There is nothing quite like coming home and seeing a reflection in the window of your computer screen, a gargantuan error message regarding KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR. I.e.: Hard drive crash (usually).
An hour of troubleshooting led to nothing but a grinding noise that didn’t sound so good. At 11:30 I gave up, shut the whole thing down, and went to bed. By 6am I was up in a sweat. I have backups of all my important data, but it’s the unimportant data that I didn’t have covered — namely my software archive of utilities I use in product testing and my 30GB music collection, only 18GB of which will fit on my iPod. Trying to reconstruct the other 12GB would be a nightmare — as the iPod chooses files at random to fill the space.
This morning, everything boots up just fine. The hard drive is still making some not-quite-right clicking noises, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. It’s backup time! The software archive is done, and the music is now copying to a fresh 40GB backup drive. If the machine can just hold out until that’s finished, I’ll happily replace that dead drive with something that works. Thank you, computer gods!