Monday, February 07, 2005

No More Z:

My Z: drive is, apparently, dead.

To give it the due it deserves, it should never have really lived to begin with. I harvested it from an old machine when I purchased my current system. It used to have all the software on it to run its own machine, but I hijacked it for use as an internal backup drive...

only it wasn't really a "backup" in the classic sense of the word, since, well, I stored my data on it and nowhere else. It was a "data" drive, really, so that I didn't have to clog up my main hard drive with data when it could be used to house actual software stuff.

I had noticed an issue with my Z drive a long time ago. For some reason, my computer would strain to find certain files on there. Eventually I hunted down the problem, which was identified to me as a "disk allocation error" or something like that. Having no clue what it meant, I looked it up, and it provided no help to me whatsoever. The error was usually located in Win95 machines, and I was running WinXP, so they had no advice for me whatsoever in terms of how to fix it. So I gave up trying to fix it....

until one day this week when I turned on my computer and got a full-screen error message that gave some complex details, most of which I ignored, until I got to the bottom line at the bottom of the screen: "Internal hard drive flawed. Recommend backup and replace." No provision for reformatting the thing. No provision for just rebooting the machine and all will be all right. Basically my machine was telling me to give up the ghost. It was the cyber equivalent of "He's dead, Jim."

Thankfully, I had seen this coming, so I whipped out my handy-dandy set of CD-RWs. Each of these suckers holds 700 MB of data, so I started backup up like crazy. After finally pulling all my photos onto CDs (most vacation photos -- get your minds out of the gutter!), I started to work on my documents...

except that the folder had gone missing. It had vanished. Completely. Victim, I think, to whatever malicious hardware error was otherwise consuming my drive. This disappointed me greatly, because there was much of importance in my documents drive. Not only were my resumes stored in there, but several letters which I knew I would need the addresses to again. (For example, letters to every single bar association to which I belong -- since I have to notify them if I ever move or change jobs.) The other "official" correspondence I can forget about -- like the letter I wrote to the landlord when I moved out of my last apartment four years ago -- but what I truly will mourn...

My creative writing documents were also wiped out. I had written one particularly decent 8-page short story which, to date, represents my pride and joy in terms of creative writing achievement. (Okay, truth be told, it's not so much "creative writing" as it is a colorful rendering of what my diary could possibly have looked like over a particular 7-month period in my life, but still, no one reading it would have needed to know it was a true story....)* I think I have a backup here in the office, but I'm scared to look. And even if I do, it might be an older version without some general touchups that I did on occasion.

Similarly, I lost several short plays that I had begun but never finished. I had stored them on my computer with the thought that seeing them again would spur me to continue them; they're now gone and I must start them again from scratch (if I even remember the subject matter and my rough outline of the plot, which I don't have written down anywhere). In addition, one small file I had -- entitled "Story Ideas" -- had enumerated several ideas for short stories which I had not even begun but which I had already begun mulling thoughts for. Those creative sparks are now also extinguished.

All I have left now to exercise my creative writing is this blog. And I think you'll agree, I'm certainly no Hemingway.

* ... although I am impressed with some of the entries on this blog. I wish I could write better more consistently.

6 comments:

p.p. said...

Dennis!, sorry to hear about all the computer problems. I know the feeling, and it sux.

You're also a very good writer; I, on the other hand, cannot put to sentences together.

p.p. said...

Oh, I meant to say, "two." I'm a retard.

Steve said...

Uh, Oh. I have this computer set up exactly the same way. I just installed a new 80 gig drive and use that as the c: local drive, and I'm using the 20 GB drive as a sort of place to put 'stuff'. So far, so good... but backups are ALWAYS important.

Me said...

That's awful!!

Kelly said...

I'm not so good about backing stuff up. But after a laptop crash last semester, I vowed to improve. I absolutely love my USB 'thumb' drive. I totally recommend it for people who are trying to develop a habit of backing up documents and pics in case of a disk drive failure like yours.

Dennis! said...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

I think for now I'm just content at backing up my stuff on CD-RWs, since they seem to have a good deal of capacity, and I'm probably not going to replace the Z: drive any time soon anyway.

But now that I'm experiencing some problems with my computer, I'm thinking maybe it's time for an upgrade... like maybe to a laptop... it would save so much space in my apartment....