Saved By Linux

A while back I requested 10 copies of Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu has a pretty good deal going. Not only is it free to download and install on as many computers as you want, they’ll also ship you as many copies of their software as you want for free. My CDs arrived in the mail last week. We’ll get back to them in a minute…

Friday, a transformer blew near the high school. This knocked out one leg of the power to the building. Basically, half of the circuits in the building were down. So instead of having four dedicated circuits for running everything in the server closet, we had two. I managed to patch things together and keep everything working over the weekend with the exception of one server.

The server that controls most of the network printers on the campus wouldn’t boot back up. It tried to boot then gave a blue screen of death with INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. This is a really bad message.

On Saturday I found out that there were also some very important files on that server, so I would have to find some way to get those files back off. I spent some time the rest of the weekend researching how to fix this problem.

The best solution to this error is to reinstall windows. That means I would also have to download drivers for the RAID controller and network card since they aren’t included with Windows NT. This would’ve probably taken a few hours.

I didn’t want to dedicate that kind of time to a server that I was planning on turning off in a few days anyway so I looked around for another solution. Luckily, I had an Ubuntu LiveCD handy.

Yesterday morning I booted from the LiveCD and everthing just worked. Ubuntu automatically detected the RAID controller and the network card. Once it finished booting up, there were icons on the desktop for all three of the hard drives in the server. I was able to copy all of the files to another server and save myself a few hours of work.

Linux helped us out a second time yesterday. I’ll get to that tomorrow…