That little oh shit moment
I was doing some tidying the other day.
I download a regular batch of files each day. They are the backups to all the sites in my little portfolio. I have had to rely on them at times in the past when a site has run into major difficulty and I have been able to easily restore the site to a pristine condition. Those files are very important.
There is one simple rule with important files – back them up to somewhere safe.
I have a box for storing all my important files: I call it my Black Box. It contains all sorts of stuff such as all my music, my videos, all my photographs and archives of old files. It also contains copies of all the website backups, and a copy of everything currently on my laptop, just in case there is a problem with that.
The other day I was backing up the important stuff when suddenly it failed in the middle of a file. Fuck! I tried to recopy that file. It failed. Double fuck!
Then I realised – my Black Box had failed. It had expired mid-breath. It had had a heart attack. It was dead. It was fit for use only as a door stop. It was a black lump of plastic with some dead electronics inside. I had lost all my backups including a whole load of important stuff. This was my oh shit moment. Bollocks!
Now luckily I had a second backup of my sites’ files [just in case!] so none of my clients was affected but I had lost all my photographs of all my holidays, weddings and kid’s communions and the like.
As luck would have it, a while back I had been messing with an ancient disk which was literally in bits, but I had managed to copy some files onto it as an experiment. All my photos and music were on it. All I had really lost was all my old shit such as stuff I had ripped off from my old workplace and some old websites.
I have ordered a new Black Box which should arrive next week. I can copy back everything onto it, as it’s a bit bigger than the old one.
Sometimes the Gods do smile on me.
Pull the hard drive form the defunct device, it might just be the interface electronics that are dead. There’s a chance you could still pull the files by Jerry rigging it into a PC.
I’m 90% sure it’s the power at fault as the indicator light remains dark. The disk itself should be salvageable once I can get at it [it requires some kind of knife that’s fine enough to fit the minute crack in the case but strong enough to prise the case open]. Somewhere I have a docking unit that could accommodate the disk. Unfortunately I haven’t a clue where it is!
A friend of mine had similar trouble, the black box in his situation being a mechanical drive in a case. It just stopped, as you say yours did and was dead as a doornail. After some experimentation I found the disc would run, intermittently but readably, in a different small case stolen from an old external drive of mine, crisis averted. The odd thing was that my old disc, which had donated its case for the experiment, worked cheerfully in either outer case. Something aged and off-spec and his drive being less tolerant perhaps? I hope you recover all the stuff that matters.
As I said above, I’m fairly positive the drive itself is fine. It’s a total failure and not intermittent. There isn’t even a glimmer of a pulse.
Does your new ‘black box’ have more than one drive to provide redundancy? Striping is your friend.
I wish! Unfortunately I am constrained by budget. I’ll just continue with my old process – a master drive [the new one] with secondary removable disks to hold copies the really important files. My most important task is to have a couple of backups of my backups from the servers. [This is getting complicated!]
We did the same with my wife’s last laptop when she got a new one.
Put her old hard drive in a case and we use that for backup storage.
I’m sure the drive which is dead is a three and half inch one [PC type] and I no longer have a PC to move it into. I actually have a small selection of two and a half drives in docking ports which are a life saver. Well, maybe not a life saver but you know what I mean?