Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dead Machine Juggling

So this past week my work computer (the infamous Lenovo T400 that randomly reboots) gave up the ghost, and started throwing a blue screen on boot.  Consistently.  That’s not good.

What do you do?  Here’s the challenge – there’s a virtual machine file on that computer that houses all my daily work.  I want that.  It’s 8gig in size.  How do you get it off the machine? Can’t burn it to a disk, that I know of – DVD caps out at 4gig, right?  If there is a device that can record larger storage capacity, I don’t have access to it.

I try swapping the drive into a T61 here at the office.  No good – still blue screens.

I try booting up to my Fedora thumb drive.  This works, and allows me to see the Windows drive mounted, but it does not see my network connection.  So this doesn’t help me, it just taunts me.  I’m stuck on the machine.

It just so happens that last week I bought a USB terrabyte drive for backups.  So I plug that in and move everything off the machine.  Everything, that is, except for my 8gig virtual machine, which craps out at 4gig.  Apparently whatever file system this drive is using can’t handle a bigger file than that?

What next?

I take it home and try all the Linux distros I have lying around – Puppy, Slax, Mint, Ubuntu.  All of them seem to have the same problem of not recognizing my network.  Not quite sure what’s up with that.

At last, on a drive I didn’t even realize I had, I find frickin EEEbuntu, that I made to play with my wife’s netbook and never got around to using.  Turns out that this not only books my Thinkpad, but it actually sees my wireless network.  I’m up!

I try ftp’ing the file to the only place I know, one of my GoDaddy hosted accounts.  Long story short it runs all night and I’m never sure if it is done because it never comes back, I have to kill it.

Worse, when I try to pull the file back down on my other work machine (my dev server), it seems to die on me every 5 minutes or so.  I think I’m getting throttled.

At last the pieces line up for me, though:  on my work network I boot up the “dead” machine into EEEbuntu, get on the work network, FTP the file to my dev server, which is a local box.  This time it goes like lightning.

Now boot up the brand new box that IT department sent me, pull virtual machine down again, and I’m back up and running.

Fun!