Those of you who follow my blog (or know me in person) are well aware that I’m a big fan of Norton Ghost backup software.
One of the major problems I’ve had with Norton Ghost is the fact that it only provides the ability to create a recovery CD … it doesn’t provide any ability to install the recovery software on a USB flash drive. USB flash drives are much faster that CD’s and are read/write, so they can be updated at a later date.
After a bit of digging, I’ve figured out how to create one without too much trouble.
Note: Although my sales & support experience with the machine were generally positive, my experiences with the machine itself were not. I have since sent it back to Dell.
I just had some really good customer support experiences with Dell. I know, some of you are going to think this is impossible, but it really happened.
Ginny’s laptop is getting kind of old … it’s an Inspiron 8600, almost out of warranty, and the screen hinge is pretty loose. Plus she needs another computer, with more video capability, to play with Second Life.
I figured it was time for an upgrade. I was also thinking it was time for my laptop to upgrade also.
So I ordered a new Dell Latitude E6400 laptop for myself, from Dell’s Small Business division, and will give Ginny my Latitude D630 (which has more CPU power, memory, and better video than her Inspiron 8600).
If you’re like me, you probably install & uninstall software on your system on a a fairly frequent basis.
One of the things that really annoys me when I install software is when it automatically takes over a file extension association that was previously registered with the system.
This happened a while ago when I installed some IBM software for work … the .scr extension was taken over completely. ‘.scr’ is normally associated with windows screen savers, but now it’s associated with the IBM CODE/400 editor (which I don’t use).
After digging around a bit, I found an easy way to fix this. Just execute the following command: ‘assoc .scr scrfile‘
This restores the association of .scr files to the system’s screen saver mechanism.
I’ve noticed something … in recent memory, I have not suffered one single hard drive failure.
I’ve only suffered multiple hard drive failures … all my drive failures seem to happen in batches.
Last weekend the refurbished Seagate hard drive in my laptop (Rohan) started generating errors. About the same time, the main drive in Gondor started to flake out.
My laptop had been recently backed up with ghost, so getting it restored , to a spare 100gb hard drive I had, wasn’t a problem. I did struggle a bit because there was a Linux partition on the replacement drive … that Ghost didn’t know how to delete.
The drive in Gondor was a bit more problematical … although Linux was reporting problems with the drive, the Dell hard drive diagnostics reported problems with the drive, when I ran Spinrite over it, no problems were reported.
I decided to let the drive sit and see if the problems came back.
Obviously they did … this time, however, when I ran Spinrite on the drive it found a bad cluster. Luckily it was able to recover the cluster. After Spinrite was done, I copied the old drive to a new 300gb drive. Now I just have to get Dell to send me a new drive. Not sure what I’m going to do with a spare 80gb SATA drive.
Of course, all these hard drive problems got me to thinking … why the heck don’t operating systems raise serious alerts when a drive failure is detected?
On Windows XP, the drive problem was silently being logged to the “System Event Log”. I think it should have popped up a warning message telling me that something was wrong.
On Linux, the drive problems were also being logged to syslog … but if you aren’t actively monitoring the systems logs, it’s easy to miss something like that. I’m going to investigate some system monitoring software (something like Nagios) to keep an eye on problems of this nature.