I came downstairs to my basement office Monday morning and saw what a Windows user is most fearful of -- the Blue Screen of Death. Something had happened during the night to cause a massive failure on my Dell Latitude D505 laptop.
The machine would not reboot. It would not find the hard drive. I tried my Dell utilities disc - no hard drive. I tried networking from my ancient backup laptop running Windows 2000 -- still nothing. And the constant clicking coming from the dead drive told me what I did not want to hear -- there appeared to be a mechanical problem.
I called Dell -- I have Gold service. We went through my litany of problems. They basically said the drive is toast. So Dell sent a replacement drive, which arrived next day that I quickly installed.
Meanwhile I needed access to various networked systems for my work and I was able to use my old laptop temporarily while I reinstalled everything (!) starting with Windows XP. This process along with reconfiguring various network and device connections lasted on and off through Thursday night.
I do keep regular backups of many files (but not applications) on a small hard drive connected via a USB port so I was not totally fried.
But all my iTunes music -- and all of the manually entered Classical music indexing data I had created -- was gone. Fortunately I still have the original CD's so I have the basics.
But the albums and cuts I had bought from the iTunes store were also gone. I figured since I had proof of purchase I could re-download.
No dice. iTunes is very specific -- you need to keep backups and are out of luck if you experience a failure like mine.
A couple of the cuts I downloaded (from Gloria Estefan's "Mi Tierra" album) I did burn to a cd so I will experiment with reloading. We'll see what happens, given the file protections that are built into the Apple service.