So last night, before I go to bed, my work rig runs a virus scan. No big deal. Except it deletes a file that has infused itself to the winlogin portion of the windows registry. So after that, every time the computer boots up, it logs in, blinks the desktop, and logs out again. I spent until around 8am trying to correct the problem in the registry. I used windows repair mode to manually move files around, I tried BartPE discs with a registry editor to correct the key, everything.
Finally I gave up on fixing the problem, and decided to barrell past it. I yanked the HD out of the computer, and hooked it up to my other computer. Copied all the files that weren't backed up onto my removable hard drive, then brought the work HD back over to the work computer, and began formatting with a fresh windows install.
It finishes up around 10am, at which point I'm ready to get everything set up and go to sleep. However I can't get my removable hard drive to show up, so that I can transfer all of the important backed up work files. After fiddling with it for a few, I realize that it shows 80gb of available space... out of 80gb. I had fucking wiped my backups during the windows installed.
So commence the freaking out, screaming, hyperventilating, you name it. The removable HD is the intermediary step for my important files before they get backed up in duplicate on DVD. So I had a lot of stuff still safe. But there were a good 60 original comic files, and numerous other irreplaceable artwork and documents that hadn't made the jump to disc yet. So you can imagine I was beside myself.
Frantically I started searching for recovery methods, willing to throw down any amount of money to send the hard drive to a special center, and retrieve my precious files. I find a program that claims it can restore erased or formatted data from a drive, and there's a free trial, so I give it a shot. Over the next two or so hours the program reads every single sector on the removeable hard drive, collecting and reassembling, and making sense out of data that shouldn't even be there. Ghosts of what once was.
I am happy to report that it seems to have rebuilt just about all of the files (at least the ones that truly mattered). I purchased the full version so that I could begin copying all of my files back to solid ground. They're all jumbled, but they're all there and functional. It was a close call.
So the moral of the story is this... don't format for a clean install of windows at 8am on no sleep, because you might be retarded and forget your removeable HD is also hooked up. And if you screw up, and lose something important, try one of these programs from Disk Internals. They just saved me a whole lot of heartache.
Onto cheerier subjects, I got some time this weekend to get my hands dirty with Armored Fury, the new booster pack for Battlefield 2 that launches tomorrow. Played some Conquest and some Co-Op. It's more of the same great BF2, and I wrote up a review to that effect. It also rekindled my interest in BF2 a bit, at least so far as keeping in shape for 2142. So I may just hold that BF2 GameDay this weekend that people have been asking for. Just maybe.