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Volunteer on Willem's Blog

Rescuing files from a broken harddisk

Make backups to be safe rather than sorry!

Oct. 16, 2018
Yesterday I helped a young woman with her broken computer containing precious photos, could I safe them?

Yesterday a young woman brought me her laptop, it didn't start anymore and it only showed an error message. It turned out to be a broken harddisk. It startled her when I told her that all data on the disk was lost. She told me it contained precious photos of her pregnancy and young child. What could I do?

Helping people with free software

Installing Debian GNU/Linux on an old laptop

July 20, 2018
This week I helped a man with repairing and reinstalling his computer with Debian GNU/Linux.

This week a man brought his laptop to the community centre where I help people with computer problems as volunteer. The old laptop wouldn't start anymore and had to be reinstalled. Instead of Windows, I installed a free operating system. I think it is important to tell you how and why I did it.

Being a volunteer in Amsterdam-Zuidoost

Computer support in the local community center

Nov. 21, 2016
About my work as volunteer in the local community center in Amsterdam Zuidoost

After realising how lucky I am as an healthy, well educated, young man with a solid income, I wanted to do something for other people as volunteer. It just so happens to be that two years ago I received a flyer in my mailbox from the local community center: they were looking for someone with some knowledge of computers. A very interesting journey was about to begin!

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Downloading Debian
Downloading Debian
Typical alley in Venserpolder, Amsterdam-Zuidoost
Typical alley in Venserpolder, Amsterdam-Zuidoost
Installing the disk in the laptop
Installing the disk in the laptop
Error messages while reading data from the harddisk
Error messages while reading data from the harddisk
Returning the precious photos on an USB-drive
Returning the precious photos on an USB-drive
Replacement disk tucked way inside the laptop
Replacement disk tucked way inside the laptop
The community center is like a cosy living room
The community center is like a cosy living room
Different activities are organised at the community center
Different activities are organised at the community center
Boot device not found - that's not good
Boot device not found - that's not good
Creating bootable USB-drive for installation
Creating bootable USB-drive for installation
Replacement disk
Replacement disk
You never know what kind of machine will show up at the computer support sessions...
You never know what kind of machine will show up at the computer support sessions...
Opening the laptop to remove the disk
Opening the laptop to remove the disk
The error message was right, quite literally: the boot device is missing!
The error message was right, quite literally: the boot device is missing!
The laptop is working again, this time thanks to (mostly) free software
The laptop is working again, this time thanks to (mostly) free software
Numbers instead of letters: a keyboard feature easily mistaken as malfunctioning if you are unfamilair with Numlock
Numbers instead of letters: a keyboard feature easily mistaken as malfunctioning if you are unfamilair with Numlock
The disk is usually fixed using some tiny screws
The disk is usually fixed using some tiny screws
Installing Debian involves answering questions like the desired language
Installing Debian involves answering questions like the desired language

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