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10.4: An overview of NTFS support in Tiger
Authored by: moritzh on Aug 05, '05 02:13:59PM
Presumably when you say it 'broke' you mean it was non-bootable. Clearly the hard drive was still working. Was the rest of the hardware intact?

No, it was one of those cheap notebooks and, all of a sudden, couldn't even be switched on. The power lamp was on for a few seconds, but nothing happened (no HHD spin-up, no fan running, ...). Did some research on the model and found out that other people had problems with that manufacturer's main boards (corroded BIOS chip contacts after a year, ...). Took the thing apart, but the circuit plans in the manual were of no help discovering what could be the problem... Because I had an opportunity to get a cheap iBook, because I know the Mac better than a Windows machine so I would be able to give better 'tech support' to my mother (the future owner) in case of problems and, well, because I just like the Macs better, I decided to dump the old thing and get a new Mac instead.

Since I live in another city far away, my mother had to send me the laptop by mail. Luckily, the HDD was OK and I could get the data as described.

Some higher forces decided to make the whole thing a little more complicated, however. I also needed some other files from my mother's other (desktop) Windows computer so I could merge (copy/convert to different format) all the data onto the new iBook. So I asked someone else to take that computer's HDD out as well and mail it to me, making a backup of the most important stuff before (in case that thing would get lost in the mail). Well, that guy broke the HDD doing that (not spinning up anymore) - argh! Luckily, he broke it just after doing the partial backup to one DVD, so I could at least recover the most important things (except for, e.g., a SMIME private key, rendering some encryped data useless).

Now my mother has a broken Windows laptop, a broken Windows desktop computer and a working iBook (until I visit and fix the desktop machine). Well, I sort of like it actually, because now at least there is no way for chaos to arise due to her using two computers (files scattered among the two) and two different operating systems.

The point of the whole story: Better do critical things yourself if you want them to turn out well. And, most important: backup, backup, backup!

Regarding your comment/hint: Pretty impressive procedure, sounds really good. I might have tried doing something similar if the laptop had been still OK. I prefer to do things over a network, if possible. That is not always easy for beginners, however, so just plugging the drive into an external case might be easier. If you do that, be careful, however, some of those small 2.5" drives have plugs that allow you to connect them the wrong way, making you fry the whole thing (speaking out of experience from way back in my earlier days when I was playing around with a disk (no data on it, luckily)...).

I have written up a separate (more detailed) hint about this but it has not yet been published.

If you submitted it a long time ago, it may have been overlooked (see my other comment above), but that should be fixed soon.

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