a while back — a year and a half ago, or thereabouts — i decided that i was going to make a separate directory, on an external hard disk, that contained all of my essential data, data that i had created, so that when i upgraded my system, i wouldn’t face the potential of losing everything when a system upgrade didn’t go the way it was supposed to… and, the last time i did a major upgrade of my system, it worked exactly the way i expected it to work, and i was very happy.

basically, instead of my “home” directory being at /home/salamandir on the primary hard disk of the computer, i had a home directory at /media/home/salamandir and everything was fine, i just had to remember to change directories when i was downloading something, because i knew (from first-hand experience) that if i forgot, and downloaded to /home/salamandir/Downloads i would have difficulty finding the data afterwards.

so i did the intermediary system upgrades on my linux box, yesterday. it wasn’t a full upgrade, but there were some more things than normal, and it “hung up” when it got to the point where it asked me if i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, or if i wanted to download a new configuration file, but when i answered that i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, the installation procedure proceded as normal.

then i rebooted my computer, because i like to do that, to make sure there aren’t any delayed configurations, or things that don’t get installed at reboot that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and that’s where the problems started.

i rebooted, and the first thing i noticed was that the external disks, including the 3TB disk that i have partitioned into a “home” and a “backup” partition, weren’t mounting the way they were supposed to. i didn’t notice this until later, but the reason why the “home” and “backup” partitions weren’t mounting correctly was because, for some (as yet unknown) reason, they had been converted from /media/home and /media/backup to /media/salamandir/home and /media/salamandir/backup

what this meant in the short run is that it couldn’t find the directory that contains my wallpaper graphics, and my “dropbox” folder was “moved” from where it was supposed to be.

this would have been an entirely different problem if i had noticed that immediately, but as it is, i tried to re-establish my directories where they should be, and succeeded only in overwriting (or something, i still don’t know what) the directory in /media/salamandir/home/salamandir — which is where ALL my data from the LAST time this happened, now lives… because i was under the impression that if i kept my data on an external hard drive, that it would be safe from random deletion and/or disasters… like this one is turning out to be.

/media/salamandir/backup (which contains backups of my “real” home directory: i.e. configuration files and nothing else) is still intact, /media/salamandir/home/salamandir-new (a directory i created when i was still trying to deal with the loss of data the last time) is still intact, but /media/salamandir/home/salamandir is NOT intact… which includes all of the printing clients that i have worked for in the past year-and-a-half, ALL of my genealogy data, a huge pile of my (irreplaceable) music files, and who knows what else.

the only good part about this whole thing is that i BELIEVE all of the data is still there: usually it takes a while for the computer to actually delete a couple of gigabytes of information (which /media/salamandir/home/salamandir certainly is), and it didn’t actually do anything that seems like actual deleting, so what i suspect is that i just overwrote the file that tells the computer where everything is, and if i could just replace that, everything would be cool…

but, so far, i haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. 😐

the last time this happened, my computer was down for 5 days, and it was only because of the fact that i was willing to let go of a whole bunch of my data that things eventually made their way back to “normal” again. i’m pretty sure i DON’T want to go through that again. 😐

i think it’s time for me to take a break from my computer for a few weeks… possibly longer… 😐