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Recovering My Primary Machine

Me dialoguing how I fixed my laptop.

:pencil: by Jacky Alciné :book: an thoughts post :bookmark: recovery, laptop, personal, hardware :clock7: written :eyeglasses: about 3 minutes, 717 words :link: Comments - 0 Mention(s) - Permalink

I’ve designated my current laptop (at the time of writing) stark, for its compact form and beefier specs compared to my older laptops. However, due to a really stupid ploy of mine to keep the laptop on for a super long time, it seems like its internal HDD1 died out on me. SMART data doesn’t show promising information despite it still being able to hold data. I’ve already purchased a replacement disk, which so happened to be another Western Digital disk, but by the will of the digital forces out there, I managed to irrevocably destroy this disk by dropping it into a kitchen sink. Don’t ask. So for now, I’m left using the 32 GB SSD that this laptop came with to hold the operating system.

I “recycle” my old laptop hard disks by using them for local storage of photography and video my family and I have taken over the years. However, my last laptop, neuromancer, didn’t get this treatment. I completely forgot about it and deliberated on using it as the new internal hard disk. After chatting with a friend online about it, it’d make more sense for me to invest in a high-capacity solid state drive since they aren’t prone to gravitational and long read issue (as far as I know). Samsung’s 250 GB SSD is more than enough space for me since I don’t really save much locally2 outside of books and source code.

Problems I Have Now (And Potential Solutions)

A problem I’m having now is to prevent myself from allowing my machine to be up for so long without really shutting down. Typically, with neuromancer, I made use of hibernation to just save all of my current activities so it’s less of a cold boot. However, moving to stark, I made use of LUKS which breaks support of hibernation and leaves your encrypted data for attack in suspension due to the encryption key for your key being preserved in RAM. I’ve decided to more or less give up on suspension altogether since it does have its share of security concerns.

All in all, this does allow me to continue my digital life as I’ve sorely missed it over the last few days. It’s hard not having a secure back up to work upon, especially whilst in the middle of client work. This is something I did not plan for at all and it got me considering investing in a desktop machine for work that’s done at home3. What this begs to interest me in it is having a “virtual” work environment. It’d just be the act of having a shell I can always access whenever I’m online and being able to synchronize files and data between the two. I’ve already begun to work on something like this4 for more CLI environments but using KDE, I’d want to synchronize my desktop settings accordingly.


Always make a backup. The only excuse for not making a backup of your files is that you wish to have a ephemeral file system. There’s quite a few good tools for those who can host their own setup for backups like Sparkleshare and even ownCloud itself, if you have a remote server with enough space. I’ve made do with ownCloud handling the synchronization of vital files into different accounts. There’s a few other things you’d want to look into like:

  • Backups of key-rings from things like GPG or your password manager5 helps reduce the frustrating cycle of “reclaiming your accounts”.

  • Making use of synchronization services like for Chrome or Firefox help out as well.

Live long and prosper!

  1. A Western Digital drive, if that matters. 

  2. Private clouds and on-demand caching FTW

  3. I spend a lot of time outside, either in cafés or libraries. Thus, having my laptop with me is, without a doubt, a must. 

  4. Currently using a crap-ton of Git repositories via homeshick

  5. Please encrypt the password database before moving to another storage medium.