"Disk boot failure..."


Those of you who may remember the above image from a week and a half or so ago might be curious about how things have been progressing.

Briefly, not real well.

(Inserting a cut here (on the Tumblr side) to shield the eyes of innocent onlookers from the discussion of painful technical issues. The tl;dr version: My big work computer is screwed, I’m going to be fixing it for days, I will be cranky while this happens, my apologies in advance for an anticipated decrease in cheerful posts. (sigh))

Having tried everything one normally tries inside the case when a drive has non-noisily failed — swapping power and data cables around, checking everywhere for loose or dirty connections, fiddling with the BIOS (insofar as I dare to… I don’t like messing with the BIOS: there is nothing more pathetic and annoying than a motherboard you fried yourself), I then turned to out-of-case remedies and ordered in a SATA drive enclosure (we needed one anyway…) so that I could test the drive using a USB connection and find out whether any data could be reclaimed from it at all.

So yesterday the enclosure arrived. (Along with a Seagate 3-Tb external drive for backing things up from now on.) Very nice, too: sleek design, pretty. With due care the failed drive was put into it and powered up.

Nada. (Or as I originally just typed, Dana, which as Irish people will tell you is another thing entirely. )

So the situation is as follows:

(a) I now have a failed boot drive that will have to be sent off for data recovery in a clean room. What diagnosis I can perform at this end suggests that the failure was very likely electronic (drive board chipset failure, a short, etc etc) rather than mechanical, which is about as good as the news gets at this end: probably the disk platters will not have been damaged. Nonetheless this is going to be annoying and expensive to recover from.I haven’t actively started soliciting quotes yet, but my best guess suggests that if I get away with paying as little as €500 for recovery, I should count myself lucky. It could be double or triple that. (sigh) I will also have to spend a while wondering whether it’s worth sending the thing off for recovery at all, as I have no definitive list of What Used To Be There to compare against What’s there Now in the files restored from backups. (See  (b).) I think I know. But then I thought the backups were complete and that most important program installs had been done to the 1Tb F: drive.


(b) While there are fairly recent backups of C: drive material (the most recent was May 18th, [heavyirony] whoopee, happy birthday to me [/heavyirony]), they are not as complete as I wish they were: some directories in the C: drive that should have been tagged for backup were not. (Mea culpa, mea bloody maxima culpa.) Some of them are/were quite important, like my installation of Dragon Naturally Speaking, Scrivener and so forth. Now, these can be reconstructed: in almost all cases I still have, or can quickly recover, the original installation media / files. But doing so, weary piece by piece — including in some cases having to install original files and then their upgrades, one after another — is going to take days of time that I really wish I didn’t have to spend right now. (While I am also busy finishing a writing project.) Ah well.

(c) The backups that did restore haven’t quite settled in at the W7 system end. In particular, user profiles from the old installation, though their files are all there, have not re-manifested themselves in W7 as yet… so that desktops are MIA/unavailable, and everything has to be searched for before it can be used or worked on. (And if the profiles don’t come back after a few reboots, I’m going to have to start working out how to make them come back. Oh joy. The Descent Into The Registry: “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.” Gaaaaaaah x2.)

…So. Those of you who follow me may find me a little less forthcoming with posts than usual for the next 3-5 days, and if my tone sounds a little strained when I do post, you’ll know why Please bear with me until I get this mess as sorted as as it can get in the short term.

Thank you. 🙂

This was crossposted from DD’s tumblr http://ift.tt/1pHE23c, where it was published on June 05, 2014 at 11:18AM

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P J Evans June 8, 2014 - 8:11 pm

Ow. And also oh, futz.
(Went through this last fall. The system drive died, the 1TB data drive survived, but in the process of moving it from box to box the data port got munged to the cable won’t stay in. I need to take it in and see if it can be recovered – most of the stuff actually was backed up, and in any case there’s maybe as much as 200GB on it.)
[grit teeth] Aren’t computers wonderful? [/grit teeth]

Dwight Williams June 13, 2014 - 1:03 am

Wonderful, in that way that swords with more than the usual two edges often are, yes…

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