In the aftermath of one of many hard disk crashes, I was determined to fix a problem that has long beset me. I had installed the then-cutting-edge-and-just-released MS Visual Studio 2005 on hard drive "F:". Well, drive "F:" bit the dust one fine day, and to make things worse, it was the entire hard drive which showed failure, and both drives E: and F: were housed on this single mortally wounded Fuji 36GB SCSI hard drive.
All this happening to my beloved development box (Dell PowerEdge 400SC). Eventually it was proven that the disk had not really failed; for some reason, the controller had failed to support the second disk. The first drive, C:, on a different physical hard drive, worked fine. So all this put a crimp in my efforts to replace the "failed" drive with another, working SCSI disk.
In other hardware puzzlings and in reviewing the official Dell technical specs for my two PowerEdge servers (400SC and 1600SC), I noted with surprise and growing delight that the slightly newer 400SC supported SATA natively, via a connector directly on the motherboard. Working with Acronis TrueImage (hard drive backup & restore and general disk utility software -- very good -- about $75 at Office Depot), and applying assiduous and diligent study to the science of hard drives, their mechanisms and physical characteristics (out of interest), SATA vs. SCSI benchmarks and reviews (Tom's Hardware), logical and extended partitions under Windows, boot and primary partitions, and backup and restore software, I managed to recreate and relocate the entire system image onto a single, newer, faster SATA 320GB Seagate Barracuda ES drive, their "enterprise extra-duty" version. (At $99 on NewEgg.com, this was a great deal.)
A side note of surprise on this migration to SATA: I was moving from a solid server-class Fuji MAP3367NP SCSI drive on a LSI Logic controller (the one that failed) to this Seagate Barracuda. It used to take the computer a good while to boot up; part of this, it's true, was the action of the SCSI controller interrogating the SCSI bus for devices (about 10 seconds alone). I would ballpark the total boot time at around 35 to 40 seconds. But with the new SATA drive, the boot and restore-from-hibernation is breathtaking: it's easily less than fifteen seconds from machine being off to booted and at the Windows Server 2003 login screen. Hibernation is equally inspiring, taking around 10 seconds to snapshot everything running to disk and shut down.
But I digress... I had vowed that tonight would be the night that I restored Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, which had been installed on the now-absent F: drive. It currently wouldn't run, and it wouldn't uninstall or repair -- I got an error about a program file directory that didn't exist -- so I was stuck. A few Googles later, I found a Microsoft article explaining how to do it, and though relatively tedious, was also straightforward, took about 15 minutes, and did the job.
How to Remove Visual Studio 2005