The good news: I was able to get my office computer functioning long enough to back up most of the stuff I needed onto my external hard drive. Thank goodness I actually had the presence of mind to buy one a couple of months back.
The biggest nuisance is that email and address book settings aren't quick or easy to back up. I'm stuck with clunky webmail and no easy contact list for the duration.
The bad news: I wasn't able to get it running after that. Which meant I had to contact our Helpdesk.
May god have mercy on my soul.
Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad. Yet. I actually managed to get someone in my office within a couple of hours. The computer went away for repair, and given the time of year, it's unlikely that I'll get it back until early next year. Bothersome, when I'm trying to prepare conference trips, revise manuscripts, submit grant proposals, etc., but still... better than having it taken away when it's all that plus classes going full bore.
But I know that when the computer comes back, I'm going to have to spend a day fixing all the helpful "adjustments" to my OS that tech services feel compelled to make.