The SSD on my beloved Lenovo P53 suddenly started showing an error about 10 days back. I received remarkably quick and courteous service from Lenovo and a replacement drive was sent out immediately. However given the current virus situation and its effect on shipping schedules, it arrived about 3 days late. No big whup. The drive was holding up (was working fine in Windows, but things were crashing intermittently when I booted into Linux).
Incidentally, Lenovo provides very good videos on a huge variety of do-it-yourself tasks here: https://support.lenovo.com/ca/en/solutions/ht505031. They’re wonderful short videos showing you exactly what you need to know. No more, no less. For example, the video describing how to remove the back cover on the laptop is 25 seconds long. And all the videos are viewable right there on the page. I don’t know if other manufacturers provide similar things but not having to hunt through YouTube and getting videos specifically for my model of laptop was great.
Anyway, I decided I’d wipe out my Ubuntu install and deal with it later. And since I’ve been pretty good about keeping almost all of my work confined to a folder that is synced up to Google Drive, what I needed to do was create a Windows 10 Pro bootable USB and start from square one. Since I didn’t 100% trust the integrity of the data on my failing SSD, I was able to download the recovery media and create the USB for my specific model of laptop (rather than use the recovery partition on the drive to create a restore disk). There is a link they provide for something called their Digital Download Recovery Service which is provided for this exact purpose. This way you’re not getting a vanilla install but rather exactly the same install and drivers etc that the laptop shipped with.
Typically I enjoy the challenge of figuring stuff out on my own, but I paid a lot of money for this laptop and I wanted to make sure I at least started with what I bought only a couple of months ago.
So in went the new drive and after what looked like a very enterprise-y looking multiple-reboot install, Windows 10 Pro was back up and running. But of course during this whole debacle, I made the decision to also order a second 16GB stick of ram, and a second 512GB SSD (the one you see in the photo at the top of this post). They both took a little while to ship but last night I finally got them installed. So now I’ve got Ubuntu 20.04 installed on a separate SSD (which might be a better idea in case one of the drives fails again - or so I’ve been led to believe).
There are a few things I’ve learned (or re-learned) over the past couple of weeks dealing with this:
- Reading reviews of M.2 SSD drives (or any other type of drive) will not build confidence in drive lifespan. All you end up seeing are stories of how things have failed for others.
- Keeping your work stuff synced up with an online backup (like Google Drive, Dropbox etc.) can be a real time and stress saver.
- Not customizing the crap out of your computing environment has its benefits
- Ubuntu’s install procedure is good, but straying from the path at all (ie. anything involving the partitioner) can still be daunting
- We take a lot computing for granted. It’s still a super-complicated house of cards under the covers.
Whispers of a subtle return to the office are beginning to appear. Ahem… I’ve grown to like working from home. Luckily there has been absolutely no shortage of work, and I’ve had enough site visits to keep me from feeling trapped in any way. It’s not for everybody but if they said it’s going to be another 3 months, I wouldn’t exactly be disappointed. ;-)