How to fuck up your hard disk – and how to recover it

A few days ago, I got a computer from my host dad to avoid conflicts with my host brother about using his computer. There was still Windows XP installed with files and data from the previous owner, but I wanted to install Ubuntu anyway. That day the internet in my room wasn’t working so I really had nothing to do and started right away to install Ubuntu.

This shouldn’t have been that difficult – I installed Ubuntu already a few times on different computers and have never experienced any problems. That’s why I didn’t made any precautions. Lesson learned, I won’t ever do that again. Always make a damn update!

I would have made one, but I was/am rather short of funds: It’s an old machine, Pentium III, floppy disk (thank god – nowadays many computers are shipped without, I myself sometimes consider it as lesser important), CD drive and a 10 gb hard disk drive. So how am I supposed to do an backup without the resources I can use in Germany?!

Live Disk as usual, I change the partition by hand. It seems to go well – until to the next installation step: I need to assign root and swap to the partitions. But the wizard tells me the partitions are somehow broken. WTF? I cancel the installation, but it was too late, Windows wouldn’t boot any more.

It’s about fine with me – I could have used Ubuntu only. The big nasty problem was that my host dad, or better the computer’s previous owner needed some files he forgot to copy/backup/whatever. Shit.

I knew there were recovery tools for these kind of problems. I just had never ever needed something like that and I had to teach myself from scratch how to do it. Where? Big, old pal Internet would help.

I got a few tools which made hope, it showed all the data. But it was only freeware and didn’t allow to write the found data. How convenient.

I had a hell of a stress the last days. My host dad wasn’t that happy when he found out what’d happened. But after all it only confirmed his opinion that I was responsible for breaking every computer. My host brother didn’t let me use his computer, because he always has been pissed of about the need to share it and afterall I had now my own computer. Fine.

Last option: Internet cafe. A very interesting experience. Surrounded by Russians (age 9-17) playing Counter Strike and similar games. But at least the feeling that you can use a computer as long as you want and need to (okay, I had to pay … but that were peanuts 1Ls/3 hours).

I figured out how to use a tool I already tried out, but with which I was overburdened: testdisk. Back home I tried it out (after arguing with my host brother to change keyboards – I had only one for usb port which is pretty useless in DOS) and was relieved that it worked about as described, although it was a slightly newer version.

Even better: Windows worked. Internet worked. Ha, life is fine.

I wondered how I could donate something (I don’t have Paypal), but the main brain behind the tool also collects Euro coins! Very good, I ordered my parents to collect some and sent them over to France. Maybe I can even think of some lines in French to write him!

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14 Responses to “How to fuck up your hard disk – and how to recover it”

  1. annette Says:

    You are and will stay a slob :-)!

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