Sunday, October 16, 2005

Do as I say...

... not as I do.

One of the classes I teach at the local community college is computer repair. I preach constantly about the importance of backing up data and maintaining a frequent system upkeep schedule. Today, I finally paid for not practicing what I preach.

The last time I backed up my data was July 2004. Yeah. Over a year ago.

Last Christmas (10 months ago or so), I upgraded my computer from an Athlon XP 2200 to the Athlon 64-bit 3500+. I added a gig of Corsair XMS dual channel DDR400 ram, a brand new 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax hard drive, and a new CD burner. I added extra fans, and a neon light, and did it up sweet.

Shortly thereafter, I started having hard disk problems. Turns out, my power supply couldn't handle the neon light and extra fans. I unplugged them, and the problems stopped - and I was able to retrieve my data from the drive.

That incident was the 2nd time in 3 years that I'd had some sort of system crash but was able to recover my data. You'd think I'd have seen how lucky I was and started backing up.

I've intended for years to go buy a copy of Norton Ghost. It's an awesome product - I used it years ago at a computer shop I used to work at. But, it's $70. I always backed down at the last minute and avoided buying it. Too expensive.

Another thing I've been procrastinating is buying a new power supply. I thought I had a 400 watt PS in my system, and I figured after disabling the extras in my case, that was fine for a while - until I had some spare cash for a new PS. It never made it high on my priority list.

Last night, everything came full circle. I'd unplugged my computer to work on my cousin's system (which went just fine - though included ANOTHER failed Maxtor hard drive, the 6th I've owned, encountered, or heard of in the last 4 years). I went to plug my system back in, and as I plugged the power plug into the back of the power supply, something surged. The system was turned off, but power surged through it, lighting the power LED and whirring the fans momentarily before cutting out. I thought, "That was weird."

Sure was. My hard drive never came up after that - just repeated a loud clicking noise and hung the system.

You never want to hear a hard drive click. Not like that.

I lost everything - couldn't even boot the drive as a slave on another working system. It just clicks and hangs. I have so much data that was of vital importance that I hadn't backed up.

I am an idiot.

My last resort is the old freezer trick. My dead drive is in my freezer as we speak. I'll remove it from its icy home tomorrow and try booting it one last time in its frozen state. The trick worked once for me. I don't expect to have any luck with it this time around, due to the degree to which the thing sounds to be toasted. But I am praying.

Literally.

Right now, as I type, I'm on disk 9 of who-knows-how-many of a Ghost hard drive backup. I reinstalled Windows and most of my software. And now, I Ghost.

Wish me luck....

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