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Lurking in . . .
"From the darkness, sleeping light." Formerly luminus dormiens. Lux pacis, light of peace.
Quote: "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." --Bill Watterson, cartoonist, Calvin and Hobbes
I profoundly apologize to all who are reading this, even if it's only two persons, for not posting for the past week. I engaged in a terrible mistake involving RedHat for which I am struggling to repent. I accidentally initialized my hard disk drive. For those who know what that means, I applaud your prescience and urge you to gasp. For those who do not, I will now proceed to explain the meaning, and then everyone can read the circumstances that led me to make such a horrendously stupid action that are even now having repercussions for me for the days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries to come.
Initializing a hard disk drive means to start all over again. When you have only one hard disk drive, even with several partitions (through which you can make different virtual hard disk), and that hard disk has your Windows files in it, to initialize means to utterly destroy, with little hope of bringing it back or undoing your mistake. So I initialized, and now everything in my hard disk drive is gone, gone, gone, gone! Far gone, far gone! With such a simple click, I have created a damning rupture in the space-time continuum that only I can endure, but no one else. Ay, for this I am damned, doomed to spend eternity in the 2nd level of hell, the opportunist! Ay, me!
Now to explain the circumstance . . . I was dissatisfied with the amount of disk space that I had given to the RedHat installation, with prime foreboding, haughty arrogance and confidence in my ability to handle the dark and deep ineer working of the computer, I sought to increase the partition of the RedHat through 'fdisk' command in MS-DOS.
When I tried to restart the computer, the command prompt could not read my boot loader. Here was my first mistake. I neglected to use the 'fdisk /mbr' to fix the master boot record so that the MBR could find Windows 98. Rather than doing so, the computer left me at the 'grub>' prompt where I could do nothing. I used a Windows startup disk and could start windows by going to 'c:' and 'cd windows' and finally enter 'win'. But wherefore could the Grub Loader not work?
I attempted to boot using the RedHat installation disk and see if I could install RedHat Linux. My second mistake. I came upon the step where RedHat had to read the disk partitions and sadly informed me that the MBR is unloadable, and it cannot proceed without initializing the hard disk drive. Oh, there was ample information that initializing the HDD would ultimately result in the loss of everything, everything, everything . . .
The first time I decided to give up, but the second time, I just said yes, to initialize the HDD. I thought only the partition would be initialize . . . Ah the ignorance in me, the damning ignorance. I am too bloody brave, and while in confidence, dumb.
I have explained that attempting to boot using the installation disk was my second mistake, but looking back, I notice that I did not elaborate. I shall do so now. There was an option, I could have used the 'linux rescue' mode to boot from the boot up disk rather than to try to use RedHat Installation. Installation is dumb, it knows nothing, and is not prepared to deal with anything involving the need to rescue. From the rescue on, I could have modified the 'grub.conf' to point to where the Linux partition was currently. Or if the partition was destroyed, I could have used fdisk /mbr from MSDos anyway using the Windows 98 Startup disk. It could have fixed everything.
Let me give you the specs on my computer: one HDD, divided into three partitions, two for Windows C: and D: drive, one for RedHat, totaling 57 GB. Initially it was 20 MB for C:, 26 MB for D: and 11 MB for RedHat. I wanted to change it to 19 MB for C, 19 MB for D, and 19 MB for RedHat, a more "equal" division. To repartition, I would need to destroy both D and ext3 (redhat) to divide the new partition again. I moved files I wanted to save, that I downloaded from the Internet through Windows from RedHat back to Windows. Then I moved all the contents of Drive D to Drive C. Then, I repartitioned. I efforted to remove Drive D and ext3.
After the repartitioning, of course, is when I decided to use RedHat Installation because I could not start Windows or the grub boot loader.
The fatal mistake, then I tried to go back after seeing what my newly initialized HDD looks like, just a blank, empty 57 GB space, tried to undo it. I couldn't. In MS DOS, I could not access my HDD in any way, C:, D:, RedHat, all GONE! Everything I saved, gone!
