mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A friendly reminder to always back your shit up...

Having stumbled on this story (via here) I felt the need to share my own recent hard drive failure story.

My main PC at home is a $200AR midnight madness sale special from CompUSA last year. I have (umm, had) 5 hard drives hookd up to it. 3 of them hold various, umm, movies and TV shows I've downloaded. One of them has music. The fifth one has (umm, had) most of my data on it. It's actually the boot drive from my old PC, which died about six months back (either power supply or motherboard - it was too old for me to bother troubleshooting) - a 200 gig Western Digital that I got for like $25 after rebate from Dell several years ago due to a price mistake (they offered 2 $100 rebates that overlapped) back when 200 gig hard drives were rare and expensive. After my old PC died, I took the drive out and put it in an external case.

I usually keep the video drives off unless I'm watching something, but the music and data drives usually stay on. But since I was going to be away for 5 days, I figured I'd turn them off. When I got back from Thanksgiving, I turned them back on. And I kept hearing that "da-dunk" sound that Windows makes when it detects new hardware. Then I went to open a file off my data drive. And realized it wasn't there.

Then I turned it off and on again, and heard it clicking. Bad sign. So I called up bsom, who has a huge collection of data recovery software, and knows how to use it. So I drove over to his house with a C-MART bag full of old hard drive, plus another external hard drive I had.

Hook up the old hard drive. Nothing. Doesn't even mount. bsom figures it might be the controller in the case, so we open up the other hard drive - and discover it's SATA and the old drive is PATA. So I drive home and grab another external hard drive case. Hook it up, drive shows up fine. Start copying. Eventually it shits the bed. I go home. bsom keeps working on it, and is finally able to recover most of the data, primarily by leaning on the drive itself while reading it (which means it's probably a head failure of some sort).

I'm glad (and grateful) that he was able to recover my data - most of it I could live without, but there are a bunch of pictures, plus the excel spreadsheet that I've been tracking my rebates on since 2002, that I would hate to loose.

So now I'm realizing that I really need some sort of backup solution. I'm debating between just adding another hard drive and using ghost, or going with something fancier, like a NAS of some sort. I could live without the movies and tv shows, but I need the data, and I'd hate to lose the music either.


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