There has been yet another chapter in the comedy of errors that has been going on for about a year now, featuring my BeOS machine as the main character. For the last few weeks, the hard drive in that machine had been occasionally making an odd noise – nothing especially troubling, but I’ve dealt with enough dead & dying hard drives to be paranoid.

Read on for the gory details.

Being a relatively conscientious fellow, I picked up a replacement drive and attempted to use ghost to clone the current drive to the new one. But after shutting down and attempting to reboot into ghost, the current drive had disappeared – at least as far as the BIOS was concerned. After trying going through the usual trial-and-error steps (reboot, replace IDE cable, try a different IDE connector, change jumpers, finally trying on a different computer), there was still nothing; as the drive still *sounds* like it’s powering on, it would seem that I’m the proud owner of a drive with a dead controller card.

Fortunately, there seemed to be another fairly easy solution – my existing backup drive. It would still mean losing about a month of data, but that’s much better than eight years’ worth. Crossing my fingers, plugged in the backup and booted without a problem. I didn’t entirely trust the old backup drive, so my first priority was to get its contents ghost’d to the new drive – which seemed to work perfectly this time. Until I tried to boot from the new drive and was greeted by an error from the BeOS bootloader stating that it couldn’t access the partition. And to make things complete, the same error appeared when I tried to boot from the backup drive.

Briefly terrified that I had done something truly idiotic (like accidentally ghost’ing *from* the new/empty drive, rather than *to* it), I quickly dug out a BeOS Max CD and booted from it. Fortunately, the Max installer correctly recognized the BeOS partition on my hard drive – but unfortunately, attempting to mount it resulted in a “Bad File Descriptor” error. Right around that time, my KVM switch stopped working with my mouse – which seemed like a good indication that I should call it a day.

So now I’m stuck with Windows again, at least until I get time to make another attempt at getting the BeOS PC up and running again. There are still a few possibilities – I’ll probably try running “chkbfs” on the partition, while booted from the Max CD. Failing that, there are still the apps in Axel Dörfler’s bfs_tools package. If anyone can offer any other suggestions, I would be eternally grateful – here’s hoping that my next post is done within BeOS.

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