A Case of the Mondays

[Editor’s note: For purposes of contextual coherence, it may be useful to know that this post originally appeared on the self-coded, PHP-based version of the synthetik.org homepage before being folded into this blog. -KM]

The day began innocently enough… Tabitha left for her first day of work at about seven o’clock this morning, leaving me and Kristopher here to enjoy a relaxing day off. Oh, how mistaken we were…

Not thirty minutes after Tabitha had pulled out of the driveway, I heard a loud crack, then screeching tires outside. I flew to the window and peeked outside half expecting to see a minor car collision, but what I found instead was our mailbox post broken in half. For those of you keeping count, this would be the fourth, yes FOURTH time our mailbox has been taken out.

I went outside with the digital camera and snapped a few photographs of the damage, which included someone’s shattered side-view mirror, but no one ever came back to apologize and I did not get to the window quickly enough to see a vehicle drive off.12-15-03 - Broken Mailbox (3)

Anyway, like the last time this happened, I filed a hit-and-run police report. Our neighbors in the other half of our duplex called our landlord and by noon today the mailbox was once again standing defiantly in the face of certain peril.12-24-03 - Our Mailbox Standing

So Tabitha came home for her lunch break this afternoon and decided to check her e-mail on our main computer, named Kunshin. Kunshin is running nearly all the time, except when a good night’s sleep for Tabitha demands absolute silence (this was once the source of an epic conflict since unlike Tabitha, my ears hear the gentle hum of computer cooling fans as a sweet lullaby).

So last night Kunshin was powered down after nearly seven days of straight uptime (not bad for a WIndows box – gotta love Windows 2000) so that Tabitha would be running on all cylinders for her first day of work. Lo and behold, my dearest and most trusted machine blue-screened as soon as Windows cranked up.

For you Windows 98 users, I realize that blue screens aren’t usually a major cause for concern – usually a reboot takes care of the problem. However Win2k is a whole other animal. This particular nasty BSOD is commonly referred to as Stop 0x7B, translated in English: “INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE.”12-15-03 - Broken Computer Screen

My reaction: Panic. Utter panic. I haven’t backed up in nearly 2 months, not because I do not realize the dangers of failing to back up my important files on a regular basis, but because I am just too lazy or busy (depending on the time and day) to do it. I jumped on the computer in our living room, Netsurai, and started looking for answers.

When I first began writing this entry, I had little to no hope of getting the system restored. Microsoft’s technical support knowledge base article on the error did very little to console me. In spite of my pessimism, I booted the machine with the Windows 2000 installation CD anyway and ran chkdsk /f as instructed in the “Resolving the Problem” section of a related article linked to by Stop 0x7B, knowing that my next command would inevitably be format c:.

After chkdsk completed its repairs, I rebooted the system, and nearly jumped through the ceiling when I saw the login prompt come up on the screen. I thank God that we didn’t lose two months of documents and photographs as well as the time it takes to re-install everything – and that was an optimistic damage estimate. I was so sure I would be forced into purchasing a new hard drive that I was already comparing prices. I still say Maxtor makes the best dang hard drives on the planet.

In spite of all this we are finishing the day relatively unscathed. Kunshin is running strong, our mailbox is standing proudly, my blood pressure is finally coming down where it belongs, and we all learned valuable lesson about backing up. Tabitha had a wonderful first day at work, and as always, Kristopher enjoyed his daily routine of tearing up the house.C4ia6yU