Resigned Aggravation Inducing Disks   Leave a comment

Personally, I blame Genghis.

On Sunday morning I continue my game of Civilization 5, and its persecution of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. I wander off for a few minutes, poke the computer to wake the screen, and it’s locked up. I try to kill Civ, but Windows is also grinding to a halt. Huh. Reboot.

Whilst it’s starting, the BIOS complains that one of the drives in the RAID array’s failed. Oh. But there’s not much you can do in the BIOS, so I boot into Windows and have a look. Yep, drive’s failed, apparently. That was worthwhile extra information. To the Diagnosticmobile!

I grab Samsung’s drive test tool, burn it to a CD, and boot off it. It doesn’t work. You type in the number of tests, and nothing happens. Huh.

Digging through my pile of CDs-that-will-probably-be-useful-one-day, I find a Linux Rescue CD. So I boot off that, spend a while with Google deciphering its drive diagnostic capabilities (and where their executable files are hidden. Linux is frustrating; I know I just need to edit a text file, or run a command line program, but which one? Where is it?! Argh), and run the SMART tests. Everything comes back fine. Jolly good.

I put Samsung’s disk back in. Still doesn’t work, so I have a look to see if there’s an obvious reason. It also doesn’t work on a seperate Samsung drive on the other controller, so it’s not that it can’t talk to individual drives in the RAID array. I poke around on the disk, and it turns out it’s created the RAM drive it’s supposed to, but not copied the diagnostic to it, and I was running it off the CD. Copy files, run from RAM drive, works.

Disk is fine.

Righto, Google had suggested that it was a known problem with the 8.9 Intel Matrix doobry, so I boot, mark it as fine in the Intel tools, upgrade them, and return to Civ V. Easy.

No. The BIOS claims that one of the drives is missing from the array; it’s one OK drive, one failed drive, one missing drive. I boot into Windows from the old disk. The Intel Matrix doobry seems to have no way to say “you know that disk you think is missing? And that disk that just happens to be of the same type, on the same port? You don’t think that, perhaps, that’s quite the coincidence?”. I figure that such an obvious oversight must have been fixed, so upgrade the Intel drivers to version 10-point-something. I’m not sure why I didn’t find that version when I first asked Google for the drivers, but there you go.
Versioun 10-point-something still can’t just re-add the “missing” drive to the array. Oh for crying out loud. But at least it can mark the not-actually-failed drive as OK, and rebuild the array from the two now-good drives. *Sigh*.

This will take a while, so in the meantime, let’s make curry. That will also take a while.

In Skeggy I’d had a Dhansak as my Indian meal, and really enjoyed it, so wanted to try to make one myself. This was my chance! It was to be Pork Dhansak, which is probably heretical, but it’s a tasty heresy that was on special offer so that’s OK. I sort of mashed together this quick-and-easy BBC recipe and this probably more “authentic” but definitely more complicated recipe. Not literally, I didn’t make both and then mix them up, I just combined elements to make it tastier than the former (no tamarind? Tsk) and easier than the latter. And replaced the expensive sheep with cheap pig.

Once that’s all assembled, it wants to be left to stew for a couple of hours. Back to the Recalcitrant Array of Individualist Disks.

The array’s rebuilt. Hurrah! Everything looks OK (well, apart from its boot partition which seems strangely “raw”, but I put that down to oddness), so it’s time to reboot.

It doesn’t work; it gets caught on an error about a device being missing. Normally easy to solve, but the Windows DVD fails to fix it; we get caught in an endless cycle of boot – error or bluescreen – reboot. Clearly it meant it about the boot partition. Back to the external drive.

It doesn’t work; it gets caught on an error about a device being missing. Oh dear.

Fortunately, the Windows DVD’s boot fixer-upper sorts this out, and we manage to get into Windows. Whilst it’s firing up I’m not even sure what it’s booting from; both the external disk and RAID array seem to be flashing their LEDs furiously and making funny noises, but investigation suggests we’re booted from the external drive (although the array’s boot partition has also re-appeared). Phew. The RAID array suggests it wants to scan itself and fix errors. Well, I’m sure there is something I have to do to the curry.

Once the array’s got itself in order (by getting to 57% and seemingly stopping. No sound, fury, or blinking red LED. Re-open the Matrix doobry and yep, we’re good to go. OK, fine.), it’s time to make it bootable again. I can’t be bothered with mucking around, so I simply overwrite its boot partition with the one from the external drive. Again. Forty minutes and a fix of the boot sector later, we’re done. Hurrah.

All that fuss and bother over a disk that was perfectly fine.

Still, the curry was nice.

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