Friday, March 9, 2012

Computer Crash, Software Malfunction, Panic, and a Free Fix

Yesterday my computer started acting weird.  My friend surmised it was from the solar flares but nothing else seemed to be messed up so I put the laptop away last night and hoped it would somehow fix itself overnight.  Then this morning I went to update some of my websites and nearly fainted.  Seems the program that I have been using FOR AGES suddenly wouldn't work.  For someone who needs to keep a half dozen websites regularly updated it was nearly time to panic!
I got the software disk for Expression Web (the website building program that I use that runs around $150) and for some reason it wouldn't repair or overwrite the program.  After trying everything to get the software repaired (trying to delete the program first which it wouldn't let me do because there is some sort of error, restarting the computer, downloading the service packs which made it worse, etc), I really started to panic.
My next thought was to buy a new computer and hope that the software could be reloaded on a new computer because I think there is a problem with the file path and the registry that is glitching up my current computer.  But after running to Best Buy and pondering the thought of spending around $700 for a new computer, I spent the day trying to figure a work around for the problem.  Expression Web was dead dead so I needed a new web editor.  Cheap would be good, free would be better, and something I could use relatively quickly would be best (usually the learning curve on this type of software is steep).
I used my Google Fu and found...that most people seem to use Wordpress these days.  But I don't have time to learn Wordpress.  So I downloaded a half dozen different free and trial programs for other CSS/HTML editors and found that Kompozer was just about what I needed (unfortunately it looks to be on life support as it hasn't been updated in over two years).  Then I did a bit of research and found that parts of Kompozer don't work--like the FTP part that sends the updated files on your computer to the web host's computer.  Then I found FileZilla which is a free FTP client.
So I went into my Expression Web files with Kompozer, make a couple of updates, used FileZilla to zap the files to my host, and it worked!!!
So if you are like the hubby, sorry for boring you to death--he knows nothing of computers but how to get to his email and FaceBook page but I was so happy that I resolved the problem for free and don't have to buy a new computer and/or new software that I had to rattle on and on a bit like I did above.
The moral of the story: when you have a crisis, Google, there may be a free or cheap way to fix your problem instead of the tried and true (and infinitely more expensive) way.

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