Los Altos Real Estate Blog


My computer crashed! Now what do I do? First, DON'T PANIC...

At about 9AM yesterday, right in the middle of work, my laptop faded to black...literally.  The screen went blank and the power went off.  I thought the batter had died but it was more than that.  My computer crashed.  For many, this is utterly terrifying!  Your first thought is "What about my files?" followed by a long list of other questions.  If you computer dies, my first advice is "DON'T PANIC!".  Here's a few quick steps to get you back on track without worrying.

STEP 1:  Make sure it's really crashed.  For laptops, unplug the battery and power, and let them sit for a minute or two.  They might have overheated.  Reconnect the power and try again.  The other specific items you want diagnosed are:

  • Power supply
  • Memory

Take your PC to a repair shop and ask them to check those specific items.  Such testing should cost much less than the usual

STEP 2:  Don't waste your time or money at a data recovery service.  Your hard drive can be removed, installed in an external enclosure, and plugged into your new system via a USB connection.  You'll be able to copy all your data off without paying more than $20 for the external enclosure.  Far less than the $100 or so a recovery service costs.

STEP 3: Get a new system.  I recommend getting a system with an Intel i5 processor as it has excellent "bang for the buck".  This applies to laptops and desktops.  Reinstall your programs one by one and eliminate any that you don't need. 

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 11 commentsBryan Robertson • October 04 2011 11:56AM


Bryan,  Excellent advice.  Maybe next time I get the dreaded blue screen, I won't panic as much either.  Any technical malfunction puts me on the edge of panic mode.  I usually call one my boys and they usually can trouble shoot me over the phone.  

Posted by Mary M. Kandell (Russell Real Estate Services) over 7 years ago

Hi Bryan -

On my way today to get a new laptop.  The old one did in fact truly die but it had a long and good life.  Good tips and much appreciated.  Thanks for sharing with the class.

Best regards from The Q

Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) over 7 years ago

And hopefully you've run a back up of the critical files recently :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago


I had this happen in May and I did panic. The lap top repair guy had mine for say 3 months and then produced a very old external drive with my data ( most of it). Y I am still afraid the old exrternal will fail and I have to load everything on an old desk top as it is incompatible with the new lap top. You give everyone good advice as it is easy to get mad or try something irrational.

Thanks for commenting on my Google juice blog and your comment could be the excellent start to another blog. Take care.

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) over 7 years ago

Hi Bryan - Oh that stinks.  These are super tips to help others finding themselves in this situation.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Bryan I mind that for added piece of mind:  back up regularly.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

Did you eventually get your laptop back and running? We try our best to back up our files at all times for those JUST IN CASE days.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Thanks for all the comments everyone!  The solution to my laptop was to pull the hard drive, install it in an external enclosure (turn it into a USB drive) and then attach it to a new laptop I bought this morning.  I'm almost fully back online with absolutely no data loss.

I got 3 and a half years out of my old HP Pavilion laptop and was very happy with it.  I got a new HP ENVY laptop and it rocks!  If any of you ever need tips on technology, give me a call.  I'm always happy to help.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Some worthy steps to follow Bryan. I had my laptop "fade to black" last year. It is a real pain but with external backups and cloud computing not much time or data need be lost. It is a bit of a pain to reconfigure the new computer but it is always offset by a new toy which contains the latest and greatest technology.

Posted by Doug Anderson, Bay Area Real Estate Views (Tucker Associates Real Estate Services) over 7 years ago

Bryan ~ there's nothing worse than thinking your computer has crashed!!  Good tips here to help everyone stay sane ... thanks

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 7 years ago

Bryan....I use an automated backup system.  It seems to me that when these things happen it is the most inopportune time!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 7 years ago

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