Friday, June 10, 2005

Disk read error has occurred

This is what greets me on the screen of my IBM T40 Thinkpad this morning at 8am. Initially, I'm not to worried, but after a couple of re-boot attempts, it begins to sink in - I've lost my disk.

This is the kind of thing that happens to other people, not me. The T40 has been rock solid for over 3 years, and now this. The very interesting thing was I'd been paying more attention to backing up my hard drive in the last week or so. I'd noticed a new "Rescue & Recovery" software utility on the IBM internal site and being a sucker for new software, I decided to upgrade to this tool. While installing this software, the previous version gets uninstalled and the hidden recovery partition also gets removed. The good side is that I now have 15gb more space, the soon to be bad news is I don't have a recovery image. After the new software is installed I give it a try and create a bootable recovery CD (good news), but the backup of my 50+gb of data won't fit anywhere so I don't take a backup (bad news). Also, the interface to the backup is pathetic and makes it very difficult to do a selective backup.

But, I'm still thinking that a backup is important so on Wednesday of this week I run the Tivoli Storage Manager tool that is standard on the IBM image and backup lots of stuff to who knows where out on the network (good news), and hopefully, the restore of the data will also turn out to be good news.

So, here we go 1-800-IBM-HELP to the rescue! I call and select the hardware option and get a very friendly and helpful young lady who informs me that there is just one disk like the one I need and it's in London, Ontario. (Hey, I was just there last week on business) and that hopefully it will be shipped to Winnipeg and arrive by Monday, or Tuesday. I'd hoped for local availability and to get some of this out of the way today, but what can you do? The disk will be totally blank and I'm requested to call back and request software support to get the new disk imaged with all the standard IBM stuff when it arrives. Well, several more phone calls later I've logged a software call and the local deskside support person will call me back.

Up to this point I've been working from home, so I head into the office because I know deskside support doesn't make house calls. Once in the office I learn that Ray now only works on-site half time and won't be in until after lunch. I'm so dependent on being online and having that Thinkpad work all the time and everywhere, and now there is not much to do except wait. While I'm waiting I take the opportunity to clean my desk and do some long overdue filing.

Ray calls! Yahoo, we can get this process under way. I've decided to sacrifice a second hard drive (which is not backed up at all, but generally the stuff is recreatable, probably after several days of downloading and messing around) that I have to the re-imaging process so that I can begin to get on with my life. Ray's not too hopeful about recovering anything from the damaged drive and says he'll have the reimage done by the end of the day.

Back to my desk and I finish the clean up. I've started making a list of what I'll have to install and also a list of things I should backup more regularly and stuff I should print out once in a while. All my contacts are in Lotus Notes & Outlook. That network backup better be good.

More later... it's 2:30 and there is a lot of work ahead.

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