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Monday, June 22, 2015

Another day, another hardware failure

Ziva the Maine Coon by Nicholas Erwin from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

Well, things were going far too well with just one computer death so far this year, so my gaming computer's motherboard decided to go hostile towards my SSD, -200 desiring all its provinces.

I still have no idea what the fuck. The motherboard works just fine - replacing that disk with another one worked just fine. And the disk works just fine hoo - I can literally hotswap it back where it was before after I boot any operating system, it's just that when it's plugged in during computer startup it now freezes during POST. It's crazy. I went through BIOS flashing and all the usual rituals, with no change whatsoever.

Amazingly, it's another crash with no significant data loss, just wasting a whole Sunday on trying to figure out what the fuck is going on (my expectations of disk failure would be disk not being detected, so it was pretty low on my list of hypotheses to try) and reinstalling everything. Fortunately I always keep notes of how to reinstall various operating systems, like this one here for Windows 7, which is still 90% up to date. I've seen Windows 8/8.1 and I want it about as much as I'd want a free Windows Phone.

Speaking of data loss, getting data from that old disk is still a bit awkward as I'd need to go through boot from livecd, hotswap disk, dump to some USB disk mess. It's mostly low value stuff like save games that I didn't include in backups for a good reason, but I was in the middle of some games, and it's mildly annoying.

There's also tons of software configuration that was lost - I hate how hard it is to sync Windows software configuration with cloud, except for Chrome. On Unix 90% of software can be configured with dotfiles, which are committed to git repository and then symlinked whenever I setup a new machine. I don't really have a good solution for Windows - or for that matter for the handful of Unix programs that don't use nice dotfiles. I could just keep text files with notes, or backup all their user data (including tons of irrelevant junk), or build some sophisticated configuration scripts trying to separate the relevant from irrelevant. The most annoying one that I lost is Open Broadcaster Software configuration that took a ton of tweaking to get right, and I have no recollection which numbers should go where now, with the rest I more or less remember what I need.

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