Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Evil Partition

So I purchased a new desktop.  I stayed within my budget.  I only ended up spending $300.  Now, I had an old 120 GB hard drive that I installed Vista on while I attempted to sort out my data recovery situation.

I had 2 identical 250 GB drives mirrored together in a RAID that were used in my old computer.  I knew my data was intact.  So, I attempted to recover my data using methods I have used in the past.  The problem is that Vista and even XP will not boot with either of these drives attached as a secondary slave.  I've used this method many times to recover data from a dead OS (typically XP).  However, in my case it wasn't working.

I moved on to my backup plan, Knoppix!  Now this has worked for me in the past too.  Knoppix will allow read/write access to an NTFS partition and Samba allows remote access to network shares to move the files to.  Again I ran into problems.  Knoppix wouldn't mount the drives in read/write mode.  I could read the files just fine and eventually managed to recover about 80GB of the 200GB of data.  That filled up my 120GB drive that I installed Vista on.  I still have about 120 GB of data left to recover and I was basically out of space.

Not having a place to recover the data to, I decided the best option would be to format one of the 250GB drives and use that to keep the data on.  However, this proved to my much more difficult that I would have liked.

Not having a floppy drive limited some of my simpler options.  However, the partially corrupt partition caused me constant problems.  Windows was not able to destroy the partition in the OS and even a Windows Vista install choked when it attempted to read the drive.  Also, Knoppix and Ubuntu were choking when they attempted to read the drive during an attempted install.  Eventually I tried installing a server edition of Ubuntu just to erase the drive and it worked!

After canceling the install, I was able to go into Vista and delete the Linux partitions and format into NTFS.  That is where I am at now.  I expect the format to finish soon and then I will again have fun attempting to recover my data.

Over all, the computer build has been completely painless.  Even Vista itself has given me no problems.  However, getting the data off of my drives has been an absolute nightmare.

I think I have convinced myself that another copy of Carbonite would help avoid this problem in the future.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My "Server" is sick too!

Last week I fell ill and wasn't even able to make it to classes.  Well... I just got back in town, go to power up my "server" and discover that it is blue-screening on boot!

I managed to swap around some hardware and have a different computer acting in its place.  My "server" is basically an old PIII desktop running Windows 2000 pro.  I use it for ICS here in the dorms so that I can get my laptop on the Internet and in the process bypass a few of the campus security software installs.  I'm really not bypassing any of the security systems because it is still all correctly installed on my server (just not on my laptop).  I just then use my server, with a fancy 4 port NIC, to get everything else on the Internet. (This also includes my Wii which would normally not be able to get on the Internet here in the dorms.)

The problem is a hardware based.  It really makes me sad because I don't have the time to solve this problem now.  I'll attempt to work something out later this week.  The worst part is that it has two 250GB hard drives raided together in it.  A ton of my data is on that box.  I'm almost 100% certain that I didn't lose anything.  The only major glitch it getting the data off of there if I need to reformat.

I might end up buying or borrowing an external enclosure to check to see if my data is still intact.  As for fixing the actual problem, I'll have to make some major decisions.  I might just retire the hardware and use the other PIII I have in my dorm room (this one runs Windows XP though).

The only thing I need to connect still is my printer.  I'll save that task for later tonight.