Sunday, April 23, 2006

Kicked the Bucket

I spent this week trying to nurse my HP Pavilion back to good health. She started getting sick about two months ago with a boot error telling me there was something wrong with the hard drive. This is the same hard drive that I had replaced only 10 month earlier. I was convinced, despite the obvious symptoms that it was anything but a bad drive.

One techie told me he thought it might be “flaky memory” sticks. Another thought it might be a bad IDE cable. No one wanted to believe that this pretty new Maxtor hard drive installed in April 2005 could have been the culprit. But it was.

Well many hours of nursing, diagnosis and some procrastination, the drive ultimately gave up the ghost this past week. In the end, there were almost continuous lost data files, reboots with CHKDSK, and ultimately WinXP could no longer move files or delete files when asked – except in Safe Mode or using the DOS command function. In the end, I was desperately trying to save my contacts and backup from Outlook before she died. I was successful doing this from the command line. Trying to remember the DOS line command for changing directories was interesting. In the end, the creature was vibrating terribly and making a groaning sound when it started and stopped. I was inclined to take a hammer and put her out of her misery.

To play it safe, I replaced all of the RAM sticks as well as the hard drive – this time with a Seagate, the same model that the box came with. I am hoping for better luck this time. Fortunately, the new Circuit City located here in Augusta had all of this on the shelf.

The fun, of course, comes with the re-installation of the o/s and all of the programs and data files. Last year when this first happened, I smartly invested in an external hard drive to use as a back up, so the data files were easy. But it still took about nine hours to install, update and set up the o/s and all of the programs. Downloading and recreating local versions of all my websites and getting all of the settings the way I want them, will take even longer. I guess the next step is to look into creating the ability to create an image file of the whole hard drive and keep that somewhere for when this hard drive dies.

Life marches on!

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