10 July 2018: Thanks to Linux
Phew! That’s sorted out!
Last week I started backing up some of the files on my PC, only to realise too late that I had permanently deleted them instead. Since they included the configuration files for many of my programs I had no choice but to undertake a clean install.
Fortunately I gave up using Windows for general use years ago and switched to Linux instead. I only have Windows on my PC so I can boot into it to use a specialist ramblers’ mapping program, Outdoor Map Navigator from Anquet. It’s the only Windows program for which I have not yet found a Linux equivalent. I did try running it on Linux under CrossOver but it wouldn’t display anything after the initial login screen.
I have tried a number of different Linux distributions, starting with the now-defunct Mandriva. In the early days it was fun trying to set up Linux to work properly, as it wasn’t always straightforward. It is much easier nowadays. After trying a number of other distributions since Mandriva, I have currently settled on Linux Mint.
I have also tried a number of different Linux “desktops”, and used Enlightenment 16 for a while. (It is now up to version 22.) For the past few years I’ve used Xfce but I have just switched to Cinnamon.
So, how did I recover from my disaster? I backed up everything remaining except for my programs on to a 125 Gb external drive and downloaded the latest version of Linux Mint and put it on a USB stick. Then it was simply a matter of installing a clean version of Linux Mint 19 on to my PC, restoring the files I had backed up and using Linux Mint’s inbuilt package manager to install the programs I wanted that had not been installed by default.
I backed up all my website files, which is how I’ve managed to continue running this and other sites. The time-consuming part was reconfiguring my local version of the database system (MariaDB) used to store information on some of the sites.
I’m not sure that what I did would even be possible under Windows. Hopefully it will teach me not to make such a stupid mistake again.