17 January 2009

The (slow) wonders of modern technology

I’ve pretty much filled up the 110GB 2.5" PATA (IDE) hard-drive which arrived with my laptop, so I went in search of a replacement.

DMA in Osborne Park had a 500GB drive on their website, but this turned out to be an administration blunder, as they have not sold PATA laptop drives for over 4 months. However, Mel, a truly helpful Thai girl who is reception/sales there confessed that other suppliers might have some. I looked.

Legend, just down the street, had their main supplier (Hitachi) cease manufacture of PATA laptop drives, but managed to convince them to do another run of 1000...of which they have about 300 left, so at most a few months’ supply — all 160GB.

Just around the corner on Hutton Street, Navada still have a handful of drives kicking around, & sold me a 250GB version from Western Digital.

Now to upgrade.

Neither my “real” laptop (hp/Compaq nx9040) nor my “spare” laptop (IBM ThinkPad 30) have space for 2 drives, so I plugged it into a USB caddy.

It turns out that copying (dd) & compressing (bzip2) 110GB worth of partitions takes 2 days & 5 hours this way, but when I started I had no boot CD with which to set up the new drive from scratch, so I needed to copy the data off intact so I could rewrite the root partition (including /boot) at the same offset on the drive, then restore & resize the data partitions.

It also turns out that a smallish download partition containing mostly video clips & MP3 files does not compress very much (8GB becomes 7½GB).

I have just finishing the copy-&-compress onto the /home partition of the 200Gb drive of the ThinkPad (which arrived with a labelled-20GB-really-30GB drive containing XP), but still need to unpack, rewrite & resize the data partitions, despite now having a boot CD, ’coz that’s how I copied them off.

Guessing with the faster 250GB drive, but writing over USB rather than reading, setting up the partitions will take about 3 days. Glad I am not using MS-Windows, as you can pretty much imagine the odds of it staying up ferpectly & not corrupting data across 5½ or more days?

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