[addendum 3/5/2006] Just hand me the “Putz of the Year” award. There was a patch out there for Partition Magic which removed the error code I kept getting; it was blaming its inability to copy on a bad file system, when in reality it itself was the problem. Also hand our a “Putz of the Year” award (dated 2001) to the person(s) at PowerQuest that allowed that bug to escape their QA process, and to take quite a number of months (a year?) to fix the problem to their software.

I’ve been struggling with a bad hard drive for a few days now. Five, to be more exact. Not the “struggling” where I don’t know what to do or how to replace it, but struggling with various utilities to get it to copy the data over to the new drive that came on Wednesday (today is Sunday). So far, I’ve tried the Windows XP Install CD (XCopy so graciously will not copy most of the files, even in Safe Mode), Partition Magic (keeps finding errors with the drive that CHKDSK isn’t finding/fixing), Maxtor MaxBlast, and Western Digital’s Data Lifeguard. What does this have to do with floppies?

All of these tools, except for the Windows Install CD and Maxtor MaxBlast, let me create a “Recue Diskette” of some sort, but don’t have the option to burn this diskette to CD! Computers have been coming without floppy drives standard for quite a number of years, but the utilities haven’t caught up. If it was a matter of simply hooking up a floppy drive, there would not be a problem, I have a spare floppy drive on the shelf just for this type of situation. But the sad fact is, the motherboard on the current PC simply does not have a connector for a floppy cable! I bet 95% (or more) of people who purchased a computer from an OEM (HP/Compaq, IBM, Dell, Gateway/eMachines) during the last three or more years are in the same boat that I am.

Without being able to have something that works with its own boot loader, this operation just does not seem to be working. For whatever reason, upon booting with the new drive, certain things are not working right; my Windows toolbar is lacking the address bar, and more important, Office 2003 just isn’t working right. It requests a reinstall, but the installer/uninstaller says that it is an invalid patch file. I tried the fix from Microsoft, and it worked, but with those two really obvious errors in the disk copy, I really did not feel like taking my chances and sending the original drive back.

It is just a bit frustrating that system utility makers (especially Microsoft, who helped puch boot-from-CD for Windows installations, as well as pushed OEMs to ditch floppies) don’t take into consideration how many people simply lack a floppy disk. I’m sitting here, knowing that all I need to do is a standard Windows backup, create an Emergency Repair Disk, then run the Automated System Recovery, and I can’t.

Have I ever mentioned how amazed I get by the lack of conseration on the part of developers for the users?