Back up your files. Back up your backups. Test everything.

Last night, my computer died and it is a bad time for this to happen because open orders are running late, Mister Ghost parcels are running very late, and panic was rising (maybe my computer also panicked? I don’t know.)

This is not official tech support. I am not liable if you fry your system. Consider this informational entertainment.

I want to take a moment to ramble about some hard to find, incredibly important information that I came across over the 14 hours of screaming PLEASE WORK at poor Scoobybot. Who is now working beautifully but had to be reset from scratch.

But first some rambles.

  1. Back up everything. Google Drive, Amazon Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox. Pick one and have it suck everything into their cloud system in the background constantly. It’ll cost you $5-20 per month but when your computer someday says “you know what, pal, you figure it out okay?! I quit!” you are okay.
  2. Back up your backups. Buy an external hard drive (my tech crew is figuring out what will be best for Evil Supply Co.) and once a week or so sync it to your files. Chances are your cloud backup will be fine, but lets not take chances.
  3. Test everything. Once in awhile (monthly should be fine), after your redundant backup session, open a few files. Make sure they are, in fact, valid. Browse a bit. Like testing in a factory, randomly snag something and see “hey do you work?”

Now then, onto the complications.

I hope you never need this information, but if you do, I hope it is now more readily available than it was to me.

  • Use a USB keyboard for this. I use a blutooth keyboard because I work at different locations in the studio with different monitors and its wonderful to be able to noodle around. But you’re going to need a USB keyboard for some steps because your computer is re-learning how to compute and part of that happens before a blutooth keyboard says “Hi I exist.” Save yourself 30 minutes of angry sobbing and use a USB keyboard because they natively say “I exist.”
  • Erasing your computer. Googling around on your phone (probably at 4 AM with eyeliner-stained cry-marks) will tell you “this is how to do this now,” so I won’t give instructions, as they will likely change. You’ll lose everything but you’ll also start with a clean slate. And hey! All your files are backed up! So you won’t lose anything.
  • Do the big erase. Your computer will ask you “how secure do you want this to be? Fast or thorough?” Go thorough. It’ll take awhile. It’s 5 AM anyway and you aren’t sleeping.
  • Reset the PRAM and SMC. Again, google this on your phone for explicit instructions. The Apple Support tech walked me through this and it cleans something the above does not clean.
  • Log back in. Your Mac is going to come up with a screen that says “Hey use your Apple ID to log in,” and you’re going to say “Hey okay” and it will work. OR IT WILL NOT! It’ll say “This system is not available. Try again later.” Don’t try again later! Google on your phone “Internet Recovery”. This will help bypass that nonsense. Your Apple ID is being a jerk because the stars are aligned against you for the moment. This will about 20-30 minutes and your computer is going to look like it is frozen. Don’t panic. Or do but give it 30 minutes to do its thing.
  • Whew. You have a working computer. Now download your Adobe and your Microsoft Office. I use Office because I need to talk to business people sometimes and they use Office and this streamlines our conversations so I can do less business-talk and more monster-research.
    • Adobe programs are going to look frozen and may “Not Responding” on you. Give them 20 minutes each before freaking out. Boot them after the above. You’re tired and you want to sleep but waiting until you crash is a bad idea because printer deadlines exist and they do not care. Restarting all this is going to take five times longer than you expect. Start early. Sleep later.
    • Oh, ho, ho! Microsoft Office For Mac! Will take 2-3 hours to install! And you’re going to be losing your mind because you have an appointment with the business people to discuss business things and you do not have 3 hours! Fortunately I borrowed a computer and got things done. As above, give it the time it needs. It probably won’t say “Not Responding” but you’re going to say “I swear to the moon this thing is frozen.”
    • Just give it 3 literal “how are the stars this angry” hours.
    • It will start and stop when you’re not looking. At some point Microsoft Office will say “2 minutes left” for a literal 76 minutes. Why. WHY.
    • Just wait.
  • You might use a Wacom Cintiq. It will not be responding. You’re going to say really? Really?! Or it might work as a monitor but it will not appear in System Preferences.
  • You’re going to be okay.
    • Turn it off.
    • Unplug it. The cables leading into it, the cables on your computer. Everything.
    • You’re going to find Wacom Tablet Utility. It’s probably in Applications.
    • You’re going to click the little lock so you can change things, then you’re going to Uninstall. This will remove all traces of all things Wacom.
    • You’re going to turn your computer off for 5 minutes. Does it need 5 minutes? Probably not. Give yourself 5 minutes. Think of mermaids for 5 minutes.
    • You’re going to turn your computer on and go to the Wacom site and download the latest drivers. Install them. This will take only slightly longer than you have time for.
    • Turn your computer off again. Why not. Think of witches for 5 minutes while it sits quietly, off.
    • Plug your tablet back in. All the plugs. How are there so many plugs? Make sure they are all snug and properly connected. Yes. Good. Progress. You’re almost ready to tackle problems.
    • Turn on your computer.
    • Things work now!
    • But its randomly scrolling a bit? Just up and down occasionally?
    • Because you use a second Wacom tablet instead of a mouse and the tracking wheel is being triggered by your hand! AH HA! Go to System Preferences and turn that off.

You’re going to go to a diner.

Order a large breakfast.

Enjoy a great few pages out of a book or comic.

Tip well.

And go home and answer emails and get back to work.

No working files were lost and Scoobybot is back to work because I backup and backup my backups and test everything.

And no customer files were lost because they are archived in a whole server network thing that the tech crew handles. I give them a bag of gold coins a few times a year and so that is all handled.

If I owe you an email or an order, I’m knocking it out in the next day or so (for reference, this is published on April 26, 2018).

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