Posted by: Adam Deane | 05/01/2011

The 5 stages of grief

Grim ReaperGrieving is a process that everyone experiences differently.

Technology Mortality is something that you accept as a part of life. At some point you will receive the news you so dread to hear.
It happened to me as well…

My Laptop just died on me

You could hear the screaming from the other side of town. Noooooooooooooo !!!!
The beating on the chest. The pulling of hair. The wailing. The futile attempts to resuscitate. How could this happen to me!?

I’ve had my loyal laptop for 6 years (6144 in computer years..) and never thought of getting a new one.
I’m the only person in the company that still used Windows XP as a operating system.
Only 1.5GB RAM – which meant I needed to keep it on a constant diet of healthy non fattening applications (I didn’t even have an antivirus running…)
So we sent the laptop to the lab. The coroner is checking allegations of technical suicide or did it die of old age.

How people respond to a laptop death can either help or hinder the healing process.
An effective response to a death requires advanced planning and frequent backups.
Luckily all my work related documents and information were backed-up correctly, but a lot of my blog-related work was lost: articles that I was in the middle of writing, reseach notes, links, rss feeds…

An effective response increases the likelihood that the trauma will be minimized and ensures that the psychological equilibrium will be restored as soon as possible.
When a laptop dies on you, especially one that you’ve been with for so long, you go through the 5 stages of grief
1. Denial – “The laptop is fine”; “I’ll let it rest for 5 minutes and reboot”
Denial is usually only a temporary defence. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of problematic situation.
2. Anger – “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How could this happen?”; “Who is to blame?”
Once in the second stage, you recognize that the denial cannot continue.
3. Bargaining – “I’ll transfer the harddisk from one laptop to another…”
The third stage involves the hope that you can somehow postpone the inevitable.
4. Depression – “My life is over… Why bother any more?”;
During the fourth stage, you begin to understand the certainty of the laptop’s death.
You become silent, refuse to participate in social events and spend much of the time being grumpy. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
5. Acceptance – “”Well, I can’t fight it. I may as well order a new one.”
In this last stage, you begin to come to terms with the inevitable

I’m watching out for signs and symptoms of posttraumatic stress, but it looks like I’m starting to get over it.
The company bought me a new Dell XPS laptop. It’s got Windows 7 and a wider screen. “Cutting-edge technology” everyone tells me… It will take getting use to .

Ashes to ashes, microchips to microchips, rest in peace my dear laptop…
You will not be forgotten.


  1. Adam, this is a great post, and i feel you!

    I just lost all data, yes ALL data from my smartphone and thats data thats passed on from one instrument to another for over 8 years. I was told it was a ‘software problem’ (read ALL data will be lost forever). And i wasnt as smart as you – i did something quite the opposite of your back up efforts – i backed up everything other than contacts! Aaack! I went thru all those stages you have mentioned – its so true. I dont know about post taumatic stress – at least at the stage i am in perhaps – but I think I just kinda numbed myself into getting over it!

    Good luck with your new laptop. I hope we havent lost some good posts from you….!

    • Thanks for the condolences!
      I’m trying my best to recover…. ;->

      • (:

        adam at his best

  2. Did you guys feel like someone beloved has gone or like you’ve lost a part of your body?

    Are we becoming cyborgs?

    • An excellent analogy and video, Anatoly.
      Are we increasing our humanness .. Does technology help us live our life better…

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