Monday, October 24, 2005

Mangling my PC partitions

Saturday was a BAD day. I had a chunk of unused space on my hard drive which I wanted to be able to use, and a magazine with Partition Manager 2005 as a freebie on its disk. My baby daughter had dozed off in her cot and my wife had taken my son to the library. I decided to go for it. Now, given that this was a small window of opportunity, there wasn't time for a full backup. Somewhere, there is a mischievous spirit who jumps at opportunities like this, so with half an hour of partition mangling done done and five minutes remaining on the clock, the power went off...

Once the power was back, the PC wanted to be booted from the Partition Manager recovery floppy. My PC simply wasn't interested, possibly because my floppies are at least five years old and have spent a lot of time in the laundry room. Given that a couple of weeks ago I had dumped Ubuntu Linux as a dual boot option and replaced it with Fedora 4, the Linux area was all fresh and, to my mind, expendable. So I re-installed Fedora in the hope that I'd be able to at least boot into it and see the Windows partitions and copy off a few of the more desirable files. Fedora went in fine, and I could see the main XP partition, but not the one with all my data one (because, of course, that was the one I'd been trying to merge with Partition Manager).

So I did a recovery install of Windows XP, which sort of worked. When I originally installed XP I had an old hard drive connected on C:, plus a DVD-writer on D:, a CD-writer on E: and a USB Flash drive on F:. So the main XP OS partition on the new hard drive named itself G:. After install, I created a new partition for all my data, which got called F: since in the meantime I'd removed the flash drive.

When I did the recovery install, I didn't have the USB drive in. The XP OS partition renamed itself from G: to F:. I fired up Partition Manager and it managed to recover the partition I had been mangling, but it was now G: instead of F:. So half my PC thinks all the stuff on my G: drive is on F: and vice versa, while the other half is quite content.

I SHOULD bite the bullet, copy out all the data files, clear off the entire drive and start everything from scratch. But my time comes in the small chunks that toddler and baby permit, so I know I'll end up checking everything on the PC to see what breaks, why and trying to fix it bit by bit.

But as a consolation, I've bought a new 1Gb flash drive for AUS$70 (I think about US$50). 1Gb. That old C: drive in my PC is about six years old and is just 4Gb and I'd spent those six years filling it up. Now I'm just carrying around 1Gb of storage. Amazing.

No comments: