mysterious case of DR’s HDD: breathe and reboot

Do you remember the stories when computer engineer advices you to store all the important files on the partition D, and the partition C is for the Program files? Well, forget about it. The hard drive on my laptop is dead. In a seconds. No data saved. On both partitions. “But HOW?”, my friend screamed out this morning.

I have been using laptop computers for over a decade. Simply, my dynamic life style, frequent travels and the change of living and working places since the end of the 90’s determined that I will be using laptops. I had them many and experienced different malfunctions, software errors, but never so far had any major problems with hard discs, major enough to have complete crash and lost of data. I heard that  such situations usually happen on weekends when technicians are not working. Now I believe in that.

Yesterday morning I had this message on the screen: PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable. PXE-M0F: Existing Broadcom PXE ROM. I couldn’t start up the system, manipulate HDD from BIOS, find out what happened since I have relatively new laptop that is known for the excellent performance, durability, features. I tweeted out and facebooked on my ac.account the news and asked for help. I got some assumptions. Today, someone who happen to be computer engineer tried to boot my laptop from bios using Linux/Ubuntu, but failed. BIOS showed zero hard drive. Our fear became the worst case scenario that happened in really not desirable time in the project flow.

I haven’t back-up data in the last 25 days, at least. I haven’t saved my important files in the Dropbox either. I haven’t used the USB flash to back up my current work and projects I am working on, now. I lost them all in the seconds. We went to the computer service and the official technician immediately got me back in their working offices, opened the laptop, tested the hard drive on something few times, detected and announced it is dead. No help. No data extract. Nothing. They had to replace it with new one. I couldn’t say I was upset as much as I was shocked with the fact it actually happened without the reason and the fact that I am a good user, have the great laptop, and good life karma. We don’t know why did it happen. Neither the technician. He said in his twenty years of fixing computers sometimes things happen without the reason. In between what have happened today, I tweeted mostly and many of you have contacted me, and called me, even long distance. I am appreciating any of reaction of yours, kind words, support and help. That matters.

What I have lost is all data I’ve been working in the last 3, 4 weeks on the design of projects’ protocol, then research recent doc’s, e-Articles (that I can resume though). I also lost the TREE design on the mindmap, app files, all the relevant bookmarks (over 24 000!) for work and research that I will never be able to find or resume, many GB’s of photography (only 1/50  you can see on Flickr), over 300 GB of music (those around me know that music is “must” when I work), etc. I have less than 90 hrs to send the relevant documents before the deadline and I am writing this blog post while I download simultaneously eleven programs and services I may need, that I can think of at the moment, as I lost also the list of the existing programs in the previous life of this laptop.  I don’t even think about emails I lost in Thunderbird (please if anyone knows how to / if possible/ to bring back all the emails from different accounts, even those non existing, email me).  Some of you suggested there are disk doctors who can extract data, but I assume it costs a lot, and my technician told me that probably folks from Taiwan, who manufactured HDD, could retrieve the data.

But then, I believe that this event and data crash, and the new HDD will lead to newer and better things, more inspiring thoughts and productive ideas for the current and future projects. I perceive it as some kind of wonderful test. Test of the machine and test in life, and the relations with others. I didn’t tell you that I was writing a lot in my Moleskine notebooks in the last 24hrs. And there is more hard work for me in the next few hours. Nothing is lost, everything is on breathe and reboot.

My dear friend Simon Baddeley just sent me this quote that I will end my machine/data rumbling with:

“Sir Isaac Newton had on his table a pile of papers upon which were written calculations that had taken him twenty years to make. One evening, he left the room for a few minutes, and when he came back he found that his little dog “Diamond” had overturned a candle and set fire to the precious papers, of which nothing was left but a heap of ashes.
““O Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the damage thou hast done”.

Updated: I got Serendipity moment today. The technician “fixed”, by good chance, my, as I thought previously broken touch pad, by simply unlocking it with two keys. Goodness me, I spent months at OUCS, with Oxford engineers who couldn’t solve the mystery of not working touch pad advising to buy wifi mouse as the procedure of hardware touch pad fixing would last a month or two. In less than two hours, technician du jour showed me how it works now. Oi!