Thursday, September 18, 2008

HARDWARE: How Do You Mend A Broken Computer?

Well, it isn't by playing any BeeGees music on it.

I heard sounds (and NO it was any Jive Talkin') coming from my computer and told Patrick I thought it was time to replace the hard drive. So, the plan was to replace the hard drive on Tuesday afternoon, which became Tuesday night for reasons I will make clear in a later post. I had made a complete backup of Nuklon to an external MaxStor drive Monday night and I had various disk backups of relatively recent vintage. I thought I was prepared for anything. I was tellin' myself dirty lies.

Okay, okay, I will stop with the historical reference to a long-gone disco band.

Anyways, the upgrade to a new drive was going to be simple. Patrick bought something faster and close to three times the storage, so I wouldn't have to spend time moving things around to squeeze out some space in drives C:, D: and E:, which were straining a little at the seams. I hadn't planned out the distribution of the space to those three drives and drive F:, back in Nuklon's first days. This wasn't going to be an issue, as Patrick was going to Ghost over the drives onto the new drive, allotting them the extra space during the process.

It was going to take two to four hours. Tops.

The first hole in THAT theory came early when it was obvious from Ghost's progress meter that it might take 20-40 hours to do the job. Patrick cancelled and restarted. Minutes later he was looking at me mournfully, informing me the backup MaxStor drive (connected through USB) had been torched by Ghost. The backups were gone. Not a prob! They were only backups. But with the MaxStor now disconnected, the process was back to being a four hour job, and I would end up with a backup in the form of the old drive. Four hours later, the drive was cloned. As per directions, I turned off the computer at this point, awaiting Patrick's return the next day.

That was yesterday. The system wouldn't boot up with the new drive. No way, no how. And Patrick sweated after that for hours. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I agreed to buy a new computer (to be called Popeye, after a few minutes thinking about Poopdeck). I fished the money out of my pocket and told Patrick to put the old drive back in the machine and I would try to run with it until Popeye could be built.

The machine still wouldn't start up.

Long story not short enough, my power supply suffered a fatal seizure somewhere during the afternoon. It more or less, took a drive controller along with it. This, Patrick sussed out after taking Nuklon back to his place and running through the data recovery machines he has. About 12 hours after he started, Patrick returned Nuklon with mostly original equipment, back to me. It had a new power supply and a reset drive controller, which will make the transition over to Popeye this weekend (please, please, please!). In the recovery period, he DID find the data WAS on the new drive, but in the necessary experimentation to get things working, he had to blow the data off that drive.

Where once I had three backups, now I had only the original current data.

BUT I HAVE A WORKING COMPUTER for the first time in about 36 hours. Sure, there were two other computers in the office, but I couldn't access anything with passwords because ALL of my password information was either on Nuklon OR had been on the backup external MaxStor drive. It was always assumed I could have just plugged that into Kingston or Ollie and got all my stored passwords that way. Ahhhh, the old saw about 'assume.'

Needless to say, the first thing I did tonight was to note all of this here to set up my excuses. After that, you better believe the first program I am running is the backup program!

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