Blue screen of death Toshiba laptop computer

The Blue Screen of Death: an odd source of gratitude

I received an early Christmas present this year: a warning.

It came in the form of a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD), an onscreen message from my Toshiba laptop telling me that something was very, very wrong.

Luckily, I’d had a coffee with Alan, a Lauzun neighbour who had earlier introduced me to Andy Barber of MCD Informatique—a computer tech/photograher in the nearby village of Eymet.

andy barber photographer computer tech in eymet france
Andy Barber is a photographer and tech who repairs Mac and PC computers in the village of Eymet, France.

I slipped the 17-inch laptop into my bicycle pannier bag, cycled the eight kilometres to Eymet, locked the bike and handed the computer to Andy. I also shared with him the carefully-recorded code numbers I’d seen on the blue screen, as well as a photo I’d taken of a subsequent error message after I force-restarted the Toshiba.

Toshiba hard drive failure
The Toshiba Satellite laptop computer offers an opportunity to back-up the hard drive before it catastrophically crashes (screen shot of the alert message).

Standing in Andy’s shop listening to him tell me how he’d locate a new hard drive, clone the data over from the old drive, and aim to keep all my data, settings, and software intact, I felt a wave of gratitude  wash over me.

Odd gratitude is a feeling fellow travellers can relate to: the realization that—when something really bad happens on the road—it could have been much, much worse.

I could have received no warning message whatsoever from my laptop. I might not have met Alan, who not only had the name of a tech, but was willing to drive me there. The computer tech might have been unavailable, incompetent, or incomprehensible. A replacement hard drive night not have been available. The cloning process might have been unsuccessful. The cost might have been prohibitive. The weather might have been crap.

Instead, for the cost of a new HD, Andy’s effort, and a couple of sunny, countryside, bicycle rides between two gorgeous, medieval villages; I have a fully-restored laptop computer.

I write this December 27 and I know I have a backlog of post-BSoD blog posts to share: Christmas lights, caroling fests, bike rides, and snapshots of gorgeous French countryside. But for now, I just to share my odd, visitor’s gratitude.


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Writer, rider, traveller.

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