A Tinker’s Tale

I’ve taken a break from writing these past ten days to attend to infrastructure tasks — computer maintenance, Internet service provider wrangling, a lighting project in the kitchen, a round of watch battery replacements …

Linda and I have a pair of identical 4-year-old Lenovo all-in-one computers that have become unbearably slow for reasons I might be able to diagnose if I was willing to invest a couple hundred hours, which I’m not.

Far better to replace mechanical disk drives with SSD devices, a cheap and fast way to breathe new life into sluggish hardware if said SSD installs trouble-free.

You might say, “John, why don’t you just buy new computers?” Well, then I’d be faced with reinstallation of licensed software in both machines, none of which will migrate. License keys will be unrecognized on the new machines, vendors will decline to refresh keys, I’ll be forced to buy products again, some of the products will only be available as cloud subscriptions …

Lots of reasons not to go there.

The computers are Lenovo Ideacentre 520S-23IKU. I went with the top-rated Samsung 870 EVO SSD. Samsung offers a migration solution that clones your boot drive to the SSD across a USB to SATA adapter cable. Easy-peasy.

The 2.5” form factor SSD fits neatly in the mechanical drive’s cradle, plugs right in, computer boots up without incident, starts in about 30 seconds, and walla — Task Manager reveals that disk utilization (the former bottleneck) is no longer an issue.

At the cost of reliability. Now the machine occasionally boots to the message “No operating system”, or it blue-screens after waking from sleep mode. Not a lot, not every time, but enough to make me wonder when the other shoe will drop.

If the Internet is to be believed, this is not a common outcome. I found only a couple of similar tales, one of which was carefully documented, leading to a solution I can live with — send it back and buy a Crucial MX500 drive.

But crap, I was ready to be done with that task and move on. Sigh.

While I wait for the Crucial drives to get here, it will be my pleasure to sit through at least one more call with Sprint over the matter of how I’ll get Internet service after they finish locking all their customers out of their CDMA network. I think I already know the answer – Starlink.

Are you struggling with technology today? Moan about it in the comments.

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