My files, my documents from high school, from last year in college, my poems (even though they were lousy), my stories, my everything. It was so heartwrenching for me, I breathed faster, my heart skipped a beat as all the neurons of my brain slowly gained the terrible realization. Of course, my mind works faster that I could explain. I thought that the HDD still had some files, it was just the FAT that was gone. I tried to think of some software that could possibly put everything back . . . But I decided, my third mistake, to repartition it per my original intention and to reformat everything, without testing my theory.
Somebody might asked whether I had made a backup of my file system. Yes, but one month ago and only for drive C. The backup took 31 CDs out of the 50 I had available. Because the average CD can hold only at most 700 MB, I had simply made a disk image, but not as I intended, a file copy. Because of this stupidity, I realized that I could have had all the drive D files copied onto the drive C to be backed up, and I could have defragmented my entire HD so that the first part of the 31 CDs would be backed up promptly.
I will tell you why I am talking about defragmentation. It turns out that the backup I made was faulty. Upon the eighth fatal disk, I had a segment fault from which I could not recover. So I could only back up to the eighth disk and no more, the rest, as Hamlet said, is silence.
Fairly undaunted, I proceeded to install RedHat, leaving the rest of the partitions to what Windows may.
What I could use from the 7 and a half CDs backup, I had to run scandisk again and again, and run Windows in Safe Mode to fix some directory structures and file systems, then I reinstalled Windows 98 again. It seems a blessing that Microsoft could design the scandisk that is capable to restoring at least some of my files . . .
I could have chosen instead to start a complete fresh install from a Windows 98 installation disk, but let me tell you . . . I have nothing of that disk. I have only the Windows 98 upgrade, which for some reasons, need a previous versions, down to Windows 3.1, in order to continue with the setup. I could not do so (install Windows 3.1) because Windows 3.1 is on that big disk that originates the name "floppy." How supposedly antiquated and obsolete that I don't even have the 5" drive to install Windows 3.1. Also, I suppose that Windows 3.1 would require MS-DOS 6.2, which I cannot install either without MS-DOS 6.0. ***SIGH***
Alas, a mistake was made. And from arrogance and pride of the highest peak, his ego is bruised and a man's life destroyed. No, not destroyed, that would be a blessing, no a man's life was erased! For so many years I have used this version of Windows, from the beginning, all my files, hidden away in the deep interiors of my HDD, GONE!
I cannot believe my stupidity in retrospect . . . but it is not truly that I am stupid, but that I am ignorant, I had not made an effort to study the documentations more thoroughly. I had studied the documentation and for that I was able to repartition the HDD safely and install RedHat. Unfortunately, for increasing the disk space, I had not studied beforehand, so that in case of emergency, I could have it within my means and my memory to bring rectify everything again. Because I could not access my files, I panicked and made rash decisions that I will now live to regret because some things are lost forever. Some might have suggested to me that I put my files online, so that if my disk should fail, I should be able to find them online and get them back. Now I see that nothing's doing.
Now, I have my Windows back in some parts, my drive D, which contained my documents I've written from high school, is lost, was never backed up. It also contained installation programs for Windows and Linux that I didn't want to save to drive C. The only problem is, and I laugh derisively, I cannot get online even with Windows 98. I suppose that Dad had tweaked a setting to allow Internet Explorer to recognize a port through which it could go online, but it cannot, so my wireless is sitting useless . . .
Now, to the matter straight. I suppose it could be considered a blessing and a curse. I had only wanted to try RedHat, and my end goal was a possible complete defection from Windows. I inadvertently almost forced it upon myself . . . that were I not to have a backup at all, I could have been a pure RedHat GNU Linux user . . . It was the first backup I ever made, to consider making a backup was too much of a hassle to me until I had the CD burner. Without it, to backup using the tape backup, which I don't have, or the floppy disk, would have been an immensely difficult undertaking.
We shall see what happens next, what future holds. Until then, forgive me, my dear readers both for not posting, and for posting such a long one that I should think it better that I summarized and linked the file.