At the weekend, I was installing a software update on the ThinkPad when the Microsoft installer decided to fail for permissions reasons. It didn’t think to tell me it needed to be administrator before running through the entire install, no, that would be too easy. And somehow although it wasn’t privileged enough to install the software update, it was privileged enough to wipe out several vital system files. So Windows started demanding the Windows 2000 CD. This is, of course, a classic example of misbehavior, as computers that ship with Windows very rarely ship with the CD.
Anyhow, I took the ThinkPad to work, fed it the CD, made it happy again. Then on Tuesday evening, it suddenly died. On rebooting, I got a blue screen of death. A slightly different BSoD from normal; this one indicated a hardware failure.
Further investigation revealed that the hard drive had had a head crash, and gouged out a nice chunk of the OS. Attempting to boot resulted in grinding noises and a BSoD. Attempting to safe boot resulted in grinding noises and a BSoD. Attempting to boot from the Windows 2000 CD also resulted in grinding noises and a BSoD, stupidly enough.
I managed to boot and install most of RedHat Linux, however, and in doing so verified that the grinding really was the hard drive, and not just a Windows feature.
No data loss. However, the only spare hard drive in the office is an old slow 5GB drive. I’m not sure I can even fit the OS and applications I need in that amount of space.
Of course, some would think that I ought to have a more recent laptop than the kind that sells for $600 in Tiger Direct’s clearance catalog. I’m going to have another go at persuading the management, as a catastrophic hardware failure seems like a good moment to remind them that the rest of the machine is four years old as well.
In completely unrelated news, I made a War Mix to practice using the new version of Cubase. It’s 55 minutes of stuff Clear Channel would probably have on their banned list if they’d ever heard of it, one continuous mix with layering and fading and shortwave radio transmissions and so on. I think I’m going to burn some CDs and send them to people.