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How to f**k up your system

Disclaimer: Don't ever follow the steps below, or you will learn to avoid it the hard way (like I did this weekend)!
  1. Copy your mom's photos to your computer and delete them from the camera.
  2. Move (!) them from your Linux system to her USB stick and safely unmount it.
  3. When she wants to copy them to her computer, discover that the USB stick is damaged and half of her precious photos are gone.
  4. Suspend your system to disk and run reiserfsck --rebuild-tree on all your Linux partitions (one after another, until you realize the "home" one would have been the last one on the drive) in an attempt to find the deleted photos in the "lost+found" directory.
  5. Reboot your system, only realizing once it's up that it resumed from the suspend you sent it to before, has a fair bit of file system data from the (old!) reiserfs tree in the cache and happily writes to the disk.
  6. Kill that run of the system and realize you have to do lots of file system repairs again, followed by endless hours of restoring your system as you discover that common binaries (like udev, file, rpm and others) are no ELF files any more, and once you got a running rpm from the on-DVD live rescue system, discover that parts of your rpm database are gone as well.
  7. Bang your head against the wall repeatedly and swear you will never try to get lost files this way again. Never. NEVER.

Thankfully this was just my laptop which has no important data (except the small bit of work I did on the train home on Thursday), my father found an app to undelete files on the camera's flash memory card (so my mom's happy to have the photos again), and I brought back the computer to a state where it works OK. Now I'm left with a reason to try out openSUSE 10.3 Alpha/Beta on the laptop (a real upgrade will hopefully overwrite even more damaged files with good copies than I had done before) - and with not having had any of my usual internet access this weekend between helping out friends with a (smaller) fest in town on Friday and Saturday.

It may take me a bit longer than after usual weekends at home to sort out everything that happened in those days - but I'll do it all and nothing important's lost (and yes, I would have backups of all the important data which is on my main desktop computer).

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on July 1st, 2007 22:39 | Tags: Linux | no comments

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