I was attempting to get my “new” old laptop to a usable point. It’s a P3-500 with 64MB of PC100 RAM and a 6GB hard drive.
Although the specs say 256MB is the memory max, I got it up to 384 (It couldn’t handle 512). When attempting to upgrade the hard drive to a 20GB spare I had around, however, I managed to somehow rip the 1.5″ IDE cable.
The problem wasn’t apparent until I was unable to format the new disk, and when regressing to the old disk, the same problems happened. But it took a disk utility I found at the IBM/Hitachi site to tell me that the cable was the problem, and I wasn’t just somehow destroying disks.
Unfortunately, a replacement for this 1.5″ cable runs $25 at the cheapest parts site I could find, and up to $50 at others. Tack on $10 shipping and that’s a fairly expensive mistake.
Oh well. Guess I should sleep more before next time I attempt computer maintenance.
Fortunately Gentoo’s brand-new X-enabled LiveCD saved the day. I was able to work without a functional hard drive by using that and ssh-ing to the Pegasos, my temporary workstation.