Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Where's My Boot Drive?

This is a sad story and I did it to myself. A couple of weeks ago, CompUSA had a 200 GB Maxtor hard drive for $50 after rebates and you know what a sucker I am for rebates. I wasn't sure where I was going to use it but I knew I'd find a good home for it.
Serendipitously, the next weekend CircuitCity had a USB2 to IDE hard drive enclosure for $15 after rebates so deja vu all over again.
Now, I had to do something with it. My SageTV box only had an 80 GB hard drive so that seemed like the logical place.

When I opened the Maxtor box, I found a MaxBlast CD. It has a capability of "Installing an Additional Storage Drive or Replacement Boot Drive" (emphasis mine). Well, duh, that's what I wanted to do.

There were a few more bumps along the way but in the end, off I went using MaxBlast to clone the boot drive on my SageTV box. I was using USB 1.1 so I knew it was going to be slow but I just hadn't imagined HOW slow. After 5-6 hours and the progress bar barely moving, I clicked on the Cancel button. Nothing. So I waited. And waited. And waited.

My patience wore out so I CTRL+ALT+DEL and terminated the application. I shut down the box and installed the USB 2.0 PCI card I had.

Button it all up and reboot. Remember that this is a headless box - no keyboard, no monitor, no mouse, no speakers. Just a network connection and TV wires.

It wouldn't boot.

I knew that was bad. I just had no idea how bad. I trucked it off upstairs and plugged it into a monitor and keyboard and rebooted. It hung at the Windows screen.

Ok. It could be worse (and in fact it was). I went and got the XP CD and did a Windows repair on it.

It wouldn't boot.

I told you it was worse. In the end, what had happened was that the MaxBlast program had changed the drive letter on the boot drive from C: to E: before it completed the copy. So when I terminated the copy, I was doomed. I no longer had a C: drive.

Rebooting like that got the Registry all twisted up in its shorts. I finally got it to boot by plugging in the USB drive.

To wrap up this story of woe, I finally just put the new 200 GB hard drive in the system unit and built it from scratch.

I used the USB 2.0 PCI card and the Mad Dog enclosure to copy the data from the 80 GB hard drive and reinstalled all the PVR software.

Now, what am I going to do with the left over 80 GB hard drive? Funny you should ask ...

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