Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Hard drive hard luck

My desktop hard drive is dead, bricked, hosed, fucked.dead_hard_drive1

I got a DOS message to back up my files when I tried to start the computer just before my departure for  Indiana last Friday morning, so I had the whole weekend to let it weigh upon my mind.

I came home with the plan to buy a new 1 or 2 TB drive and use Acronis software to clone the old drive. When I got to Best Buy yesterday morning to scope out the hard drives, I called my computer mentor Tim Balough to get his thoughts on drives and strategies. Tim advised against cloning, warning that a cloned drive would likely have the same corrupt data that created this crisis.

So I went home without buying a drive, wiped a 500GB drive I had a bunch of junk on, and put it and the ailing drive into a dual-drive stand-alone mount, connected to Maria’s desktop computer. I was able to see the sick drive and its contents and figured the first thing I would rescue was my iTunes library.

But when I clicked on it, I got a Windows message saying I didn’t have permission to access that folder and would I like permission? Yes. I clicked OK and waited several minutes for the progress indicator to crawl to completion. But when it did, my old drive crashed completely and went invisible to Maria’s computer.

As a last-ditch effort, I put it back into its original case and tried to run SpinRite on it. But SpinRite reported it as an empty drive. Crap.

Now I’m back to buying a new hard drive and reloading my Windows 7 64-bit OS and all of my programs. I still have the hard drive from my previous computer, so my older documents are still there. I’ve only lost what I created in the two years I had this computer. Happily, I archived our tax returns and a lot of other crucial stuff on Google Docs and an external hard drive, so it’s not quite as bad as it could be.

In the meantime, I’m relying on my netbook to stay connected.

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