(See followup article here.)
These days my notebook computer is absolutely mission critical for me. If my notebook computer were to fail and if it were to take some days to get it repaired, the loss of use of the computer for those days would be a really big problem. Fortunately, a few years ago I figured out how to reduce any service disruption due to a computer failure to just about zero.
The key is simply to purchase two of whatever computer model I am using, so that I have a physically identical spare computer at all times. Here’s an example of how it works.
A month ago I got a new notebook computer. It’s an Asus Zenbook. Thin and light with a handy touch screen and a solid-state hard drive. And, following my practice of recent years, I did not buy just one, I bought two.
After I had been using the new computer for about three weeks, the display screen started acting up. A rectangular section of the screen would start to flicker and then become unreadable. I’m not sure of the exact cause. Probably there are a series of LCD driver chips tucked away somewhere inside the screen lid of the computer, each chip responsible for a few hundred pixel columns on the screen. And one of the driver chips is flaky due to some infant mortality, that’s my guess.
So of course what I would expect to do is send in the computer for warranty repair. With Asus this means shipping it to Asus, and then waiting a week or more for them to repair it and send it back to me. A week without my computer would, however, be intolerable.
Today I popped open the two computers, swapped the solid-state hard drives, and closed them up again. The formerly spare computer is now my working computer (and I am using it right now to write this blog post). And the formerly working computer is now my spare computer and it will get shipped to Asus for repair of the screen.
Later the repaired spare will arrive from Asus and I will keep it handy, in case some future problem forces me to swap the hard drives again.