I’d be better paid if the ‘s’ were a ‘c’   Leave a comment

At least this is more up my alley than… Exactly.

So Saturday (the 26th) was A Fun Day. I’ve been looking forward to writing this, by which I mean I haven’t.

I woke up early to go shopping, and turned on the laptop to prod the internet whilst I ate breakfast. This didn’t work, because it wasn’t connecting to the internet. Apparently the Network Location Awareness service had gone away, and reassuring it that it was still in the bedroom, still connected to exactly the same wireless network as ever, wasn’t enough to reassure it into action.

“Harrumph”, I thought, “I’ll sort that later”, and went to the shops. I forget why exactly, although Christmas presents were probably involved. I went in to Wilkinsons, where I met an acquaintance I’d not seen for a few years, and her new daughter (I think she used a feminine pronoun, anyway. It’s not that I hate babies – some of my best friends are babies – but they do all look the same, right?*). It was one of those funny chance meet-ups where you knew each other vaguely a few years ago, got on fine but were never particularly close, and you’ve done the polite thing of acknowledging each others’ existence and asking a few questions, but now both parties are thinking this has gone on slightly too long – just like this sentence – and how do we get out of it without being rude because we really just want to get on with what we came out to do.

On the way home I thought I’d try one of Costa’s fancy, overpriced Chrimbletide praline lattes as a treat. Unfortunately, after the longest wait in a coffee shop I’ve ever had, I took it away with me, and decided to be a clever dick by drinking it with the lid off so I could get at the cream. Unfortunately, it was rather windy, so I wound up getting my new, clean clothes sprayed with milky coffee. I am an idiot. How was it? It tasted vaguely hazelnutty. So vaguely that it took me a while to be certain they’d put any syrup in. Pleasant enough, but a messy disappointment.

Right, so, I suppose I’d better fix that laptop then, right? This was spread over several days, but I’m going to describe most of it here so I can stop caring. The thing had been crashing recently, and I’d tested a few things (new memory being the first suspect) to no avail, so ran the built-in diagnostic (a brilliant feature every computer should have). It wasn’t long before a hard-drive error popped up. Hurrah.

I’d actually been a bit suspicious, because the symptoms were similar to when its first hard-disk died, so had been extra careful to back stuff I cared about up recently. But still, this meant a lot of creating images of disks either as back-ups or so they could be re-used. You either know or don’t care. DriveImage XML is pretty damn useful, though. And I’m really glad I upgraded my desktop to that two terabyte array when I did.

Eventually I’d squeezed the boot partition from the dying disk onto the machine’s old drive (the replacement for the first one that died), so booted that and set about fixing the Network Location Awareness service (which loads of stuff relies on, including DHCP). What had happened was a disk error had caused part of its registry to become corrupted. The solution? It took a lot of effort to narrow this down, but the only way out I could discover was: re-image the drive with a much older, but working, backup I made when it was freshly installed.

The Windows Registry is an awful system, isn’t it? Anything vaguely sensible would let you repair the configuration for the service, or even re-install just that service. I’m sure even Windows used to have a repair option in the installer that would effectively re-install the OS without mucking up all your installed programs, didn’t it? If it did, it’s not in Vista anywhere I could see, and the file repair thing didn’t help at all. But no, something corrupts even a tiny part of your massive, unreadable repository of guff, and the entire system is irrepairably knackered. Well done.

The old image worked, but being over a year out of date meant I then had to spend quite a long time installing all the extra stuff I’ve started using in the meantime. At the time of writing it’s all just about going, so I’ll make another image (and write a list of everything I actually use so it’s easier to find in the future… Organisation? Pah!) so it’s more up to date in the future. Damn this 5400rpm disk is slow, though.

So that was my Fun With Hard Disks. Whilst things were imaging I did some polyfilling. Just after I’d used up all my goop I thought I’d pull a wall-plug out that I’d noticed… And with the plug pulled a chunk of plaster and concrete out of the corner of the chimney. It was that sort of day, really.

I did cram some Skyrim in before bed, though, so the day finished on an up. And dinner was quite posh: baked Coley fillet with parsley sauce and a swede, celeriac and Stilton mash. Cor, eh? Very nice it was too.

 
* This is a lie; I both fear and loathe babies, avoid them as much as possible, and certainly don’t keep any as friends. Don’t see the point in them at all, really, but there you go.

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