After this backup has been sucked off him, then we can worry about things like troubleshooting and figuring out where the other 622 gigs of hard drive space got hidden and suchlike. And it's not like the most important things were not already backed up. But there's a difference between a scattershot piecemeal backup and a proper one, and oh goodness I am failtech for not having had it fully backed up like it should be from the start and no excuses.
JD came with me to Fry's (Electronics); I got started later than I'd really planned on. We located canned air and dithered over drives; I got the identical drive that JD had; it's served him well for some time. (samurai_ko had a simply horrid experience with one of the same brand, and I found horror stories about a bunch of failures, but the horror stories were firmware-related in a different model, even though they were scarily bricked.) (Related to the chatter on the drive there: when did I become old enough to start serving as an Internet Grown-Up in chatrooms? How did I start to help raise internet children? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was an internet child between the loving pizzas of the List?) (It is now a rite of passage, I suppose -- come onto the internet, start exploring, and hope like hell that the internet culture that you find will be healthy and capable of raising well-adjusted children and will embrace you. Except you don't know that to hope. You don't know what you're looking for until you've suddenly found it and found you've come home.)
There was Checkout Funtimes Theatre, and we headed back for home. I heeded my aunt's advice about 280 vs. 101 at scary times of day, and while I was waiting for JD, I worked out how to activate the alternate route: avoid this part of the route feature. So I asked to avoid 101, got 280, and it was nearly clear sailing except for some apple to mint to grape jelly with a touch of raspberry jam (see: Traffic Conditions As Rated By Actual Jams Conceit) until we hit Colma (a good place to be alive! where all the dead people are!). JD switched Riddle's route guidance off and directed me to a blue and spiky train station. I went home, by way of Trader Joe's (hummus on crisps and blueberries seem to be the food choices of the week).
I deployed my canned air to good use. Madman needed a proper dusting out. I cackled with glee as I used my real potholder mitten to hold the bottle of canned air. No possibly-frostbitten fingers for me! (Geek householding tip: hold in the potholdered hand, work the trigger with a bare hand. They make protective gloves for the express purpose of extreme-temperature household items! It's great!)
It had been fun getting the computer's side panel off. I have a shiny transparent blue acrylic case. It looks badass. It sticks like hell when you try to pry the side off, and there's nothing to grab. Next time I'm breaking out the 2.75mm crochet hook and sticking that through the non-screw hole to pull.
Not all the fans spun right when I blew them. (Madman has four case fans: one front, one rear, two side, in addition to the heat sink fans for the CPU and video card and the fan in the power supply unit.) The fan at the back did not cooperate. Closer inspection showed it was cracked. (It is made of plastic, mostly.) I took the fan apart and got to see some of the inner workings of a brushless sleeve bearing fan.
I decided to put him back together, given that for the first little while he was in service before his last dusting I don't believe the two side fans were even plugged in. And at this point I came to another small problem: plugging in the fans.
Seems somehow the metal bits of the male and female plugs to plug in said fans had gotten whacked out of alignment in some fashion in the process of my unplugging to pull off the side. Argh! I tried some finger prodding and pulling, but there was nothing for it but that I had to pull out the trusty 2.75mm crochet hook and use that as a pointy hard bit to shove the assorted bits of metal back into place. (It was not even 1mm off true, but that is enough to screw things up with those stupid plugs.) Then I couldn't get the side back on because the top was sagging just enough to not let the side snap home under it, which meant unscrewing the top enough so it would lift.
I untangled the plugs while I was at it.
Madman did boot right up and did not argue with me (last known good settings), and I plugged the external drive in with some alacrity, and got it started pulling a full backup. (It's on the C part of the music collection right now: Celtic Confusion, the track that has "Calico and Velvet"; my music collection is mostly duplicated in my folders upon folders of CDs, but it's a bear to re-rip.)
So now I wait. And, I am to hope, sleep.