You Would Cry, Too, If It Happened to You
Adventures in Vermiculture

Hard drive, he said: A Tale of Slavery and Reeducation

Some Notes of Thanks to begin:

Thanks to Ken Arneson at the Will Carroll Weblog for succumbing to the temptations of Double-Dactylism. Ken has posted a double dactyl of his own with a politico-sectarian bent, which I commend to my readers’ attention.

Thanks as well to Evan Schaeffer at Notes from the (Legal) Underground for his link to the double-double-dactyl fast food/weight gain post below.

And particular thanks to all those who felt my pain yesterday, as I wrestled with the apparent downfall of my principal computer. Here is an update on that situation:

First, while I am no apologist for Windows operating systems, Microsoft cannot be blamed for this one. Truth to tell, it’s my own darned fault: I inadvertently interrupted the workings of a non-Microsoft disk utility, resulting in the corruption of one or more files needed to launch Windows. The result was a message telling me that the necessary file was missing and suggesting that I restart with CTRL-ALT-DEL . . . which simply produced the same error message every time.

Unable to salvage the situation myself, I entered upon a series of conversations with several helpful young women -- from Bangalore or someplace equally subcontinental -- at Dell technical support. They were knowledgeable and genuinely helpful, putting the lie to reports I had read of a decline in support quality at Dell. We ran diagnostics, for hours; we tried extracting the needed file from the Windows install disk; we tweaked and tickled, all to no avail. Faced with the prospect of reinstalling the operating system from scratch, I shuddered at the thought of losing all of the useful data that -- but of course, Mr. Murphy! -- I did not have currently backed up. At that point, Ms. Dell proved herself invaluable: she suggested that because the hard drive itself appeared to be fully functional, perhaps it could be swapped into another computer as a second, “slave” drive, permitting me to copy out the critical data.

This proposal I immediately put into effect. After overcoming my trepidation at physically fiddling about inside of a complex electronic device, I successfully extracted the errant drive, consigned it to slavery in a second machine that I had conveniently laying about and . . . Eureka!

This morning, the wandering lambs of my data are safely loaded on to recordable CDs, contentedly bleating as they await their return to the fold. (Bah!) I have liberated the hard drive from its durance vile. I have returned it to its proper place and it is running through the Windows XP installation routine as I type. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world, or soon will be. I do wish, however, that HAL would stop rubbing it in.


Rick Coencas

Hal is right. It is always human error. I know, I build software for a living.

Glad to have you back on line. Now that you've swapped out a harddrive, before you know it you'll be building your own machines and tivo-ing Tech TV.


Congratulations on your hard-earned triumph and thank you for that usage of "durance vile".

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