Monday, March 13, 2006

The Unthinkable

It happened so quickly. The program I was running locked up and then within a few short seconds, the screen switched to a bright, blank blue color. I began to feel the blood drain from my face.

A reboot confirmed my fears. I was facing a full hard disk drive failure. Stomachs clenched, pupils dilated and my first thoughts ran along lines of ‘where are my backup files’ and ‘how much will this cost me’ at the same time I was inserting the XP boot disk.

Booted up into the recovery mode from the installer disk. Ran XP in safe mode. Managed to make it into safe mode once, but the program became unstable within a few minutes, rebooted, which now takes five to seven minutes. Ran some diagnostics in a DOS shell. Yes, my hard drive has died.

‘This disk has one or more unrecoverable errors’

The digital man, his entire working life existing mostly within the mechanical confines of an 80 gigabyte internal hard drive suddenly found himself adrift on the open ocean of life as he watched his steadfast stead take on water and list beneath the waves. It feels like a pet cat or dog has gone missing or is very sick. It’s kind of like an empty yawning sensation that nags in the pit of the guts, like a worm twisting on a hook of frustration.

Fortunately, I have a life raft. The hours ticked by until a neighbor arrived home and I was able to use her machine to check on the state of the food supplies in my life raft, the quality and extent of the files I had backed up.

Aside from the physical inconvenience of now being marooned without any working computer of my own, I have sustained only minimal data loss as a result of the hard drive failure. What I have lost is annoying, recent photo’s, my downloads file of the past year and a half, my full email records, internet favorites and contact list, and all the original work on chickens Vs tanks. I have also lost anything and everything to do with gaming, although these are only games and really not very important. In a sense this is disheartening, but it’s not so bad if I look at what I have still got and the fact that the majority of what I have lost is easily, if not time consuming and annoyingly, replaceable.

I still have nearly all of the photo’s of the past year and a half, and of those photo’s I have lost, I posted the best of them on the web, so I will be able to recover some part of them at least, including chickens vs. tanks, which is on hold to say the very least until I am back up and running, which will take at least a week. I still have nearly two years worth of lesson planning material. I still have the full copy of everything I have written in Japan, more or less. I still have all my music, movies and pre Japan downloads. I will still have an old email contact list. I hope I still have the draft of the bay, although I do hope a certain someone still has the copy I sent to her locked away in an email somewhere. If that certain someone reads could she please let me know?

I was lent the use of Aine’s laptop, the one which recently also succumbed to full hard drive failure, giving me the diagnostic experience to arrive at the conclusions I have regarding my machine. I immediately went to the video store and rented ‘The Big Lebowski’. Reverted into the modus operandi of ‘The Dude’ in order to see myself through the data crisis. Made a white Russian and went to bed.

Now I wait for 10am, when the companies help line opens in Tokyo to schedule a pick up and deliver repair job. Unfortunately, my warranty expired quite some time ago, so this will cost me a few maan to bring my machine back up online, however, when it does arrive back, I will be able to start again with a fresh clean system and will ustilise even more intensive backup methods than ever before. In the mean time, if you need to get hold of me urgently, please use my lycos email address, which is my full name, with no spaces, full stops or underscores @lycos.com. Or there's the good old fashioned telephone of course.

What the hell am I going to do this evening?

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