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Allow Me To Partition You Some Advice…

, , , , , , | Working | March 1, 2018

(I’m a web developer at a small company. I have just returned to work after maternity leave, during which time my computer has been “loaned” to a new employee so that my boss could avoid buying a new machine for him right away. When I boot up my computer I notice a few strange things. First, the limited, non-administrator account I had set up for the new guy to use is gone. Second, the administrator account appears to have been renamed with the name of the new guy, and given a new password. I text my workplace’s group chat to see what’s going on.)

Me: “Hey, what happened to my computer? Really not cool to change the password, because I can’t log in now.”

Coworker #1: “It got repartitioned; I don’t know the details.”

Coworker #2: “It was running out of space, so we had to get rid of the Linux partition.”

(At this point, I’m very confused. My computer never had a Linux partition, although one of my former coworkers did on his computer. And my computer should definitely not have run out of space, as it has two hard drives on it: a smallish SSD that has Windows installed on it, and a huge secondary hard drive for file storage. Finally, a third coworker chimes in with something useful.)

Coworker #3: “Here’s the number for the computer guy who did it.” *gives number*

(I call the guy.)

Computer Guy: “I had to reformat your drive and reinstall Windows on it.”

Me: “What about the second hard drive?”

Computer Guy: “I only detected one drive on the machine.”

Me: “Did you make a backup?”

Computer Guy: “No, I was told not to bother with that.”

Me: “I need you to come in so we can talk data recovery.”

(While I was waiting for the guy to arrive, the coworker who had been using my computer finally arrived and logged me in. When I checked “My Computer” I saw a total of five disks/partitions listed. Cue even more confusion on my part. Finally, the computer guy arrived, and we talked and pieced together what had happened based on the state the computer drives were in. My computer’s SSD had been getting full, because my coworker was saving everything to it instead of to the file storage drive. When he started getting “disk close to full” warnings, he tried to delete some files to free up space… except that he deleted part of Windows, causing the computer to crash. This is why the computer guy was only able to detect one drive; whatever my coworker deleted made the drive undetectable at first glance. So, the computer guy had installed Windows on my file storage drive, overwriting everything on it, with no backup. Because the SSD was more or less untouched, he was able to recover all of my data that was stored there. But I had code and data for three websites on the secondary drive, and that was lost forever, forcing me to download the contents of those three sites again, which took nearly a week. My computer-illiterate coworker was never disciplined for his actions, because my boss is equally computer-illiterate and didn’t really understand what had happened.)

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