Recently I upgraded laptops.  Everybody in my department at work got the same model MSI laptop a few months back.  Or so I thought.

I kept noticing that whatever I did on the MSI made the cpu meter go through the roof and stay there a while.  After a month of this, I asked my coworkers about their experiences.  This produced no end of hysterical laughter, with the little darlings wanting to know what sorts of industrial strength processing I was doing on the laptop that would prompt speed complaints (and of course the mandatory `you don’t need a quad-core processor to watch porn‘ comments).

I wondered if perhaps the MSI didn’t like linux, which I installed immediately to get rid of the Windows 7 stench.  It seemed to play quite nicely with linux except for the (%*$ing touchpad, which almost drove me to drink.  I have had good luck with linux on every laptop and desktop I’ve had over the years.  In fact, I’m typing this entry on a very old Dell Latitude, which has been a faithful companion for years.  It has survived my dog’s frantic attempts to leap into my lap, which resulted in him tearing off several keys (that I never got around to replacing).  What didn’t survive was the first hard drive.  It went rather suddenly, and of course, before I had backed it up.  The next laptop, also a Dell, also blew a drive.  I seem to have some sort of otherworldly super-power that ends the lives of laptop hard drives.  [Trivia Time: victims of childhood abuse sometimes have a destructive effect on electronic gadgets, including hard drives, cell phones, and light bulbs.  But that’s not my excuse.]

After being teased one time too many that four cores should be enough for any team member at this point, I did some testing, only to discover that I either had a relatively anemic single core processor or I had somehow managed to kill three of the four cores.  Since the testing software indicated one core, it was decided to stop picking on me (momentarily) and get me a real laptop.  Or at least a cheap quad-core.  I had given up on MSI in hopes of regaining the use of my touchpad so I finally found a decent HP with an AMD processor.  Work has jettisoned Dell in favor of HP, so I figured why not. [subliminal message: Avoid Dell at all costs.]

So up popped my new HP, on went linux (it’s 2011, offer linux, please), and POOF – away went the touchpad.  I was beginning to suspect that my hard drive killing super-power was going to be dwarfed by my touchpad-killing potential super-power.

After extensive searching, I got the little bastard to cooperate (just a bit) via Synaptics and flSynclient.  It was still a bit frustratingly misbehaved but operable.  Two days ago I heard a heart-wrenching clacking.

I remembered I had booted with a cd in the drive for the first time, so I figured it came loose.  Or at least I blindly hoped it was the cd, so I removed it and rebooted.  To no avail.  Yes, folks, I had, without my knowledge, put on my cape and allowed my super-power to work its magic, destroying a two month old hard drive.  I couldn’t tell you how I did this if I tried.  From my posts as the Anti-Sports, you know I don’t play basketball with the laptop.  In fact, my laptops and my glasses are both handled very gingerly and don’t even get scratched.

With all the bravado (and all of the pleading) I could muster, I rebooted again.  Believe it or not, it came right up; no noise, no fuss.  Believe it or not, I had run a backup the day before.  Unfortunately it refused to further back up as the software was probably on an affected part of the hard drive.  No matter, I got out a large drive and started copying everything I could to it, just in case.

Keep in mind that at no time did the operating system complain or even perform a fsck (the linux analog of chkdsk) until two restarts later.  The only obvious issue is that some of the data is corrupt.

MEANWHILE…

The good news is that I purchased the HP laptop with an extended warranty.  The bad news is that I purchased it via Newegg.  I actually love Newegg for the prices and service, but if something breaks after thirty days, you have to deal with the manufacturer.  The most I can possibly get out of this is a new empty hard drive anyway, which might involved sending the laptop out or protracted dealings with the manufacturer, so a command decision was made to just purchase a damn new drive.

A bit of research suggested a hybrid SSD/hard drive, which is OS-agnostic and `learns’ your computing habits to optimize the way it works.  Even if the SSD part didn’t help, I’d still be getting a large, fast hard drive.  I should have it in short order so I will report on it then.

In the meantime, I’m left with the vagaries of trying to figure out what to copy to the external drive.  Out of sight, out of mind is a particular familiar and descriptive phrase for me.  Once I forgot to copy all of my hidden config files because they were (get ready…..)  ….hidden.

I’m relatively sure I’m supposed to be doing something relatively important tonight.  Oh yeah, getting my gear in shape for a show the band is doing this weekend.  Guess that isn’t getting done tonight.  Or tomorrow, if I get the new hard drive.

It’s ok, I’ll just play with dirty strings and tubes leaping out of their sockets.

Maybe some day I’ll figure out the cause of my super-powers.  Until then, I hope that my destruction is your amusement.