It was not what I expected. When I was leaving for a run this morning, I decided to apply an update to Vista and let it reboot, thinking I'd defragment the drive when I returned. It was acting funny and running slow, so this seemed like a good idea to me.
I got back from the run, went to sync my Nike + run and noticed the machine was off, so I pressed power and then sat down to stretch with water thinking this would take some time. After I was done, I went to check email and noticed that the laptop was still stuck on the POST screen, with the progress bar about 2/3 of the way across.
This had happened last week, just before we left, and it had me worried. I thought the hard drive had failed, but when I powered down, left it for 10 minutes, and powered up, it seemed to work fine. I thought I'd do that here. After 10 tries, I was seriously worried.
My first thought was Holy Sh*t! Here I am, on vacation, 1700 miles from home, I got that from a sign nearby :), and I have a presentation to do tomorrow. I don't even have the presentation on a USB key, because well, I'm an idiot. I do have it up on Live Mesh, so I could get it, but I needed to work on it. I also had some stuff on a USB drive, but I am by no means sure I have most of my stuff from the drive.
So I sat for a few minutes and thought about it. My best bet was probably to go get a netbook. I've been thinking about it, and it would be a good solution for a few days. I should have a service contract with Toshiba (this machine is a Qosmio F45), but they won't likely get anything done before I get home, and I have all the 411 at home, and I'm leaving for Richmond tomorrow, then back here Fri night and flying home Sat.
Luckily I have the amazing T-Mobile G1 phone with 3G and I could look up the local Best Buy. I found one on the S side of Baltimore, about 10 mi away, so I showered and packed up. Just before leaving I tried the laptop again, and success! It booted, so I hooked up my USB drive and copied over all documents, pictures, downloads, and videos to the external drive. At least I have a copy of everything. Then it was off to Best Buy.
My purchases were:
- HP Mini Netbook 1030NR with a 10.2" screen and a 16GB SSD. 1GB shared RAM. ($329)
- A Geeksquad 8GB flash drive. ($25)
- Thermaltake Black Widow eSATA+USB docking station ($54)
- WD 320GB SATA Notebook HDD, $89
- Acronis True Image 2009 $40
I'd asked the Geek Squad person in the store, since I knew there were ways to clone a disk drive, and he pointed me in this direction. I can use the Black Widow dock with any SATA drive, 3.5" or 2.5" and that will let me hook both drives to my laptop. From there I can boot the Acronis software and then clone my 160GB drive onto the 320GB one. Hopefully with one partition, but in any case, I'll have a working (fingers crossed) laptop.
Since I wasn't confident, and I could use a traveling machine that can be low power for presentations, the HP will come in handy. Once I have the laptop squared away, I think I'll move to Windows 7 and see how that does.
I'm afraid to clone the drive right now since I need to get a few things done, but I'll try it later and see where I come out.