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True IT blooper #27

The boss doesn't always know best, but pointing that out can get you into trouble! Many of us follow the boss's orders and duck while awaiting the inevitable disaster.

Neither your father, nor your boss, always knows best. Trouble is, the consequences of telling either one that can be harsh. So, many of us -- including the IT professional in this "true IT blooper" -- follow the boss's orders and duck and cover waiting for the inevitable disaster.

Each story in our IT bloopers series comes directly from a searchWindowsManageability user. Paul Ressler, a technical support analyst for a major publisher, submitted this tale of a misinformed network administrator. He is no longer working for the companies described below.

At one point in his career, Ressler did custom server designs for a large mail order company. Each of the company's Novell servers was built with a small, 10-megabyte DOS partition and multiple OS/data partitions. The firm's technical support experts told Ressler that the boot partition should be a discreet partition, while operating systems, data and programs should have their own discreet partitions. Setting up partitions in this manner would make it easier to handle disaster recovery/restore efforts and would segregate user data from the OS itself.

With this advice in mind, Ressler used Partition Magic 3.5 to set up the initial partitions and kept the system area partition separate from the programs and/or data area/partition.

A few years later, as a network support specialist, Ressler was in charge of setting up a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 server. "My network administrator insisted that there was no need to keep system and program data on separate partitions and that I re-combine the partitions on this 95% configured server," Ressler recalled.

Although Ressler strongly disagreed with his administrator's directions, he followed them, largely because the deadline was looming. Once again, he used Partition Magic. "The already-partitioned drive, set up per my previous experience with Netware, was reconfigured by combining the partitions using Partition Magic," he said.

You know what's coming next. A disaster happened. Because the server's boot partition was not set up as a discreet partition, the recovery/restore process was horrible. "No defragmentation program would efficiently defragment the HDD in question," he said.

After Ressler left the company, he heard that the response of this server was so poor, due to the partitioning issue, "that it was eventually stripped and re-worked from the ground up."

As a result of this experience, Ressler has vowed to "bite the bullet, so to speak, and wipe the HDD(s) or array and start over from scratch if the situation ever arose again. There may be other ways to repartition drives/arrays on the fly, such as growing the partition through Win2000's Disk Management snap-in; but the experience has made me very wary of this!"

Ressler concluded the story with this moral: "If you need to play with the partitions on your disk, consider formatting and re-installing, or restoring information/system to clean hardware."


Here is a full listing of our true IT bloopers

Share your bloopers with us. Your IT mistakes might help out a peer. E-mail

What are the weakest links in corporate IT messaging systems? In a searchWindowsManageability survey, IT pros finger the guilty parties and products.

Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at, part of the TechTarget network.

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