You probably have no idea how much of a relief it is for me to be able to see this:
The last few days have been a tense marathon of reboots, reinstalls, BIOS and jumper adjustments, nail biting and cigarette smoking. It turned out that Friday night’s prospect of me being able to retrieve most of my files from the drive with the broken install of w1nd0z3 was merely an illusion of some description – having reset a load of file permissions, I decided to pop out and relax for an hour or two, and decided that a drive that had just had a lot of alterations made to it could probably do with having CHKDSK run on it (old habits die hard – my father trained me on PCs back in the golden days of DOS, when GUIs were for dilettantes and graphic design professionals). So I set it running, and nipped out to see the Friday crew at the pub …
… and returned to see w1nd0z3 reporting the drive as RAW and unformatted. Reboots, BIOS tweaks and the reseating of connectors were all to no avail. Farewell, file structure. Ouch.
The hardest part, funnily enough, was leaping the psychological fence of accepting the loss and dealing with the situation. Luckily, VCTB was totally unaffected, as it is hosted elsewhere (though I had to dig out my dog-eared hardcopy passwords list for an awful lot of webservices). I had also made a fairly recent backup of my writing archive on a USB drive, which was my greatest concern. I’ve had to accept that most of my Mexico photos are now lost (unless them are still lurking in the memory cards from my old camera), and a whole bunch of other images and podcasts I’d collected from the intarwebs. But it could have been far worse.
The longest and most tedious part of the recovery has been re-ripping my entire music collection (around 300 CDs worth) – but even that has an upside, in that I now have twice the drive space, and that entire collection looks minute when compared to the emptiness that surrounds it. I’ll be hammering my free loans privileges at the library over the next few weeks, you can rest assured of that.
All in all, despite it killing an entire weekend, this has been a salutary lesson for me, one which I will reiterate for all of you reading:
TAKE REGULAR BACKUPS OF ANYTHING YOU CARE EVEN VAGUELY ABOUT – AND TAKE THEM ON RELIABLE MEDIA (ie NOT CHEAP BULK-PURCHASE DVDRs).
Buy a 2gig USB stick (they’re cheap as hell these days) and zip up everything onto it, once a week at minimum. And, last but not least, don’t screw with layer-cake legacy software like w1nd0z3 unless you either know what you’re doing or are working on a spare machine that you don’t care about. Cultivate a few friends in the industry, and be as pleasant as possible to that cocky college-age kid at the local repair store – you never know when you will be desperate for them to give you some good advice.
Anyway, enough of this. All seems to be back to operational status, and hopefully VCTB will be back to full steam from now on. Thanks for bearing with me.