Hard Drive Saga

As those following my Twitter feed (on Facebook, here or Twitter) know, the hard drive in my laptop failed a couple days ago. The warning signs when it finally failed were pretty impossible to ignore: I had two operating systems installed on the computer. One (Ubuntu LTS 10.04) would not boot at all (“Could not find /sbin/init”), and the other (Windows 7 x64 Ultimate) would boot but was running extremely slowly. It seemed the damage was much more prevalent in the areas that stored the Ubuntu “disk” (really just a file on the Windows NTFS partition), which was quite maddening because I had just downloaded a bunch of songs from Napster.

So I booted a live CD and ran a check on the Ubuntu disk first, in an attempt to salvage some data. Somehow during that process, I lost my /home directory completely, which raises a decent argument for using the Ubuntu One butt backup service, which was thankfully set up on that PC so I had only lost the most recent downloads. However, the Windows side was a bit more irksome – corrupted files simply wouldn’t let me copy any part of them or interact with the files in any way. Most of that stuff I had backed up somewhere else though.

In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did lose more than I realize. However, most of the stuff I would have lost that I don’t realize now would have been a holdover from the days of Windows Vista on that laptop, that hasn’t been touched in over a year. I do have the old hard drive, so if need be I can always pop that into a SATA drive reader and attempt to extract more of that drive’s contents. And, now that the whole saga is over, I now have a 640GB hard drive in my laptop (used to be 160GB), so I have plenty of space to ferry anything I need from my home to Liz’s, or to either workplace, or anywhere else I need to go. The new drive has 5 partitions: /dev/sda1 is a 100MB partition the Windows installer put the bootloader on, /dev/sda2 is a 200GB partition for Windows 7’s install, /dev/sda5 is a 784MB partition for Linux swap space, /dev/sda6 is a 24.5GB partition for the Ubuntu install, and /dev/sda7 is a 350GB partition for the /home directories on Ubuntu. Of course it’s all accessible from Ubuntu (read+write), and Windows is extremely happy only being able to access 200GB since it only had ~150 on the other hard drive.

Now, I just have to complete the arduous task of reinstalling all my programs on both operating systems, and getting everything set back up the way I like it.