I called Dell and they made me run another diagnostic to prove there was a problem with the HD. I did and received Error Code 7. They wouldn't tell me what the code meant, but it is bad enough that they sent me a new hard drive. The guy was supposed to show up (net necessarily within the Next Business Day as the warantee claims) and install the drive. I then thought he'd move my old information to the new drive, no such luck. "That's not covered by our insurace", he said when he called to make the appointment. I blame emmalyon for that.
I called my brother to see if he had a copy of Ghost. This is software that lets you copy an entire hard drive, not just most of the information which is all you get if you just try a disk copy. He has it! I called the guy back and asked if he could just leave the drive. He said yes and further inquiries revealed that I had 10 days to return the old drive and the return shipping was already paid for. He showed up later that afternoon, handed me a box and left.
I packed my computer and some DVDs I loaned my brother into a crate and went over to my brothers house to ghost my drive. He hooked my computer into his network and then realized I had no floppy drive. This is where ghost is run from. He made a cd with all the information we'd need and after a few false starts trying to get it on the network on a minimum boot, ran ghost.
It came up and hung before the menu appeared. Now it was time for searching the net for troubleshooting! We had earlier wanted to see if we could simply install the second drive in the second bay and do a direct copy. Upon opening the case, we discovered that I do indeed have a serial ATA drive. These are the newest type with extremely fast access times, which probably explains why I can change areas in City of Heroes so quickly. Unfortunately, there is only one cable in the machine and it only supports one drive.
On our first attempts to ghost the drive, we tried to ghost it to my brother's server since we couldn't mount a second drive in my machine, but the network connection was very slow and we couldn't get ghost to run. Naturally, we figured the in-machine transfer would be the best, so we went to Radio Shack to get a second serial ATA cable. Radio Shack does not carry these. We tried Staples, Staples does not carry these. The nearest computer store was 1/2 hour away.
I purchased (amoung other things) a usb floppy drive, thinking perhaps the system would run better from the floppy as it was intended. Admittedly, this was a long shot and it didn't work, but I figure the drive could still come in handy in the future and it wasn't that expensive. After returning to my brother's we found a web site that explained the problems with ghost and serial ATA drives. It gave a work-around, but suggested that the real fix was to get the newest version. We tried the work-arounds, they did not work.
At this point we'd been working on this for 3 hours. I decided to go home and stop at Comp USA to get the cable on my way home. I went into Comp USA, Comp USA does not carry the cable. To their credit, they knew what it was, unlike people at Radio Shack and Staples, and they seemed shocked that they didn't have it. I could have purchased the newest copy of Ghost, but decided to hell with it. I'm going to backup my data, take out the old drive, install the new one and begin installing all the software I want from scratch.
They gave me a 160 Gig HD to replace my 120 Gig, so that's good. And this way I'll get rid of lots of software that came with the machine that I don't want. Plus some software I no longer use will fall by the wayside. My only concern is getting all the registration codes from programs I've downloaded.
Wish me luck! I may be offline for CoH for a few days, but hope to be back up soon.
I wouldn't be surprised if no-one bothered to read this whole thing : -)