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Technology Spencer on February 23, 2012 06:01 am

The Computer is Dead, Long Live the Computer

Soon, it appears I get to see how good my backup software is.  I currently use CrashPlan, and have everything backed up to their online source and then backup the Users folder to an external hard drive as a separate backup set.  One of the things that drew me to CrashPlan over Carbonite was the flexibility of multiple backup sets and destinations… but I digress a bit.

Our hard drive looks to be failing (nearing the completely failed state).  We have had this computer for a while; and both DVD drives have been spotty at best (they work when I can get them open, but that is the trick).  Recently, nearly every time the computer boots it runs CHKDSK, but still boots.  This past week, however, I got a pop up from Vista that it is detecting the hard drive is failing and that I should backup immediately and stop using the computer until I fix or replace the drive… Yikes; that’s almost worse than the old blue screen of death, because this was specific.

To try to extend life of it a bit, I ran through a full disk check last night, it appears to have taken about 6 hours or so to complete and all seemed ok when I started up this morning.  To be safe, I checked on my backups (whew, 100%) and moved a few folders over to the USB drive just in case… and this morning, I got the call… “Honey, the computer says it can’t read from the boot…” yep, that will nearly seal the fate of this computer, or at least hard drive.  So, now I have to either buy a replacement drive and rebuild Windows (which means getting Windows 7, something I’ve wanted to do for a while) or buy a new computer… which brings up lots of possibilities, build one from scratch, go with a Mac, etc.  Regardless, it’s a lot of $$$$ I wasn’t planning on spending.  Hopefully I can squeeze just a bit more life out of it, or we may be going using the iPad a bit more for a while.

5 Responses to “The Computer is Dead, Long Live the Computer”

  1. on February 24, 2012 at 4:21 am 1. Dad said …

    Scary when the hard drive goes south, but my experience so far has been positive with CrashPlan. I believe your data can safely be restored. I vote for the new hard drive option. I speculate a terabyte is under a hundred bucks now, and that would then give you breathing room to plan for a new machine somewhere down the road on your preferred timetable. 😉

  2. on February 24, 2012 at 4:30 am 2. Spencer said …

    I’m glad you’re liking CrashPlan as well. I have decided to go the new hard drive route. Either 500GB or 1TB is my plan (since I have the 1.5TB external media drive). I’ve found a free disk cloning tool that should allow me to move everything over and make the new drive bootable. I hope to pick up the drive today so I can start working on it tonight.

  3. on February 24, 2012 at 10:13 am 3. Dad said …

    Very cool. I did not realize the old hard drive was still readable.

  4. on February 25, 2012 at 6:31 am 4. Spencer said …

    Yes, it was readable, but apparently, my BIOS and the drive support SMART so it knew it was about to die somehow. I was able to use xxclone to copy it overnight and all came up amazingly well. Just had to reactivate Windows Vista and it is like nothing happened. I just told the BIOS to reference the new disk first. On the first boot, it still ran a CHKDSK on the old drive and it was failing on more sectors… so I just disconnected it for testing and no issues. That will keep us up and running for a while. We still will need something soon as other parts on this computer have failed or are dying, but at least the quick fix is done.

  5. on February 27, 2012 at 7:29 am 5. Dad said …

    Most excellent!

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