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The Clutter Diet Blog: Sudden Hard Drive Crash!

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September 01, 2007

Sudden Hard Drive Crash!

Laptop2They say it's not "if" your hard drive will crash, it's "when."  I am living proof that you should be prepared for this at any time!  Today I was working happily on my notebook computer, the new one I just bought in March.  It froze up while I was working, and I thought a simple reboot would fix things.  Upon rebooting, the hard drive was not readable.  I did some diagnostics tests, and sure enough, it was completely gone. 

I have always thought that you would have a little warning when a hard drive was going out-- things would be slower, sluggish, acting strange.  But this was here one second, gone the next! 

I am trying hard not to come unglued about this, so it helps me to note that there are several things to be grateful for about this experience:

  1. I am SO GLAD I had everything backed up.  I use Carbonite, which is really inexpensive ($50 per year, unlimited storage) and backs up almost in real time while you are working.  The only data I lost was the newest information I had added to documents I was working on during the crash.  Everything else is all there.  Whew!  I am very impressed with Carbonite. What is your backup status?
  2. I still have my old laptop and it works.  I am using it right now.  Do you have a machine accessible for you to use in case of emergencies? 
  3. I am now able to take this opportunity to downgrade back to Windows XP.  I was very disappointed with Vista.  My advice is that if you buy a new PC, get one with the power and capability of running Vista, but just get XP loaded on it.  Then someday when Vista is more palatable, you can upgrade to it. 
  4. I am still under warranty for the hardware!  I do believe in buying extended warranties for computers.  I was under a year in this case, but I have always been so glad to have 3-year coverage on other machines.  Do you know if your computer is covered?
  5. I had all of my passwords preserved in SplashID, which was also backed up.  Also, I had my important Carbonite password written down in a safe place on paper.  Take a moment today to note if all of your passwords and account information would be quickly available to you in this type of situation.  It's a very good idea to have a printout of the most important ones if you use an electronic password keeper.

Take heed, my friends!  This could happen to you!  Are you prepared?

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Comments

Now you need an offsite backup in case your house get burglarized. That saved me about 6 years ago. I keep a current one at my house and every few weeks I swap the hard drive with one at my parents.

I must be retarded. I keep my passwords list in a word document on my desktop. You've made me at least make a copy and move it to somewhere else.

But I like the tip for the off-site store.

In reality Laurie, maybe you just crashed your computer because you type too fast?????? Ha ha!

- John

I use a mirrored hard disk arrangement that Dell calls "DataSafe". Two hard drives each hold a copy of your data, protecting you against loss of either hard disk. Saved me once already. I don't think it is available for laptops.

If you don't buy Dell, get a computer with RAID on the motherboard and buy two identical disks. With the management software from the chip vendor (usually Intel) you can set everything up on one drive as you normally would and then tell the RAID manager to use the other disk as a mirror.

Off-site, I use MozyHome to backup my documents, profiles, music, etc. for five dollars per month.

Similar to Kent, I use a mirrored array for my secondary hard drive and it's already proved useful. I also use MozyHome, which is excellent - I wrote my setup on my blog.

http://www.thedaytoday.com/2007/09/12/remote-backups/

I had a hard disk crash last year. I sympathize with you; it's never a fun experience. I notice you didn't mention a brand name for your 'top; would it be a Dell, by any chance? Mine was, and the disk crashed just a couple months out of the three-year warranty.

Laurie,

I'm the CEO of Carbonite and delighted that Carbonite saved the day. There was a much published survey from Carnegie Mellon Univ recently that showed that as many as 13% of all hard drives fail each year, far higher than manufacturers claim. So you're not alone. Since launching our backup service we've restored over 100 million files. People have no idea how common this problem is.
Regards,
Dave Friend, CEO
Carbonite, Inc.
Carbonite Online Backup

I use Mozy and it's saved my bacon once in the last year alone, so it's worth it.

If you are using a desktop machine there is always RAID 1. Buy two HD's not just one. Use your onboard RAID or buy a controller (cheap ones under 50$). If one HD fails buy a new one. Thats it.

I feel you on this one! I’ve had more than just a few hard drives crash on me, and quite unexpectedly too! I know that everyone loses a hard drive from time to time but I seem to be one of those people who have bad luck with computer storage devices in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular hard drive or a back up tape drive, I seem to lose them.

It’s easy to let your guard down and “forget” to put your important data on some backup media, and we’ve all been taken by surprise by drive failures. I normally do get the signs you where expecting to see like sluggish performance, jittery media, and that loud scratchy sound I’ve gotten with some of mine…all signs of doom! After my last enclosure failed I tried switching name brands and now use both Toshiba and Seagate and things have been much better but I’ve learned my lesson! I back things up twice a week now without fail.

I had RAID and never even bothered to backup my files. As I never expected that it would happen, a virus wiped all the data on both of my hard drives. I had to pay for not having baking up the data, by recovering my data from Disk Doctors RAID Recovery Services. Thanks to the recovery guys for helping me get back my data. However, this experience has changed my entire view on backups I used to think they were unneeded for RAID.

http://www.diskdoctors.com/raid-recovery.asp

Great reading all the comments about backup. I must confess I recently lost a whole bunch of work and was only able to retrieve my documents from October 2007, so everything else since then has gone. I didn't have anything else backed up....horrific I know.

So I have recently purchased a PATA/100 Barracuda 3.5 internatl Hard Drive upgrade kit (320 gigs). I'm bidding on ebay for the case (a neighbor told me it was cheaper to do it that way) - I'm not that computer literate. Are you suggesting that you should also use an online backup service as well as having a portable one at home?
Thanks

Vista is a fantastic OS. Some people are too habitual to change or perhaps don't like the new menus which change where functions in XP were located. Also some people buy Vista believing that it will run great on their XP machine, however, Vista requires a lot of resources, and on a powerful machine Vista runs amazingly quick. I'm not a microsoft fan boy because I use linux and mac ,but I keep a virtual machine for windows and a laptop with Vista and when it works, it works great.

Hi Jim,

I agree that Vista has improved. This post was written over one year ago, and at that time, it did not work for me. I am open to Vista in the future now that it's been "vetted" and updated. My laptop is built for Vista and it just wasn't ready for prime time when it was running on there.

Thanks for the comment!
- Lorie

We found the Tecra R10 comfortable to use while on your lap, although one slight niggle is that the keyboard is offset slightly to one side by a thin strip holding the power switch and two buttons for Toshiba Assist and presentation mode, instead of positioned centrally. The keyboard is otherwise comfortable for typing on, with full-sized keys, except for the function keys and arrow (cursor) keys.

Most RAID configurations will suffer a mechanical fault at some point in its life. Most people get themselves in to a bother when they don't back up.

http://www.mvidatarecovery.com/raid-data-recovery.aspx

It's a very good idea to have a printout of the most important ones if you use an electronic password keeper.

Ohh, my god!!! I can imaging that suddenly the hard drive crash, I usually save my own information. but one in a while i forgot. I should be prepared!!


I had all my information backed up on an external hard drive, but the funny thing is that when I plug it in to any computer now, the external hard drive is not recognized either. It appears I have very bad luck, but I am hoping somebody might know of some way that I can recover my data off one of the 2 drives.

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