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Thread: Had Any Bad Experiences Losing Data From Hard Drive Failure?

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    Andy101's Avatar
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    Had Any Bad Experiences Losing Data From Hard Drive Failure?

    My elderly uncle lost his autobiography just before his death. It would have been an interesting read since he was a deputy commandant at a police academy, and he was a very interesting character. But alas, due to computer hardware failure and no backup, it was zapped. Years of work gone in a flash.

    I've lost some things myself, mainly due to not having a good system for backup and restore in place.

    And, in a company I worked for, they backed up so much data to tape, that they couldn't find the needle in the haystack when asked to restore something.

    Now it seems to be easy to use Windows Backup, but I haven't tried to restore anything.

    So what are your experiences/tales of backup and restore?

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    Windows backup sucks, truely. Win 7 has a sort of backup but even if you backup a whole used system (to DVD-R's) the restore only puts it back to factory default. It saves most of the data but you have to start from scratch, been there done that. A damn nuisance tbh. Win XP?? forget it! You have to install it from scratch then any backups made fail to restore giving errors, a waste of time.

    My solution is to use Acronis True Image, an absolute godsend and worth every penny. You can back up a whole complete system to a usb disk as a file or clone the drive for direct replacement and every thing is restorted as it was with no loss of data, it's like it never happened. I've only got the XP version (version 8, an old one) and it doesn't work on Win 7 but I'm sure newer versions would. I used to use Norton Ghost in the past, again very good but you need a boot floppy to restore, and I for one don't have a floppy drive anymore.

    As for failed disks the only real option is to put it in a drive caddy and try and read it from a good system, you have to do some sys admin permissions stuff for XP onwards (google it) but they can be read if they're intact and spin up.

    Everybody should have a backup (but you know this now ), disaster can and will strike so don't wait 'til you need one before you do it. How valuable is your data! I've always make a point of doing backups and have lost stuff in the past, but luckily only a months worth (I do monthly backups), it pays to be careful.
    If I can't be a good example, I'll just have to be a terrible warning...

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    I use Western Digital external hard drives and do monthly backups of all of our PCs and internal servers. We also use USB drives to make quick backups of critical data. I have lost data from hard drive crashes and learned the hard way to do backups.

    I think I am going to migrate to a centralized file storage system using Linux and Samba that will make it easier to do regular backups. I'm using Samba right now and it works very well for file storage.

    Backing up to tape is archaic and is only effective if you need to restore an entire hard drive.

    Andy, if you still have your uncle's hard drive, there are several services that claim to be able to recover data from crashed hard drives. If a bearing or something electronic fails, the data is still accessible. From what I understand, those are the most common failures. If your family tossed the hard drive, that was probably a mistake.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Andy, if you still have your uncle's hard drive, there are several services that claim to be able to recover data from crashed hard drives. If a bearing or something electronic fails, the data is still accessible. From what I understand, those are the most common failures. If your family tossed the hard drive, that was probably a mistake.
    Unfortunately I was on the other side of the world when it happened, so it's hard to do even the most basic IT admin. Like now my parents miss the internet because my brother who shares the home cannot set up their laptop for the wireless network, cannot Google for a tutorial as I suggested, ask a friend for help etc. I pay for internet-based calls back home to a telephone, even though there is a laptop and wireless internet in the home. An addition to the frustrations of living in a foreign land.

    btw. my latest coding project is a simple backup solution, this is the first coding project that my son (Darkcoder) has not poo-pooed - so it must be good!

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    Had years of spare hours into genealogy research that became inaccessible when a hard drive went down. It was years ago and I had copies of it on non-indexed files hidden on two websites, but I'd just shut gotten rid of that account when that hard drive died. I saved the hard drive cause I figured like TD said up there, it's still there, just not easily accessed. I've purchased a real backup system since then.
    -- Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. --

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    Back in the 1980s when everyone was using 5.25 inch floppy disks, I was in charge of Tech Support at the company where I worked. One day one of the marketing gals called us and said that her floppy disk stopped working. She said she had six months worth of spreadsheets on the disk--and no backup. When I stopped at her desk, I saw the floppy leaning up against her telephone. I asked her if she often leaned it against the phone, and her response was, "Yes." I asked her if the phone rang just before the floppy stopped working, and once again her response was, "Yes." I checked it with Norton Untilities and everything else that we had and that disk was wiped clean by the magnetic field from the phone. When I told her that the data was completely lost, she busted out bawling and accused us of refusing to help her. There wasn't anything we could do about that one.

    Many people only start doing backups after learning the hard way.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Ouch. Yeah... I got called in by the VP of a real estate company to ask if i could help him figure out what was wrong with one of the PCs they used for patching in to the multiple listing system. It was after we came off dumb terminals but before everyone had PCs, much less laptops and tablets of their own.

    Walked in to see it. Flat unit, before they all went to towers. Somebody had a telephone sitting on top of the CPU. Funny what those little magnets can do.
    -- Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. --

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    I remember the days of having to park the hard drive heads before moving a PC. And repairing the FAT if I accidentally knocked a hard drive.

    I think that one of the data recovery programs was by Peter Norton, and I recall the readme.txt file where he said he would be a big name one day, and I was thinking "yeah, right" lol.

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    You guys should definitely remember the first PC hard drive in the IBM XT. It help a whoppin' 10 megabytes of data and took up two bays. I remember people laughing and saying , "How could anyone ever use 10 megabytes of storage?" Of course, most programs came on a 5.25 inch floppy disk that only held 360k of data.

    Us old-timers sure do like to reminisce.

    All of the young tech pups reading this are probably saying, "Floppy whats?"
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Andy101's Avatar
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    Actually, "Floppy Disk" is a more modern term than "Flexible Disk". I have an un-opened pack of 360K Flexible Disk media back in the UK

    I was pre-floppy disk: a home-assembled ZX81 was my first computer And before this I learned to code in micro instruction set sequencer from a book by Texas Instruments as a child. Couldn't wait get get my hands on a computer, the only problem was that the home computer hadn't been invented yet.

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