The most important ingredient when fixing computers is patience. It’s a while since I’ve gone through a repair cycle, but this is a biggie. A friend’s Dell wasn’t booting so I’ve brought it home. I did manage to diagnose it as a hard-drive issue, so that was good. Diagnosing can be the most difficult thing when one does not have the requisite spare parts.

Thankfully the data is still on the hard drive, so first things first, I thought I would back up the data to my own computer. Only then did I discover that the problem of low disk space that I’ve been shoving to the back of my mind needs to be addressed now or I won’t be backing up anything! I had a new drive that I bought over a year ago for this very purpose, so I started cloning my data drive to the new, larger-capicity drive. I set it running at 10pm last night and was dismayed to find that it had reached only 75% by 10 this morning. Patience.

So I was ready to dive in to the problem drive. I had left a disk maintainance utility (SpinRite) running over night and it had found no errors. Only I didn’t really want to start messing around with the failed drive until it was backed up. That meant waiting until my disk clone was done.

As I write, that is now complete and I am now creating a disk image of the failed drive on to my new larger-capacity drive. I will then clone the failed drive to another hard disk of the same capacity and see if I can get that to boot. We’re talking probably about an hour for the image creation and another for the disk clone. If the replacement hard disk doesn’t boot, I’ll have to use the Dell recovery disk and start rebuilding the OS and then migrate the data back from the image.

I’m going to need buckets of patience!