A few weeks ago I made a really dumb mistake. One of those, “I have been a geek for far too long to forget this” kind of mistakes. The easy to avoid, harder to fix kind…what happened? Read on and find out.
It all started during a discussion in the “back room” here at Gear Diary, regarding Linux on netbooks and whether the OS really matters anymore. Joel and Doug were arguing OS is less important these days, while Michael and I were of the opinion the learning curve and unfamiliar quirks would drive users into the loving arms of Windows 7 (and Mac OS X). Being the adventurous sort, I figured I’d install Ubuntu on my netbook to give it a shot. That’s where everything went pear-shaped.
As it turns out, Ubuntu and Windows 7 don’t always play well together. Specifically, it’s fairly easy for Ubuntu to corrupt the Windows 7 bootloader, making your computer less “dual boot” and more “1.5 boot”. Ubuntu boots just fine but Windows 7 BSODs part way through booting, requiring a startup repair disk. Luckily, Microsoft makes it easy for you to make one, assuming of course that you have access to another Windows computer, or create it first with your primary computer.
That’s where my boneheaded mistake came in…I didn’t back up my netbook OR create a recovery drive prior to hitting “install” on the LiveCD. Oops. Of course, I hosed my Windows 7 startup. Thankfully, Gear Diary has Francis, who is amazing and awesome and sent me a premade flash drive to help with recovering my Windows 7 partition. So now I’m back up and running on my netbook properly.
Still, this was a very important lesson. Never, ever, mess around with the primary OS on your computer without first backing up your data, and finding out how to recover in the event of something going wrong. And if you’re going to spontaneously install a new OS on your computer, make very, very sure you’re aware of any bugs or issues along the way. I’ll be writing a separate review of my experience with Linux, but this seemed like a good PSA on the importance of BACKUPS. When you can get a 320GB portable hard drive for $60 from Amazon, there’s zero excuse to be lax about it!
Have you had any disasters or near-disasters due to being lazy at backups? Misery loves company…start commenting below!