Nelson's log

IDE, the obsolete standard

My home Linux server died. We had an ugly power outage and when the power came back up and when I turned on the computer, out came the magic smoke. I hope that just the power supply fried, or maybe the motherboard, because I don’t have a backup of the data on the hard drives. 15 years of data, programming, photos, financial records, email, writing. It’s very unlikely that the data is gone; worst case, I send the platters to a data recovery service. But it sucks.

I’ve ordered the parts to build a fancy new computer. It’ll be an awesome fast upgrade based around Sandy Bridge parts. My plan was to install Ubuntu on the fancy new SATA drives, get things sort of working, then plug in the old IDE/PATA drives to copy the data over.

The motherboard doesn’t even have IDE ports.

When did that happen? When did IDE become so obsolete they don’t even put ports for it on a motherboard? I mean, the motherboard still has PS/2 keyboard, old school serial, parallel. No IDE. Ugh. I’ve ordered a USB adapter to get data off the old drive. Amazon is full of these jobbies for $7, complete with 10+ one star reviews saying “the power supply is junk and fried my drive”. Awesome. The one I picked has the most reviews and almost all are positive.

I’m not so stupid as to not have any sort of backups of the data. I have a complete rsnapshot mirror. On a second drive, in the dead machine, the one that might have sent a surge of death through every plugged in component. Yeah, didn’t think through all failure modes. I am committed to doing real offsite backup of all my computers now. I have CrashPlan on the Mac already; something for Linux will be coming.

While I’m waiting for the adapter I tried playing with an old USB drive enclosure I had lying around, thinking I could put the drives in and plug them into my Mac to reassure myself the data is still there. Turns out mounting ext3fs on MacOS is a clusterfuck. fuse-ext2 is the recommended way but MacFuse doesn’t work on Lion and is abandoned and all the Fuse folks have scattered every which way. This blog post claims that OSXFuse + Fuse-ext2 will work on Lion, but I don’t have enough confidence in all this jury rigging to bother trying it. I’m much more comfortable recovering data in a Linux system.