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Or, "How I destroyed months of work, pictures, music, and my level-headedness."

I know I've been inactive for a while, and it's mostly been because I've been afraid to blog about how much I hate not being able to blog about the assignments because I hate reading things that are boring to me.  Yes, I found the Web 2.0 stuff incredibly boring.  But I'll get to that in another post.  So today, I'm going to blog about something I didn't like doing: ruining the ext4 partition on my Ubuntu 10.04 laptop.

The goal was to repartition my hard drive to include a Windows 7 NTFS partition.  Why?  Because my game programming professor requires projects to be submitted as zipped up Dev C++ projects.  I understand that I could have just taken the time to do them on campus in the Windows lab in the comp sci department, but I am a man obsessed with convenience.  Why do on campus what I could do on my laptop?  I originally set out to run Windows 7 in a Virtual Box, but my laptop's BIOS didn't have options for hardware virtualization, and I wasn't about to run WIndows 7 in 32-bit mode with a single core.  No, I was too proud for that.  So I went in to partition my hard drive using an Ubuntu LiveUSB stick from one of my friends.

Everything went well until GParted told me that it was going to move my ext4 partition over to the left.  "What?"  I hadn't asked it to do that, I thought.  I figured something was going wrong, so I cancelled the operation.  Less than an instant passed before I realized that was a terrible idea.  The visual partition editor showed no files in my Ubuntu partition.  Explatives were said, panics were entered into, and my anxiety went through the roof.  I realized that I hadn't backed up any of my files since I upgraded from Jaunty Jackalope to Lucid Lynx back in September.  I was effectively screwed.

I hastened to recover as many files as possible using a variety of means–finding photorec to be my only help.  Most of what I recovered was fragments of files, one- to two-second clips of mp3s, sections of C programs and configuration files, a ton of Chrome's cache,  and some pictures.  I lost a lot.

So I mourned.  I did not maintain grace under pressure.  I cracked.  I felt awful.  Not only did I lose a lot of important work and personal things (like photographs of me and my girlfriend), I realized I was solely to blame for the mistake.  I hadn't been careful enough.  I should have backed up my hard drive.  I should have heeded the warnings for canceling the partition move.  I went out and bought a new laptop, partially to ease the pain, but mostly because I genuinely needed a new one after almost two years with my old one.  I feel better, and I'm manually restoring–read "retyping"–a lot of the work I lost.  It's going to take a while, but I think I can remember how most of it went.

My computer taught me its own digital story: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE BEFORE YOU MESS WITH IT.

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