Monday, July 14, 2008

Dying Disk.

My old Winbook laptop (100 MHz 486!) finally died. I was using it as a private webserver, mail collector, Christmas light controller, remote access when I'm away, etc. So it's been running 24/7 for about 5 years now. The battery died several years ago, and the hinge cracked, but the guts still worked fine and it doesn't suck too much power. So, if it ain't broke too bad, don't fix it.
Finally, the disk started sticking: I have to pick up the PC and shake it to get the drive to start spinning so it can boot. Now the fun part: I decided to move the drive to a new PC and copy all the settings off before it died completely. Unfortunately the disk was too big for the BIOS in the 486, so it's formatted with an OnTrack DiskManager partition hack, and the new PC (running a Debian Linux 2.6 kernel) doesn't see the real partitions. Google found 2 couple of suggestions: Add the hda=remap or hda=remap63 kernel option in grub (didn't help), or use device-mapper (didn't find any instructions on how to actually do it). Apparently, DM support was deleted in 2.6. So, I rebooted with a 2.4 kernel, whacked the drive with my hand, and all my partitions were readable without changing any settings.
The disk did die for good shortly after that. I suppose I could dig up an old 2.5 drive and get a few more years out of the 486, but I think I've gotten my money's worth.
I think I'll get the backups on my main PC up to date, then go back to useful work.

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