computer Center at school and they were able to recover his files and put them onto his external drive. You might want to try that before sending it out. Our center works on both PCs and Macs.</p>

<p>Son has an external hard drive for back-up purposes but I suspect he doesn’t do it much. I will reinforce this when he’s home for xmas. </p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I highly recommend online storage and back-up services such as Sugarsync to anyone. External hard drives are vulnerable. My daughters and I all have accounts in which you can back up everything (from multiple computers) and access it all from anywhere. Yes, you can do this with Google Docs and email to a certain extent, but Sugarsync (and I suppose other services) you can organize your files and folders online and everything you want syncs automatically (home videos, music, etc.). In the last two years, all three of us have had computer crashes in which we simply downloaded our info back onto our computers from online after reinstalling Windows. </p>

<p>Also, you can keep older, less used info, in a cloud archive that doesn’t sync. You can see all pictures online and stream your music from their online player, and these services are available on your smart phone. Prices depend on the amount of storage, for example, $5 a month for 30G or a yearly 60G plan for $100. We all love it.</p>

<p>Okay, I’m done with the plug, it’s just that I really appreciate this product.</p>



<p>This is the key. Having 5 Ds, this important piece of information was communicated to all of them during Orientation at their colleges, although my 2 older Ds had already started doing this while in h/s. Obtaining email addresses for friends/classmates can be done on any computer. It’s likely that she would have all these people on Facebook so I’m not sure what the difficulty would be in contacting others. Good luck to her. She’s learned a very hard lesson.</p>

<p>Regarding her finals: best thing is to email profs immediately. Usually they can’t give extensions during finals like they can during the rest of the year, but ask anyway. Also ask if they would email the class (htey prob have a class mailing list) and share your situation and say that if anyone has class notes you could borrow you’d be grateful. THen she just has to buckle down, try to push the trauma aside and focus on getting her assignments completed. It’s very hard, but hopefully do-able. </p>

<p>On the computer: If she’s able to do some research, she should see if there’s a licensed Mac repair shop that’s independently owned in her area. Macs are great machines, but when they break, the worst thing you can do is take it to the Apple Store. They will usually give you an answer that is either wrong or give you the most expensive price. There are lots of stores in most cities and even towns that specialize in Macs but are not apple stores. There are also lots of people who run small businesses repairing macs. These are low cost, and the service and pricing is better. For example, in the DC area I highly recommend Expert Mac Repair. A small business that will repair your Mac expertly, cheaply, and they even do HOUSE CALLS (best part). Seriously love those guys, they’ve saved me more than once. </p>

<p>Unfortunately data extraction is hard and very expensive if something happened to the hard drive (it would be good to know what exactly happened to the computer. Crashed covers a lot of possibilities). So there is a good chance that no matter what happened, if the hard drive is in failure, the files are gone. She migth get lucky, sometimes when hard drive’s crash you’re able to boot them up one more time after a few hours and then you can copy some files to a disk quickly before it dies for good. If that happens to your D, I would advise keeping a USB stick handy or an external hard drive. </p>

<p>I know this is no good after the fact (I’ve had two hard disks fail on me, and people always tell me this AFTER) but Apple has an amazing program on their machines called Time Machine. It automatically backs up your computer to an external hard drive of your choice, and if something happens to the machine, you just repair the machine, plug in the hard drive, open Time Machine and click on the date you want and it automatically restores everything exactly as it was on the date of the back up. It is literally like going back in time. Even if you don’t get a Mac after this (and getting a PC is not going to insulate you from crashes, it will probably only exacerbate them), back up everything. I learned the hard way in college, sounds like your D did as well.</p>

<p>Do you know why it failed? Was it a spilled drink? Dropping it off a table? There are usually warning signs when a laptop has a problem and sometimes a problem takes a while before it completely fails. We have a spare MacBook Pro at home. If the kids lose their systems (our daughters has failed twice), then can use the spare. Before we had the spare, the plan was that if one of theirs failed, they could take mine (and I’d get to buy a new one …).</p>

<p>They either store stuff to our home web storage (private, backed up, secure) or to Google Docs.</p>

<p>One other thing for consideration for her next laptop: get an SSD instead of a HDD. My system has both an SSD and an HDD. It boots and runs applications off the SSD and the user data is stored on the HDD. If I have bad sectors on the HDD, I can still boot.</p>

<p>I can also take the SSD out, plug it into another Mac and just boot my OS on another machine (the SSD goes into the ExpressCard slot).</p>

<p>Computers are critical these days and you have to have plans in case of a failure. Macs are actually a little easier for system failures as the operating system isn’t tied to the machine. Moving a Windows license from one machine to another can require a bit of work (calling up Microsoft) because they tie the license to the hardware. They don’t allow you to move the license with OEM licenses (strictly speaking of course - you might get someone nice enough on the phone to let you move an old license to a new machine). You can move your OS to another machine by just restoring the files to another machine or a drive or partition on another machine.</p>

<p>BTW, the failure on our Macs (we’ve had three on four machines) were due to faulty nVidia chips - this was an industry-wide problem. I don’t blame Apple for the problem as Dell and HP had to deal with the same issue as did other manufacturers.</p>