RankynPhyle.com

…just another face in the crowd.

My Tech, My Tech, Why Has Thou Forsaken Me?

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2012 Dec 09

I’ve experienced an unusually high rate of technology difficulties in the past couple of months.

Here’s a rundown:

October 20
Portal 2 insists that I update it before it’ll let me play.
After the update, it won’t start and all attempts at reinstall and repair fail.
As a final option, I uninstall and reinstall Steam.
While Steam did warn me that I’d have to download all my games again, I did not anticipate the fact that it would delete every bit of user data when it uninstalled itself.
For the most part, this was just a minor annoyance with config files and such BUT it erased the Portal 2 map I had built in the Steam Workshop.
After spending a couple of days attempting data recovery, I am forced to give up and rebuild the map from scratch.
Even though the revised map is much improved, I’m still irritated by it.
Portal maps are now backed up off-machine.

November 16
I wake up to find that sometime during the night, my computer locked up.
I never shut my PC off and this happens from time to time so I just hit the reset button.
Unfortunately, this time I’m met with the BSOD.
I only had an hour to deal with it before I had to get ready for work so I didn’t get much troubleshooting done.
The best guess from the stop error was bad RAM but I wasn’t convinced.
The Windows repair tool refused to run because it didn’t see my RAID.
I made it a point to download RAID drivers while I was at work.
Came home from work that night and went to bed because I didn’t feel like messing with it.

November 17
Day 1 of my vacation is spent trying to get my PC to boot properly.
Thanks to the RAID drivers, I’m able to get the Windows repair tool running and after about 6 hours, my PC will boot again.
The problem appears to have been a corrupt registry entry.

Mid November – Early December
Because of ongoing illness (apparently my tech isn’t the only thing giving out on me), I spend a lot of my time on my couch rather than in front of my PC.
At some point I decided that I would be better served to have the charger for my iPhone and iPADD near the couch as well as a fan to blow on me and counter the fever.
This meant stealing the cord that supplied power to my #1 laptop’s external drive which is where my iTunes library is stored. (This will be important later)
I needed power by the couch more than I needed iTunes so this was an easy sacrifice to make.
I’ll just move it back if I absolutely must access iTunes at some point.

November 28
I ordered a cheap laptop from Amazon during their Black/Cyber Friday/Monday sale with the intention of making it a dedicated Media Center PC since none of my other machines have HDMI.
I spent several hours fighting with that abomination called Windows 8 before downloading a program called “Classic Shell” which solved all my problems in less than 10 minutes.
I’m glad that Bill Gates didn’t live to see this travesty of an OS.

November 29
I’ve got an Asus Netbook that I used to tote around with me everywhere until I got an iPADD.
Now that I rarely use it, it appears that the CMOS battery has died because it keeps insisting that it’s January 1st, 2002 every time it boots.
If I forget to boot into BIOS and set it every time I fire it up, Windows XP freaks out with all sorts of security errors because of date discrepancies.
What I learned today was that it would have been faster just to reboot and set the clock rather than try to work around the problem while the OS did everything in its power to stop me.

December 1
It finally looks like all the stars have aligned and my luck is changing!
The Media Center PC is properly configured and ready to take its place near the TV so I can close the lid and control it remotely without ever having to touch it again.
Unfortunately I can’t do Wake on Lan over WiFi so I’ll have to hardwire it but there’s already a cable strung across the room from back in the old days when my XBox had to be hardwired and all I have to do is plug it back into the router.
Then I discover that I have no spare power outlets.
All that work and now I’m dead in the water until I can string another power cord from somewhere.
That probably won’t happen before the 15th.

December 5
Bought a full size Portal gun.
This is completely unrelated to anything but I just wanted brag about it.

December 6
I finally need to work with iTunes again, and I’m feeling considerably better now so I’m spending less time on the couch.
It was a simple task to move the power cord back to the other side of the room and plug the external iTunes drive back in.
Everything fired up and was working just fine.
Then I updated to iTunes 11.
The program insisted I reboot my computer and after the reboot, my iTunes drive is not recognized.
The laptop recognizes that there’s a drive there but it insists the drive is blank and needs to be formatted.

Now, before I continue, let me stress that this is not a catastrophic data loss.
I neither like nor trust iTunes so its collection of data is actually my tertiary music storage.
All my music is stored on drive A, backed up on drive B, and then copied to iTunes for sync with iDevices.

Anyway, my first thought is that the external drive hardware has failed.
That is, after all, why I’m currently using that drive anyway.
The old drive I kept iTunes on suffered a similar failure a few months ago but the drive itself was fine and the data was easily recovered.
So I copied everything over onto a different drive I had lying around and put it into a new enclosure which worked flawlessly until this happened.

December 8
I removed the drive from the enclosure and plugged it directly into a USB to PATA cable and the drive still wasn’t recognized.
I’m not dead in the water because all my music can be copied back and all the data is still on the iPhone and iPADD but I really don’t want to go through the hassle of getting everything on iTunes set up just right again.
That means it’s time to pull out my trusty friend GetDataBack and let it start scanning.
I let it scan all day while I was at work and it looks like it will need to copy data overnight but my odds of recovering everything are very high.
My plan this time is to set up iTunes on a network share.
I realize it’ll probably take forever to sync my iDevices but I’ll never have to worry about supporting an external drive on that laptop again.

December 8 (part 2)
When I came home from work and sat down at my PC to deal with the aforementioned data recovery, I realized that the keyboard on my main PC had crashed.
Re-plugging the USB connector didn’t help.
The Logitech software appears to have crashed and it took my keyboard with it.
I had to plug the keyboard into a different USB port altogether to get it to work again but, since the driver software had crashed, I had no control over the extended gaming functions.
To make matters worse, the config program’s window had crashed and was sitting right in the middle of my desktop.
It wouldn’t respond to kill orders from the Task Manager or from PSKill.
It was clear that if I wanted to recover my computer, I was going to have to reboot.
I hate to reboot my computer.
The last time I rebooted was November 16th, and that didn’t turn out very well.
Fortunately it looks like everything worked this time.
I’m a little afraid to return the keyboard to it’s USB port on the back of the computer out of fear that the thing might explode.

December 9
It’s almost 3am.
My PC is still working and the iTunes recovery is at 24%.
I’m afraid to fall asleep because I dread what may go wrong overnight.

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