Ted, who owns our local BBQ place, has been nice enough to come over and help us fix the fence so that Ruby stays in the yard. This is good, because Ted is much better with fences than I am.
Today, I returned the favor. I dropped Katie off at softball practice and went over to his store for breakfast carrying a spare DVD drive and a copy of Clonezilla. See, Ted's Point of Sale touch screen terminal runs off software on a six-year-old Dell computer that's running Windows XP. I am reasonably confident that -- should the hard drive on that machine decide to go out to lunch, so to speak -- that will be the end of the Point of Sale system.
But if you make an image of the drive...
Of course, the DVD drive that came with the system was broken, but I had a spare lying around from when I'd upgraded to Blu-Ray. Ted was out taking care of his mother, but his son, Chris, was there and was fascinated by the whole process. So I shut down the computer and hauled it out into the dining room where there was room to work, had some breakfast, and popped it open and swapped out the DVD drive. While doing this, I discovered that when Ted had installed the replacement power supply a month or so ago (you start to see why I worry about this computer), he had installed it upside down with no screws. I turned it over, Chris found the bag of screws, and I secured the power supply in the right orientation.
Once I had everything back together, I hooked things back up in the office, booted into the BIOS, and told the system that it should look at the DVD drive first in the boot cycle. This allowed it to happily boot up Clonezilla. Shortly thereafter, a drive image was being written to the USB hard drive that Chris had brought in for the purpose.
I went off to pick up Katie from softball practice. When I checked in later, the backup had completed and the Point of Sale system was up and running again.
And there was much rejoicing.
And a backup. :)