Yesterday was tough. Upon arrival at work, a nasty Mac problem hit–a totally dead machine that wouldn’t boot. I dinked around with that for a couple of hours. And when my boss saw me, he told me I’d be working out of another building for the next week. On a normal week I wouldn’t have any problem with that. Last week and next week don’t look to be normal weeks.
The Mac problem ended up being an extremely corrupt system folder. The drive was perfectly readable, but wouldn’t boot (and the drive made a lot of unpleasant noises while trying). I copied the contents to another drive and it did the very same thing. Hopefully this user has learned not to screw around, but I doubt it. That’s a huge advantage of Windows NT: The user is much more limited in what’s permitted. At a couple of points during this fiasco I exclaimed, “Get a real computer!” One of the people in the department said, “Bind and gag that man!”
But the statistics back me up. The people in that department running NT have a small percentage of the number of problems the people with overdesigned, overpriced, unreliable Mac boxes have. There are times when I’ll give someone a PC, then I never hear from them again until it’s time for the machine to be replaced or a mandatory upgrade goes around. But if a Mac doesn’t get intense monthly maintenance, you can forget about the thing ever being reliable.
I got the Mac running by installing a new copy of the OS and dragging all the preferences over from the corrupt system folder. I left the extensions behind since it was well past 5, I had to be somewhere at 5:30, and I didn’t cause this problem.
On top of all that, I had a laptop from the field come in. It had been giving the user problems for a while (he didn’t say how long), and the symptoms he described sounded to me like the hard drive was failing. I asked if he had a recent backup. He did not. He sent me the laptop. I powered it up, and it’s no longer capable of booting. It tries but never gets far. I pulled the drive and put it in another machine so I could try to recover the data. Linux won’t even mount the drive, it’s in such bad shape. NT won’t read it because it’s formatted FAT32 (that’s it–this next build for deployed users is using FAT16 so I can recover their data with whatever OS I want, seeing as I’ll have to do a lot of it since they refuse to make backups), so I’m spending my Saturday building a Win98 box so I can read the drive and hopefully get some data back. Good thing I get time and a half…