Is There A Computer Doctor In the House?

Alrighty then, here’s my predicament:

Last week I started getting little messages from my computer that one of the hard drives in my RAID array was failing (I have 2 250GB drives in a RAID 0 array). It didn’t look like I would be able to save it, so since I’m running Vista Ultimate, I used their Complete PC Backup and Restore feature to back up my entire hard drive onto an external USB drive; programs, settings, files – the whole shebang. I ended up with a .vhd file of almost 180 GB.

I settled the issue with my hard drive, built another RAID array, reinstalled Vista, yada, yada, yada, and went to restore the whole shebang. But Vista said, “Backup file? What backup file? I don’t see no backup file.”

Now, you gotta understand what’s in the backup file that I stand to lose. Not just your typical personal stuff like irreplaceable documents, photos, videos, my iTunes library (including the applications I bought for my iTouch), financial info, several GBs of Disney park music I’ve collected over the past year and was in the process of burning to CD, but also hundreds of buckaroonies worth of downloaded software that I don’t have physical disks for. “Well, why didn’t you back that stuff up?” you may ask. “Shut up,” I may answer. “I did back that stuff up, but now I can’t access it.”

I did some research on the problem, and found scads of people saying how wonderful Complete PC Backup and Restore is, and how easy it is to use, and I began feeling like an abject failure because I couldn’t do it. Then I started reading comments by people who were having the same problem as I was, so I perked up.

A couple of the options suggested:

Download and install Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, which has a feature called “Vhdmount” which, when coupled with a certain registry hack written by a MS engineer, allows you to mount the .vhd file as a virtual drive, from which you can access whatever files you want. I couldn’t make it work.

Use a program called WinImage, which also allows you to access and extract individual files with a .vhd file. It crashes on me every time I try to use it. There’s also an option for restoring a virtual hard drive to a physical drive; I get an unexplained error when I attempt this.

Download and install Microsoft Virtual PC, install a virtual machine, and mount the .vhd file as a secondary drive, from which you can extract whatever files you may want. Unless I’m doing something wrong (which is very probable), the maximum secondary drive capacity is 127 GB, and as I mentioned, mine is larger than that.

So that’s my need for a CD. Best-case scenario is a complete restoration from the backup file, but if that’s not going to be possible, I’d like to be able to pull certain files and folders out and salvage as much of my shit as I can.

So, Loyal Reader…any suggestions?


Random Thoughts #1

Yes, it’s been a while since my last post; I’m sure you all have missed me terribly. Truth is, I’ve been fighting a severe case of Procrastination lately, and have only recently felt recovered enough to attempt to string a few words together into a coherent sentence.

I’m still feeling too weak to attempt an entire post on one subject, so instead I’ll throw out a few disconnected Random Thoughts:

• Only three more new episodes of Lost this season. Then I guess that’s it until, what – January? Thank goodness I’ll have summer and Christmas to distract me while I wait. One thing I’m not looking forward to during the Final Season is the amount of spoilers that will no doubt be floating around. Why can’t folks just enjoy the story as it unfolds?

• I’m seriously considering getting an iPhone when the new ones hit the market this summer. Burning questions: What do I do with my 16GB iTouch? Use the phone strictly as a phone and the iTouch as my .mp3 player? eBay the iTouch? What about all apps I’ve purchased? Can I move them to the phone, or will I have to repurchase?

• I need to do some unfollowing in Twitter. I’m sensing some Superior Attitudege by some Tweeters towards those of us who are using this social media to be…well, sociable. Some seem to think that Twitter should be used exclusively for entrepreneurial networking and selling, I don’t know…stuff. Unless you’re a Social Media Guru or Maven or Whatever, you need not apply. Like every enjoyable activity since kids first starting tossing pie tins back and forth, the money people are looking to make a quick buck on folks having fun. The new buzzword is “Monetize”.

• I started using MySpace, Facebook and Twitter before all of my friends. I guess I could promote myself as a Social Media Pioneer.

• Heh…those last two Thoughts may lose me enough followers that I won’t have to wade through my list looking for cutoffs.

• I am still of the belief that Bluetooth headsets should never be utilized outside of one’s vehicle. If you’re walking around Wal Mart wearing one, people are not looking at you thinking, “There goes someone obviously very important, and leading the pack in cutting-edge technology.”  They’re thinking, “What a douche.” Particularly if you’re walking around with your phone in your hand.

• I’m participating in a weight loss challenge at the MMA school I train at. I’m not leading, but I’m close. I really want a couple of tacos, or a Five Guys burger.

• Speaking of douches, I’m hoping Coach Dragon Slayer gets blindsided sooner than later. Preferably by someone he despises. I don’t care how much Jeff likes him (gotta love Jeff’s blogs, though).

That’ll have to do it for now; I feel another attack of Procrastination coming on. I have to go be apathetic for a while.