The Wife’s Desktop Melts Down

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Published on: August 11, 2011

After an unrelenting, record breaking succession of 100+ degree days we finally got some rain and a little thunder and lightning to go with it. My yard is no longer threatening to spontaneously combust but the gods of rain exacted their price: my wife’s desktop computer.

The lightshow started after we’d already gone to bed and neither of us thougth to shut down and unplug all the computers. Apparently hers was still awake and doing some software update when we’re guessing a power spike scrambled the hard drive like my morning eggs. It refused to boot and diagnostics mentioned some vague error regarding the hard disk.

Unfortunately, my wife is the archiver of all the digital photos and video and not all of it had been backed to an external drive. If we don’t get the disk up and running we’ll have lost a significant amount of the summer’s photos not to mention the other documents that were not backed up to the external drive.

She’s spent a chunk of the evening attempting to get the recovery CDs to get her to a prompt from which we can chkdsk the filesystem but recovery CDs are apparently a sick joke and do not appear to be independantly bootable. I was able to boot to linux and confirm that the disk is working but couldn’t mount the data filesystem as NTFS has an heroed.

Next steps:

  1. Attempt to boot using my Win7 DVD to get a recovery shell
  2. Failing that, I’m pulling the drive out, mounting it in my desktop to try and chkdsk it from there.
  3. UPS with power conditioning. Surge suppressors are like thin gauze to the power fluctuations rampaging through what is laughingly called a power grid here in NW AR.
  4. NAS or a RAID 5 fileserver for backups. I’m thinking about putting a rack in my office closet to host a reasonably robust file server and router/proxy to keep Emily off 4chan.
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