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Drive Failure [Aug. 20th, 2011|08:14 pm]
I am currently fighting a hard drive failure on my laptop. JOY.

It started off with a reboot where checkdisk wanted to run, and started saying "whoa, corruption going on. Here, let me fix it." Which is fine, except that it turns out that checkdisk is incapable of actually doing its file recovery thing unless you have something like 20% of your total disk space free. Argh.

So I aborted that and immediately backed up all of my personal files to an external drive. (And of course I don't have a recent backup, are you kidding? I know how important it is, but I just do not have my life organized enough to make that happen on a regular basis.) While it was going, I wrote down every file that it wasn't able to copy. So now I know what needs to be recovered.

At the moment, I'm running a file recovery program to back up all the lost files to the external hard drive. I'm using recovermyfiles, which works well and is totally worth paying actual money for. However, it successfully finds a LOT of files and it takes it a LONG time to scan the hard drive fully, since I'm not just looking for files that were deleted but not over-written but ones that were actually lost by the filesystem. So it's a bit... tedious.

Once this step is finished, I should have basically everything that I care about rescued and backed up. And I'm not too worried about the drive going completely tits-up before I get to that point, but if it does, well, it's not too terrible. So this is not so much a freaking-out class event as a protracted and all-encompassing annoyance. (Seriously, I hadn't realized how much I've started doing on the computer until the computer was brokenified.)

My current plan is to just buy a replacement hard drive and swap it out, since the rest of the laptop is as functional as it's ever been. (Which is to say, fine, except for the spazzy USB connection on the webcam.) I just have to figure out how to image the failing disk onto the external drive and then onto the blank new drive after it's installed, which I think is mostly a matter of making a bootable DVD, but then things should be back Just How They Were Before.

I have to say, though, that this is not how I wanted to spend a double handful of evenings.

[User Picture]From: goobermunch
2011-08-21 04:05 pm (UTC)
Retreat to the ship and nuke it from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Personally, I am always a bit leery of backing up a corrupted/failing drive. You never really know how much corruption is going to cross over with your good stuff. I'd grab all the important data (music, writings, save games) and do a whole new install for the new drive. I realize that's entirely inconsistent with the idea of doing regular backups, but it also helps to prune back all those programs I haven't used insolvent long that cannot even recall what they are. YMMV.

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[User Picture]From: boat_of_car
2011-08-25 05:12 pm (UTC)
Agreed- it's usually best not to trust data that's been involuntarily munged by a disk failure- but its better than nothing. And grabbing an image from a corrupt drive to lay back down on a new one is for sure a risky proposition and will most likely lead to more headaches down the road ( and can even cause the new drive to prematurely fail)
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[User Picture]From: bats22
2011-08-22 12:54 pm (UTC)
Ugh... that's all super annoying. :(

FWIW, my approach to backups is a network attached storage (NAS) drive, and using SyncToy for my files (assuming you're running a Windows box). I think that a NAS is key--eliminating the need to physically take out and hook up an external drive is huge for lowering the activation energy for doing backups--so it ends up happening more often.

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[User Picture]From: boat_of_car
2011-08-25 05:08 pm (UTC)
ditto nas/synchtoy or some such for Windoze: ( you can also just script a copy job and run it in scheduled tasks- but synchtoy is more friendly). For *nix, I'm sure you already know about rsync...

having just come from supporting enterprise storage, I am constantly amazed at the number of folks who don't think about backups or disaster recovery at all- even people whose JOB is to do just that: so you're not alone.
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