Reverse hard disk failure

There are two ways of telling a story:

The first way is just reciting what happens. I did foo. Then I did bar. That didn't work, so I did quux.. The second way is reciting what mistakes you shouldn't have made. Lessons learned: don't do foo, because that will result in bar, and a visit to the hospital. No, I won't be updating the package, as I promised.

In the interest of, well, keeping things interesting, here's a tale of what I did last week, in reverse mode:

  • It's not a good idea to forget to close your laptop bag when you throw the bag on your back, since that might catapult out the laptop and break your hard disk.
  • When ordering a replacement hard disk, it usually helps to call the supplier to confirm the payment so that you can actually go and get the disk, rather than waste several days on waiting
  • When installing MacOS on a secondary partition after installing Debian and spending several hours fine-tuning the Debian installation, do not run the MacOS partitioner. It will reformat your Linux-partitions as HFS+ ones.
  • Remember that it takes several hours to download the DVD image to install Debian. Downloading that one rather than the CD image, or (better yet) going to the office where you have such a DVD lying around in order to "save time" is silly.
  • If you restore from backups, and your backup program in its default configuration writes to /tmp, do not forget that Debian in its default configuration clears out /tmp on boot. This is especially important if, due to the relative speed of tape streamers and network hardware, the process of restoring from backups takes several hours and you shut down the laptop after completing the restore, so that you can go home. Sigh.

The good news is that I now have a 160G hard disk rather than a 60G one. Whee.