I have the latest technology update (although still no pictures). The good news -- I didn't loose completely everything (apparently my D: drive is still intact). The bad news -- the D: drive didn't have my research on it, so unless by some miracle it is still on the external hard-drive that died and is in CA getting either fixed or replaced, it's gone.
I'm in the process of installing updates, drivers, and programs. I expect it will take at least 10 hours, many of which will be spent on the phone with Norton Internet Security, I'm sure. I really hate this.
So, even though I should be able to get my computer back to a functional state, I doubt that it will be stable. Every 6 months it seems to have a major issue, whether that means hard-drive failure, the smell of burning and melting plastic, or some other catastrophe. I just can't do this anymore, so I may be purchasing a mac. After two terrible experiences with PCs (both of which have lasted 1.5 years), I have lost faith in them and regardless of when the next computer is purchased, I will be switching to a Mac. Right now, my next step is figuring out the financing of such an endeavor: loan, savings bonds, 529...
I just wish this weren't happening the week that I'm taking the GREs and the aural placement exam. I'd appreciate any and all prayers for the computer, the finances, the GRE tomorrow afternoon (12:30 p.m. my time), and aural placement exams.
I hope to have pictures up and running in the next week.
The good news:
I've been asked by a local coffee shop to exhibit my photography next Thursday evening.