Do not touch the computer

Oh man. So one of the girls at work asks if I can look at her son’s computer; it only boots to a blank screen. No problem. Sounds like a standard virus- or spyware-type affliction. She mentioned that her brother-in-law (or nephew, or niece’s husband, or someone) had already looked at it and couldn’t fix it. This should have been a bright, flashing, red warning light for me, but it wasn’t. I had her bring the computer in, I’d run some spyware and virus scanning on it and it’d be fine. No such luck. I fire it up and get a shiny boot error “Primary Sata 0 not found”. Alrighty then! So, now I have to take the machine home and find out what’s going on.

I get home, crack open the machine and check the cables. Everything seems fine. Boot … error. Shit. Try my own cable; nope. Pull out the hard drive (not an easy task on the Dell Dimension) and connect it to my other computer … Ha! The other computer doesn’t have SATA connectors on the motherboard. Okay, open the other other computer, connect the SATA hard drive, boot up. Everything’s fine, the SATA drive is recognized. I run the anti-spyware and anti-virus on the SATA drive and it only takes a couple of minutes. Hunh, wierd. Poke around on the drive, and find the 120GB drive only reads as 20GB, and there’s no files in My Documents and only a bare minimum of files in WINNT. I unplug my primary drive and leave the SATA drive, it boots up and tells me that the Windows installation is not complete. Great!

So I plug it all back into the origianl machine and try booting again. No luck; no drive. A blinding flash of inspiration hits. The message says “sata 0” and I’m plugged into sata-1. So is it Sata-1 and Sata-2 or Sata-0 and Sata-1? Ahh … Sata-0 and Sata-1. So I plug into Sata-0 and start booting … incomplete Windows install. I put in the CD and start again. I check the partitions and find 20GB partitioned and 100GB not partitioned. Yay. Not only is the install not complete, but even the partitions are buggered. Since now it’s not going to matter whether there was previous data on the drive (and I’m not going to go through the trouble of trying to recover it), I re-install Windows, re-partition the drive to 1 giant 120GB partition (well, it’s about 110GB when all is said and done) and re-install all the software that came with the machine. Too bad all the downloaded music is gone, but that’s what you get from letting an idiot try to fix your computer!