I cursed myself a fool for working from the faltering primary drive and booted over to the secondary drive, where all was still well.
Except that I couldn't get my email working.
My XP FPP OS is installed on a 12 GB partition (H:) on my 80 GB secondary drive. I started by offloading all extraneous data from H: to the external drive in order to make some room, then began to copy files from the 'sluggish' partition to H:. The first few made it without issue; it was all going very well. Too
I sat there for a minute in stunned silence, gathering my resolve. And then it was on
. I broke out the Ubuntu Linux Live CD that I'd made following a previous adventure
and booted it up. My HDDs were all recognized and we were off to the races. I copied entire folders from the primary to the external drive without a hitch, including my 6+ GB unsorted Arcade ROMs folder. A couple of times Ubuntu seemed to hang while copying files from the sluggish G: partition, but I gave it plenty of time to finish the transfers and after a reboot it appeared that they had made it intact.
Now serious business, the salvage operation continued late into the evening until, with about 80% of the task completed, I had to get some sleep. After booting back into Windows I still
couldn't get my email working, but did get a download started and finally called it a night.
I wanted to try recovering my boot partition from a disk image to see if the problem might just be a corrupted operating system, but had made the mistake of saving a lot of files there so the only thing to do was continue offloading data to the external drive, now with an emphasis on clearing the C: boot partition.
It wasn't easy going, and eventually I resorted to copying larger files one-at-a-time to minimize errors. But inevitably the IDE bus would drop down to PIO mode and I'd have to delete the drivers and reboot > detect hardware > reboot, interspersed with generous portions of chkdsk.
To break up the monotony I triaged the other partitions for my most vital files
. When I got to the partition (G:) that had contained the aforementioned 'sluggish' files, things took a turn for the much worse. Now the entire partition was acting sluggish, and accessing any files on it woulddd HHHAAAANNNGG