Sunday, 8 March 2009

Carnage In The Drive Bay!!!

Recently while installing Windows XP to a virtual machine my Windows disc exploded in the drive bay. This wasn't like previous DVD drive failures I've had in the past where discs were destroyed. There were none of the usual grinding or squealing warning signs that tell you somethings not right.

It just exploded! BANG! And I was sitting there thinking WTF!?!

The DVD drive continued trying to read the disc until I instructed Ubuntu to eject it. As it was Ubuntu the system didn't fall on it's arse for a simple DVD failure. It just soldiered on! When the drive tray slid out the crunching started and the tray got stuck. So there was nothing for it. Open DVD drive surgery had to be conducted as soon as possible.

This is where I have to congratulate Dell on their choice of DVD drives. Normally when opening a CD or DVD drive I run the risk of losing a finger or two because they normally aren't designed to be opened up at all. This Dell drive was different. The top and bottom covers were held together by four simple little screws. There was none of the usual mental finger lacerating origami that hold other drives together. Just four simple little screws.

My Windows disc was totally destroyed. It had fragmented into tiny wee pieces. Some of which I managed to jigsaw back together. Just for fun. Some of these bits are warped out of shape. So they no longer fit together exactly as they once did. And even with most of the bits in place there are still sizable chunks missing that can't be filled by the bits I have left. They aren't in the drive either. So I guess they've been vaporised!

Now my Windows disc is dead, my PC repair services are severely limited. I only ever used it for repairing other Windows systems. Which happened a lot. Maybe Microsoft are using specially weakened discs? Maybe that's just being too paranoid. Maybe Ubuntu had some weired auto-immune defensive reaction to the Windows disc infecting it's DVD drive. Either way the proprietary nature of Windows has left me with a problem. I have noway now to recover a F.U.B.A.R-ed Windows installation. And since Microsoft insist on using DRM features on their discs I don't have a back up. I can't help but wonder how many other people have found themselves in similar positions?

My PC is out of warranty. So I might not get a replacement disc from Dell. Although someone at Dell is kindly looking into the matter for me.

The DVD drive it's self seems to have survived it's ordeal. It's now working fine again. I tried it out with a crap DVD I didn't mind being destroyed. Steven Segals "Marked For Death". Which it seems my PC likes since it didn't destroy it.

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