I was reading a blog post on leadership and decided that to print it off for future reference. When I clicked the print button my computer screen flashed and the window shut down. Not thinking it was anything to be concerned about I went back online to the site and proceeded to click the print button again, this time as the article was printing I saw the icons on my desktop were flashing and then disappeared.
Once the article was printed about 20 windows one on top of another flashed up stating that my computer was at risk and that the hard drive was overloaded and if I wanted to correct the problem that I needed to click the okay button and purchase the software to fix the problem or I would encounter a total hard drive failure.
Now I do know a little about viruses and am familiar enough with the scam that I needed to purchase something in order to fix my computer and once I put in my credit card number not only would my computer problem be solved but so would my good credit because they would sell my information to the highest bidder.
I shut down my computer and tried to reboot, but when I did I found that all of my documents and pictures files were gone. I tried to restore my system to an earlier date thinking this might fix the problem, but no matter how far I went back I could not locate my files.
The kicker is, (meaning I could have kicked myself) I have an external hard drive on my desk top that I use to back up to, but I have failed to do so for the last 6 months. So when a crisis happened I could have been prepared, but by my own lack of foresight and discipline to back up, I was caught in a terrible situation.
Lesson number one: Don’t panic! I tried not to think about all of the documents, articles,pictures and presentations, not to mention several chapters of the book I have been writing that were missing at this moment. How could a virus just eat everything up? I did a search for different picture and document folders that I had and when I did the search I noticed that it was flashing up all of the folders that I couldn’t find, so maybe they were there somewhere still on my computer.
Lesson number two, Think the problem through and do what you can. When I went to the office the next day I talked to our office IT person who said that the files were probably still there, which gave me some relief. I tried what he told me to do to restore my computer, but was unsuccessful. It was pretty frustrating and I was ready to through the whole computer out the window. I reached the end of what I could do about this problem on my own, I now needed an experts help.
Lesson number three: Seek help from someone who has experience with the problem that you are facing. The next day I told our IT person that I had been unsuccessful at restoring my computer, he told me he was sure that he could fix the problem, because he had encounter and got rid of this type of virus before. To make a long story short, our IT person came over after work and within one hour he was able to find my hidden folders and restore my computer back to normal. I was totally thrilled, I had set myself up for a major loss. I could have never replace all my documents and pictures.
As I thought back over this situation with a sigh of relief I realized the three lessons I learned are the perfect steps to take when encountering any type of problem.
Oh, I did learn a 4th lesson; when faced with any problem always look for the lesson to be learned. Never encounter a problem without learning something valuable from it.