Expectations are a dangerous thing.

On the one hand, when they are correct they can greatly speed up your process giving you somewhere to begin and allowing you to forgo many questions and tests in terms of figuring out the situation. Or, when your expectations are wrong, it can cost you valuable time.

Sunday I woke up, ready to edit and produce ManaNation for the next day, but I discovered something. My computer had frozen and would not boot, asking me for a bootable disk to be inserted, and I could hear one of the harddrives producing the ‘click of death.’ A small clicking sound that indicates the reading arm is broken or stuck and thus the hard drive is nearing death.

My machine (Mace II, named for Mace Windu, yes I’m a geek) has three hard drives. C: is the main drive where all the action happens. Operating System, program files, my documents, mp3 collection, etc. D: is my storage drive for movies, big apps, some backups. O: is for ManaNation stuff exclusively. I also use an external hard drive to run backups and for transporting ManaNation video files.

I shut the machine off and, assuming it was my C:, main hard drive, since the machine would not boot. So I ordered a new hard drive rushed from NewEgg. In the meantime I produced a low quality video with my Flip camera and had it run on Monday instead of the schedule episode.

Yesterday the new hard drive arrived. After work I got home and set up the new hard drive, booted with a Windows XP CD and installed the OS. It took about an hour, K and I took our evening walk during the time, and then after it booted up I went to install Mozilla Firefox only to see something peculiar.

It was trying to install Firefox to the G: drive. For those not used to Windows machines, Windows is almost universally on C: drive. This comes from the days when you would have an A: and B: drive for floppy disks, so C: fell to the hard drive. It’s not required but it’s the standard. When I investigated further I discovered that the drive I had just installed was indeed the G: drive and that the C: drive was my old main hard drive. The one which had died was my middle hard drive, D: drive.

This was good news on many counts: first it meant a quick fix. I just had to fix the jumpering on the hard drives and it would boot into the main drive again, restoring order to the universe. Second it meant a huge reduction in needed time to rebuild my machine and re-install the applications. And thirdly it meant that there was minimal critical data loss. I’m fairly good about backups, but I had gotten lax on backing up files that weren’t ManaNation or web projects.

The main thing that bugs me, is that if I had checked which drive was dead, I would have found out that I could remove it (temporarily) and booted the machine normally, thus saving myself the delay on ManaNation. Alas, lesson learned and I can only make a promise to myself to check which hard drive died before rushing to replace the whole operating system and drive.

But, all is well in the world. Mace II is back on his feet, with a bit more storage space, and I learned to always check my expectation when there would be over