Starting from scratch with Windows 8

Posted: - Modified: | geek

I ran into the dreaded 0xc00000e9 Unexpected I/O error on Windows 8, which meant that my drive was probably messed up. W- plugged my drive into his computer and found that he couldn’t read the files on it, so it was time for a format and reinstall. Fortunately, most of my information is in Dropbox or Evernote and therefore synchronized with the cloud and I backed up most of my other files, so it was No Big Deal (or not much of one) to format my drive and reinstall Windows. I’d been meaning to do that anyway, although I would’ve preferred to do it voluntarily. I didn’t back up the Quantified Self videos because they were so large, but I can copy

One of my mentors told me how he stopped deleting files because storage space is cheap. I’d stopped too, archiving my downloads directory instead of clearing it out. Now it’s paying off, since I can easily reinstall my favourite applications instead of tracking down links.

The most hassle will probably come from installing all the drivers I need and setting up all the shortcuts I’m used to, but that’s just a matter of slogging through it.

Then I can take a proper full-image backup, since it turned out that my last full-image backup was of Windows 7. I could’ve restored from that, I guess, but I couldn’t remember if there was anything compelling enough to go through a backup-and-reinstall cycle instead of a straight install. I’ll keep it around just in case.

How can I use this inconvenience to help me prepare for other situations better? Let’s see how it could have been worse, and how I can make my defenses even stronger.

I could’ve needed my setup for a client engagement. Coding environments are relatively easy to replicate: a virtual machine, a source code checkout, and we’re mostly back to normal. I have multiple computers that can do in a pinch. My drawing setup is a little more difficult because some of the drivers are finicky, and you can’t easily buy a tablet with a proper stylus.

  • When it’s not important to publish right away, I can draw on paper. I have sketchbooks and markers.
  • When it’s important to publish right away, I should have a backup computer. In a pinch, I can borrow J-‘s or W-‘s. I might upgrade my computer next year, and then this computer can be my backup.

My drive could’ve completely crashed. I kept the drive that came with my computer, so I could swap that back in while waiting for a new SSD to arrive.

My backups could’ve been messed up. My full system image backup wasn’t as useful as I wanted, because it wasn’t recognized by Windows 8. Fortunately, I have the habit of backing up both system images and files. I have the extra hard disk space, so I should back up full system images more often.

I could stash my license keys in one place instead of searching two mailboxes for them. Evernote might be a good way to handle that.

Every almost-catastrophe is also an opportunity to make systems better. =)

On the plus side, Windows Live Writer works again. Hooray!

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