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He followed the directions…
A news firm in Clinton, IA had recently hired Sean, a new addition to the world of MCSE, A+, and Net+, as a member of its ever-growing IT staff. On his first day on the job, Sean received a call from a reporter facing a deadline who couldn’t get her computer to boot.

After working on the machine for a period of time, Sean determined that the hard drive had gone bad, and it needed to be replaced. After relating his findings to the reporter, she began yelling at him, explaining that her story was on that hard drive, and she needed it to be finished and turned in within the next two hours to beat her deadline. Seeing the dilemma she was facing, Sean told the reporter that he believed he could resuscitate the hard drive long enough to get the crucial information onto another disk.

Sean placed the hard drive in a freezer for a half hour, and then placed it in another machine where he could copy the crucial files onto another hard drive. When he placed the old hard drive in the machine with the other hard drive, however, it wouldn’t detect the original hard drive or the malfunctioning one.

Sean thought a moment about what the problem could be. He removed both of the hard drives from the machine, and examined each drive closely. He immediately understood what the problem had been. When he placed the old hard drive in the machine, he had accidentally forgotten to switch the jumper to make it a slave drive. He blamed the stressful nature of the situation for having made him so nervous and causing him to make such an obvious mistake.

Sean changed the jumper on the old hard drive, placed both drives back into the machine, and watched the machine boot properly. Sean knew he didn’t have much time until the old drive would begin to “thaw,” so he immediately copied the reporter’s story and other vital information from the old machine onto the other hard drive. He then copied those files onto a folder on a network server, where the reporter could access it from any machine in the company.
This week, we award TechRepublic T-shirts to John Kelley and William Tinkler, whose winning entries were randomly selected from all of the correct answers in the e-mails we received. Congratulations!