Friday, February 20, 2009

Of trials and errors

Today was an unproductive day. Woke up to a water cut. There was a burst main in the neighbourhood. My squash plans for the day went down the drain. Can't play squash if I can't come home and get a shower.

I didn't get much done in the office either. Spent the day struggling with replacement hard drive for my laptop. I needed to clone my old drive onto my new bigger disk so I wouldn't have to reinstall everything. Cloning disk takes about 2 hours because I had to attach the new drive to an external enclosure.

I did the cloning thing a total of four times today. The first three times, the data was copied successfully but whenever I installed the cloned disk in the machine, windows wouldn't boot up.

I asked all the pc technicians in the building what to do. One told me to clone the drive again. Another guy told me to clear my event logs before cloning the disk. I didn't think it would have helped but I did it.... Of course it didn't work. I tried a different disk cloning utility and that didn't help. Also tried repairing master boot record using recovery console from Windows XP CD with no luck.

The whole time this cloning was going on, I searched the internet for the same problem and tried the suggestions posted there. I tried everything except for the suggestion that the new disk should be installed in the machine as primary drive. I couldn't try that at work because I didn't have a bootable disk cloning CD at work. It was very frustrating to fail again and again after waiting a couple of hours for the disk to copy.

When I got back home, I searched my CD drawer for my utility disk with bootable disk cloning software. I plugged in the new drive into my laptop's hard drive bay and popped the old drive into the external enclosure. I plugged everything in and cloned the disk. The process took about 50 minutes to complete. It was faster because all the disk writing bypassed the USB interface. When it was done, I tried booting from the new drive and it worked! Cleaning up took longer. I had to boot from the utility disk again and repartition my new drive to more sensible proportions. Next on the list was disk defragmentation. My old disk was overstressed and often filled up to the brink. That left it fragmented beyond the help of any defragmenting software. With the extra space in the new disk, Windows could defragment the drive and it is much better now.

If you ever have to clone a laptop hard disk, you should install the new drive in your machine and put the old drive in external enclosure or secondary hard disk bay set as slave.

Okay, that's all I have to share today. I'm going to turn in early because I'm playing squash Saturday morning.

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