Monday, 13 June 2011

New drives, dead drives and lost drives...

Tech post again!

Recently I got totally fed up with my ultra portable machine refusing to do what I wanted it to do, when I wanted it to do it.  I had noticed that the HDD light was on for a long time whenever I tried to open an application - or after logon before the desktop was actually available to use.

So seeing as I knew the machine had a 1.8" iPod drive fitted to it (for power and size reasons) I thought that it needed changing for something with a little more kick.  I thought I'd take the SSD route.

After a few months of research (the fact that it is so small makes it really difficult to find the right one) and ordered it from Amazon.

Last week it arrived and I spent an evening imaging up the old drive, removing the countless screws, hatches and covers that hold it together - why can't they make small computers like big ones!  Fitting a new HDD to the DTR's that we have for home use is three screws and 10 minutes work.  This was about an hour to do start to finish.

Then I restored the image to the new drive. That took an age!  100GB in about 3 hours!  So I didn't really have a chance to test it beyond a quick reboot to see how it worked.

Or so I thought.  Quick was not the phrase that jumped to mind.  Mind numbingly slow...  Booting to the login screen was quick - 30 seconds or so.  Then there was a 10 minute wait to reach the point of a usable machine.  Oh dear...

Contacted the seller via Amazon, looked for tips online and asked my colleagues for help.  A bit of tuning got something reasonable - but still far to slow for the cost of the SSD drive.  And so today I decided to bite the bullet and do a full restore of the drive.

SUCCESS!!!  Installing Windows 7 from a bootable USB drive took only 15 minutes or so.  Another 30 mins for the updates needed and...  Viola!  From power button to surfing in less than 60 seconds!  That is what I was hoping for from an SSD!

Now I just have to install SQL Server, TFS 2010, Visual Studio 2010 and Office.  And that is where the lost and dead drives come in.  When I replaced my DTR I got a USB 3 drive for back-ups.  That seems to be dead now.  Nothing, followed by more nothing.  Then a little wait.  Then the wonderful 'This drive needs to be formatted before it can be used'.  Damn.  That contains my backups and install media.  I have searched my other back up drives and found other backups of the media.  What I don't have is all of the product keys.

They must be on some other backup drive that I have lost.  So I now have a super fast machine that has nothing except browser software installed.  I guess I know what I am doing this weekend!


  1. I barely understood a word you said, but it sounds like both good and bad news. A great new fast machine, but a tedious loading of missing files. Good luck in finding and loading them.

    Melissa XX

  2. SSD are great but do remember NEVER defragment them as you cause serious damage to them if you do.

  3. Melissa: :) You are more or less correct. My ultra portable I got about a year ago (maybe a little longer...) in an end of production sale. It's a great machine - a real computer with a good resolution screen and built in DVD burner but in a package as small as a netbook, but the drive let it down. That does not seem to be the case now :)

    I managed to find my keys and am about 3/4 of the way through reinstalling the machine...

    Caroline: Thanks - I have the defrag service turned off (as well as the indexing and a couple of others)


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  5. Oh I love SQL. When used right. When looking at someone's DBA work (Database Artist that is) can make me cringe though!