Hi, everyone. I'm afraid I have some troubling news. Nothing devastating, thankfully, but it's a setback that I may as well be up-front about. The whole point of this Developer Diary series is to be clear and honest with our fans, after all, so I'm going to do just that.
This Sunday morning, my plan was to fire up my programming laptop, grab a couple of screenshots from the latest build of Rosenkreuzstilette for my next Developer Diary entry, type up some behind-the-scenes factoids for today's post, clean myself up, and head to work for the day (my shift starts at 9:30 am). Unfortunately, things aren't going quite according to plan:
When I try to power on my laptop, the screen above briefly appears before the system automatically restarts itself. The process repeats itself in an infinite loop. That can't be good...
Time to put that expensive Computer Science degree of mine to work. Alright, let's reconfigure the boot options to disable the auto-reboot when the system screws up... Success! I'm able to get the machine to show the error machine long enough for me to snap a photo.
"UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME", huh? So my Windows partition isn't being recognized. Can we get some more details? Since my programming machine runs Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3*, I fish out my XP install CD to see if I can glean some information from the setup process.
* Before anyone makes a smartass quip about my choice of OS: programming environments are most productive when they're set up on an advanced machine running a more stable, better-tested operating system. This machine originally shipped with Windows Vista SP1, but I deliberately downgraded to Windows XP Pro SP3 to make the machine more reliable. And it's served me well for well over five years now.
The XP install disc boots up the way it's done hundreds of times before, and the setup program gives me exactly the information I had hoped it would. The "Partition Select" menu gives me both the nature of the failure and reassures me that the problem isn't as bad as it could have been. As you can see from the photo, the primary NTFS partition on my laptop's hard drive, which should be a 32-gig volume labeled "Windows", isn't being recognized properly. I've had a similar issue with my NTFS file allocation table crapping out on me last week (my C:\Windows\Prefetch\ directory suddenly became unreadable for no discernible reason), so I know I need to hook up the hard drive to another machine with a functioning OS, run some diagnostics on the corrupted NTFS partition, and, if the issue isn't a physical failure, run my data recovery tools to get back any lost data.
Notice that pretty much everything I just said was about my primary boot partition, Windows. As you can see, my other three volumes -- the ones that contain the actual important stuff -- are safe and sound. The RKS source code and Photoshop files are on drive D: (Multimedia), and I'd made a backup on my portable 2-terabyte drive just before I started coding on Saturday. So, even if my hard drive had failed completely, the most I'd have lost was a day's work, my fonts and bookmarks, and my forward momentum. Oh, and my already-configured programming environment. Man, it was set up just the way I like it...
The obvious and unfortunate consequence of this development is that any further progress of RKS will be stalled until my laptop is up and running again -- or, failing that, my work is migrated to another machine. Thankfully, I have most (if not all) of the equipment I'll need to salvage the drive contents; my roommate has a hard drive enclosure that I can use to troubleshoot the laptop's drive externally. I may need to recover my data recovery software (heh) from an external source, but everything should otherwise be fine when I actually have time to troubleshoot the problem further. This also gives me a legitimate excuse to get myself a new laptop.
Still, this kinda sucks: I implemented a new feature yesterday that I really wanted to show off today, and now I won't be able to do that for a while. If any of you have played both the original and localized versions of Bunny Must Die, you might have an idea of what I'd managed to come up with.
Oh well. It's still too early for work and I can't wake my roommate up this early on a weekend. Time to take a breather, shower, and read a book on my phone. Not much else I can do until I get my hands on that enclosure...