Where's My Time Machine??

As I have been detailing (modestly and scantily) on this very blog, I have been growing my music collection on my Mac Mini (also known as Fred). Fred got a buddy last spring in the form of a 300 GB firewire drive, and some friends and I got together, shared our music collections, and promptly stuffed the firewire buddy to his gills. I do not exaggerate - I believe there was just over a gig of free space left when trading was finished.

Anyway, I have been transferring and consolidating music files...getting rid of duplicates, etc., etc. When I'm finished, I should still have nearly 200 GB in music, but there will be some space on the firewire drive to build a partition for back-up purposes. Then I can make sure I keep all of my music, photos, and other such important things. Just in time for Time Machine to come around on Leopard and make all of this tie together oh so nicely. Stay with me here...

So, this evening, I was wrapping up some of my "drive cleaning", and getting ready to outfit Fred with Leopard. I move over my pictures and document folders to back those up, and decide to give the disk a bit of a check with the Disk Utility feature on the install disk - make sure it's working okay and ready to handle the new OS. Here, we begin the fun...

First, as I'm verifying the disk, the utility starts spewing error after error at me - problems with several HP Laserjet printer descriptions or something to that effect. Kind of odd, since I don't use an HP Laserjet, and I'm not sure Fred has ever printed to an HP Laserjet. I'm sure it's some of the default descriptions they have on file so that Fred can be a Plug & Play wiz, but it's a pain that they've gone corrupt or whatever.

So, it goes through several thousand of those errors, and then locks up. Big Fat Beachball o' Death. Ugh. Not much to do at this point but to give him a restart and go in to run it again. This time, I get in there, and Disk Utility won't verify the disk. It starts and stops about 30 seconds in. Hrmmm....

Well, let's go back to OS 10.4.10, I say to myself. Let's REALLY make sure everything is backed up, and bring out the heavy diagnostic tools.... Ha, ha, ha. Of course not! Fred won't have it. Right during startup, Fred just shuts off. Going back in to the Leopard startup disk, the new installer won't even see the hard drive. It requires that I completely erase and re-format the disk before it will do any sort of verifying or installing.

Well. I could spend the lengthy (and probably costly) process of reclaiming the data through various outlets - there are options to get stuff off of dead/damaged disks. But, I really don't want to deal with all of that. And, aside from an iTunes Library file and some bookmarks in my Safari folder, I have complete backups of everything.

Things definitely could be worse. I could have NOT backed up my pictures and document folders before going in to Disk Utility. I have gone in there without doing so before. And, I could have no backup system in place, and be in a real pickle about what to do to recover my precious stuff. Really, what I'm left with is the realization of what a great advertisement this is for the new backup feature I'm trying to install on Leopard....almost makes you wonder if there is some conspiracy in place....to truly show you just how badly you need the product you are installing. Building consumer confidence through annoyance and data destruction! W00t!

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