Hard Drive Quandry.

February 22, 2006

I got the three refurbished hard drives I ordered from Woot.com and I finally had a moment to play with them tonight.  It looks like, at this point, 2/3 of them are good.  I haven’t completely tested them yet.  One of them, though, was making LOUD clanking noises and my computer warned me of imminent failure and told me to save my data.  My original thought was to put all three drives in one box.  By way of information, I normally use 4 computers with a KVM.  These are fairly wimpy boxes.  2 P 3 1 GHz boxes, an AMD 1800 and an AMD 2800.  Strangely, the AMD 1800 is my favorite and that’s the one that I loaded 2 of the drives on.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be problematic as the bios is so old in that machine that it doesn’t go past the 137 Gig barrier.  If I want to that, I’m going to have to do a bios upgrade.  But I also have a P4 2 GHz that I’m wondering if I could turn into a Linux box.  I want to take another stab at Linux.  I’ve tried Red Hat 9, Fedora 3 and an old version of Mandrake and I haven’t been happy.  My friend says I should try Umbutu.  It would be cool to take these drives and make a 500 GB Linux server with Raid mirroring.  I could plug it into my hub and keep it running all the time.  That would be wonderful and all my machines could read it no matter that they don’t have bios upgrades.  Alternatively, I could get 3 more drive enclosures or a dedicated enclosure.  That’s only $100 and would be pretty cool too.  I’ll have to think about it. 

There’s a couple of OS trends that are pushing me back to Linux too.  Microsoft wants to tie licenses to motherboards.  I think they should just be site licenses.  If I have 4 copies of XP, I should be able to keep it on 4 computers no matter what they are.  I should be able to bring them up and down at will and swap out entire boxes, just so I don’t run it on more than 4 boxes at once.  The other trend is tying personal identity to the box.  Microsoft wants to do that too, through layering.  Having multiple boxes would give me a split personality!  Plus, sometimes, I want NO personal information on a computer.  I can do that with Linux. 

Incidentally, I wrote tonight’s blog on Writely because my box with Word on it is down.

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