It Started With a Hard Drive Failure, and Went Downhill from There

News from the NestOne of the inevitabilities of life is that your hard drive may eventually die. Yesterday evening, one of mine passed, quietly, and among friends.

Fortunately, I have backups and a couple of other computers to use. Unfortunately, I have to set them up to do all the stuff I do, while I wait for the new hard drive to get here.

So for the next few days, I’ll be pulling together backups, recovered files (thanks to the Ultimate Boot CD and a Knoppix live CD), and installing applications.

Just another reminder how important backups are. Things could have been much worse.

Categorized as News


  1. And it always happens when you least expect it! Thank goodness for back ups. Hope everything is back to normal soon.

  2. Glad you had backups!

    One of the best things I’ve done in this area is move most of my life online… email on Gmail, bookmarks on, calendar on Google Calendar, to do lists on 8apps, etc. It’s saved me with computer crashes, and also just day-to-day as I switch between my Mac and my PC.

  3. Char – That’s true. That “click and whine” hard drive death sound is all too familiar.

    Anthony – I was able to recover almost everything using the UBCD and Knoppix. Awesome tools. You should check them out.

    Sarah – I agree. I had email through GMail and my schedule in Google calendar, so that was nice. Also, since Firefox and T-Bird are so easy to move, I just dropped a backup of my profile folders onto another computer and I was up and running in minutes.

  4. Happy day, after all, Tony. Even though you’re not working on your computer of choice, you’re still able to work.

    Thanks for the backup reminder as well as the info on Ultimate Boot and Knoppix; I’ll be looking into them to see if my dead one will release the files in it.

  5. I’m glad you’re able to get most things recovered, Tony.

    Portable applications that run off a memory stick have become a must have in my life. Except for programming, the computer I happen to be using has been relegated to providing an OS and space to back up my data.

  6. Backups, the quiet lifesaver 😉

    I run a RAID setup now, but have always had offsite and in-house backups of all my critical data 🙂

  7. Don’t forget to keep backup copies on another site – just in case of fire, flood or theft – let’s hope none of those ever happen. But just in case, all my files are automatically backed up every evening to my son’s server in another city!

  8. Thanks everyone. The new hard drive is here, and today I get to partition and install.

    It’s a pain, but it’s also cool to have a bigger drive, and to start fresh.

    I dual boot WinXP and Ubuntu, so my geek-streak is looking forward to playing around with a new confugration.

  9. I’ve run a RAID setup in a personal system in the past but it still puts you at risk if an electrical problem fries your system, for example. Since then, I’ve leaned toward external hard drive solutions for backup. I currently use a large drive in a USB enclosure which can be easily taken offline or moved elsewhere in a pinch.

  10. Robert – I’m with you on the external hard drives. I have 3, and one that is kept in a fire-proof safe. Probably overkill, but it helps me feel more comfortable 🙂

    Carolyn – The new drive is in and I’m slowly getting everything loaded. I wanted to start clean, so I’m partitioning and reinstalling WinXP and Ubuntu from scratch. It’s more work, but much cleaner and it will perform better.

  11. Tony – three externals is probably a bit much for me but I understand your precaution. Its one of the downsides of having our lives exist in digital format. One small issue and you lose countless hours of work. It’s amazing how little most people think of backup.

  12. I’ve had my harddrive fail on me .. and I lost like 4 months worth of stuff.. I was soo mad. One day I turned on my computer and it said it couldn’t find my hard drive.. I reset it a bunch of times hoping it was a mistake.. it was the most horrible feeling ever.. I always try and backup regularly

    I don’t wish a harddrive failure on anyone! 🙁

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