Toast

Well, we now have no (usable) home computer.  I have offiially put off our OS refresh for too long.T got the blue screen of death, and the computer was no longer bootable, not in safe mode, not in debugging mode.  It made it halfway, then mysteriously shut down.  So I figured the hard drive must be intact, but viruses have interfered with the boot sector too much.  Fortunately, we had another computer laying around, so I slapped the hard drive into that one, and started copying files over.  I copied all of My Documents, I copied T's email archives (my email history has already been entrusted to Gmail).  When I started trying to copy the pictures over, things got hinky, so I rebooted, and POOF, the drive no longer mounts.  I think the drive is toasted.  I haven't burned any raw digital pics to CD for months, probably since before #3 was born, so I'm going to have to find somebody to pay to restore as much of the data on that drive as possible.  On the plus side, our home computer gets to start its life afresh with a new, larger (than 20G), quieter (than a jet engine) hard drive, once I go out and buy one.

Anybody with experience or advice concerning salvaging data from hard drives gone wrong, please drop me a comment! 

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3 Responses

  1. What is the best way to back up my files and avoid the “crash” nightmare that so many experience? I have a dual layer dvd burner…Is that the best way? I sit in the lotus position and await your nuggets of truth.

  2. I can dispense nuggets, but I can’t guarantee whether they are made of truth. Is truth brown?

    But yes, now that CD/DVD-blanks are so cheap, I think that is probably the back-up method of choice. I think I’m lucky to have lived this long in the computer age, and only now have I had do deal with data loss. If I had to go back and do it again, I would adopt a policy of always keeping a partially-burned, still-open-for-more-burning CDROM around for digital pictures every time anything comes off the camera. And since the digital pictures are my most important data, burning a fresh whole-CDROM copy whenever a picture CD fills up. And maybe burning “My Documents” (except for pictures, which comprise 90%+ of the bytes) every few months or so. To manage the glut of CDs that will otherwise become an unwieldy pile in your office, spend $20.99 on a 200-slot (music)-CD binder, and a sharpie.

    Another key for me was moving to Gmail. I uploaded my history of thousands of emails, and now I trust that Gmail backs up my data for me! If your email lives on your computer (for instance, downloaded via POP every day/hour/minute by Outlook Express or Eudora or such), note that it is probably stashed in a location that is not under Your Documents, so you’ll have to make an extra effort to ferret it out and back it up.

  3. […] Anyways, it is fitting also to have an image up there, because the geeky topic of this post is that I got a Perl script working to backup digital photos to gmail. I am motivated to do this because of a hard drive failure, which lost approx 2 years of family photos (the unshrunken digital originals; I still have who are not too evil) to not lose my data. […]

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