Friday, July 2, 2010

New Hard Drive Problems

Sometimes I hate computers.  They can be so frustrating, and trying to find the solution with google is often problematic.  Its easy to find the lowest common denominator, someones uninformed opinion, the wrong answer, or a site that requires membership or money or both.  Sorting wheat from the chaff is the issue, and whoever invents a search engine that can do that will be wildly successful.  (I like the firefox add-on surfclarity which automatically removes specified domains from google searches.  Think yahoo (always wrong) answers, or those annoying sites that return your exact search phrase.)

Bought a new hard drive the other day.  Its amazing how fast the damn things fill up.  I remember my first PC had an astounding 40 MB hard drive that I never did manage to fill.    I already have three in my home built rig.  The first was a 160 GB that I bought refurbished to keep cost down building the system.  When I filled that I picked up a 250 GB - bigger and better were available, but budget was tight.  Then I discovered I could back up movies to protect against toddlerzilla and got a 500 GB - not top of the line, but affordable.  Now I am installing a 1 TB hard drive - again not even the biggest available.  Crazy, but it cost 30% less than my original 160 GB drive.  I plan on not running out of room ever again by deleting a whole bunch of the crap that accumulates.

Even though my power supply is adequate, and I'd have a free bay by taking out the never used any more 3.5" floppy drive, I figured 4 hard drives was a little excessive for my system.  Extra heat, extra dust magnet, but mostly because I forgot to order another SATA cable ($3.99 online at NCIX, but $17.99 locally - 30% of what I paid for the HD!), so not worth it.   Popping in the new 1TB was no problem (yay SATA) but needed to move data from one or more of the full drives.  I planned on being 'smart'.  Move the 500 data to the 1TB, then the 250 to the 500, then the 160 to the 250.  I'd go from 3 full drives to 3 half empty drives.

It mostly worked.  But I decided I wasn't happy with the partition of the original drive.  I had originally split it three ways - one third for the system, one third for Leaf's stuff, one third for mine.  Mine filled up pretty much instantly, the system was 95% full, but Leaf's was mostly empty (except for my junk that I kept sneaking in).  I figured the new partition would work better with 40% system, 40% me, 20% Leaf.  Commence banging of head on desk.

I tried 4 different partitioning programs.   I could make an exact clone - ending up with 3 full partitions and a bunch of unclaimed space.  I could make a proportional clone - but again the drive would be split in thirds.  Despite all four programs claiming to be able to do what I wanted, none of them actually would.  Cloning a hard drive takes hours, the OS wouldn't boot, the OS would boot but not on the new drive, the data was corrupted.... after 6 or seven attempts I gave up.  It wasn't worth the pain and suffering.  I ended up doing a proportional clone.  Leaf's drive will have a bunch of unused space, mine and the system will fill up again.  Hopefully not before 10 TB hard drives are the norm.

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