Heard back from Micro Center today. Good news: my hard drive (and all of the laptop’s hardware, for that matter) appears to be undamaged. Bad news: it looks like I got a virus from somewhere. MC’s running their virus removal program/routine/magic-fixer-upper-thing on the laptop. Hopefully all of my files are, in fact, present, intact, and undamaged. I’m kinda worried, as when I checked the drive before I sent it to Micro Center, all of my files/documents appeared to be missing (but the directory folders were still there, so I am hopeful). Once I get the laptop back, I’ll be installing some quality antivirus software and instituting a regular file-backup routine.
Also, a warning to all of my readers: beware this virus as it is almost certainly a scam as well. When I booted up my laptop and logged into windows, I got a large cascade of error messages that literally covered my desktop. A moment later, what appeared to be a Microsoft system diagnostic program began running even though I hadn’t prompted it too. It claimed I had multiple hardware failures, and that I needed to purchase the “full version” of the program to fix the problems. Granted, I’m no expert, but if this happens to you, DO NOT CLICK THE “BUY FULL VERSION” BUTTON!
I don’t know whether whoever’s behind this will just take that one payment or steal your credit card information (though I’m guessing the latter). Either way, don’t do it. Spend the money on a quality antivirus program, which is what I should’ve done when I bought the laptop.
Anyway, I should be getting the laptop back from Micro Center in the next day or two. I’ll let y’all know how it all turns out.