Self-Depreciating Humor.

I’m a big fan of self-depreciating humor. Why? Because it allows one to have a good hardy laugh – but not at the expense of another. You understand the tone and attitude in which the jest is made and since it is about yourself by yourself – you are able to handle it well…meanwhile everyone else gets to enjoy themselves as well.

Tonight I’m going to share one of those humorous stories – or at least I think it is humorous…though it was not so when it occurred to me earlier this evening.

I was working a late shift at Philadelphia Biblical University and performing some standard security patches and software updates. Earlier that day I had removed a chunk of unused space from a database server virtual machine. Everything had continued operating normally and I’d thought nothing of it…

Imagine my surprise when, upon rebooting to complete updates, I received a black screen with those tiny glowing white words, “Operating system could not be found.” These are not the words you desire to see – especially at 8:30 p.m. when you are thinking about going home and relaxing shortly. Visions of long-nights of yesteryear fill your mind.

It is at this moment that the first comical occurrence of the evening occurred. Microsoft decided that on this very night at this very moment it needed to give me an inescapable four minute count-down to reboot my system in order to complete windows updates! COME ON! I happened to be burning a new ISO of Windows Server 2008 EE R2 at that exact time and I watched in desperation as the four minutes chewed away more quickly than Windows was able to burn the new ISO to disc. Yes, at 99% Microsoft overrode my every whim and desire and rebooted the system – if I did need that disc I’d have to burn it all over again!

In any case, after the system came back, I did some googling – but it isn’t all that easy to google some topics. See, the problem is in making Google (or any search engine) understand what you want. For example, I really needed to information about the “Operating system could not be found” message where there was also information about VMWare‘s vSphere and information about deleting unused space. I found a few relevant articles – but none that exactly addressed my issue or provided a resolution.

I booted into Windows Server 2008 EE R2 recovery mode off the ISO and attempted to run a repair – but it didn’t see the drive. Great. I went into the command line just for kicks and giggles and typed in C:. Hmmm…That’s interesting. The C drive is showing all the databases which are not on the C: drive…

It was at this juncture I recognized the next humorous tidbit – VMWare seemed to have arbitrarily reorganized the drive letters. If the drives were supposed to be Drive 1 – C, Drive 2 – D, Drive 3 – E they now here more like Drive 1 – E, Drive 2 – C, Drive 3 – D. No, this doesn’t make sense to me either.[1]

More anxious scrabbling. More googling. I booted into the BIOS and looked at the boot order. Ahh, yes, it was booting off of Drive 3, not Drive 1. I began slowly rotating the drives – each one in turn to be the primary. After a few tries Windows booted without issue.

My evening was redeemed! The moral of this story is that when you do something really stupid with computers – it oftentimes works. When you do something that seems mundane and simple – it oftentimes backfires. Woohoo!

  1. [1]That said, I think there probably is a logical reason, just one that I don’t understand. This didn’t seem like a bug in VMWare’s software, rather like a logical but obscure process that one doesn’t run into except in awkward situations such as this.

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