Sunday, May 30, 2010

Meltdown! Hard Disk Crash saved by Proper Backup Protocol

Ok … pretty slow blogging week. Been meaning to blog New York City, but blogged the garden while waiting to complete day 1 of NYC. And then it happened … my computer made a strange bussing noise that seemed to not want to stop in the middle of the night, so I took the expedient / stupid route and used canned compressed air to clear out the vents etc. Now, had I sprung for the carbon dioxide spray, all would have been well. But no, I cheaped out and bought a can with propellant in it.

So when I started spraying my machine while it was live (and backing up 30GB of music) I managed to spray quite a lot of frozen air onto various parts. And when you do *that*, you fry stuff.

And I fried my images disk … the disk containing all my NYC images and in fact every image I own.

I did not know that at first … the machine would not boot at all the next day, even though it had completed the copy of the music. So I wondered … maybe the motherboard was fried, since it seemed like the machine could not even see the drives sometimes. Well, in the end, the SATA bus was being screwed up by the presence of this broken disk. No doubt I blew a cap on its board or something. I figured that our by replacing it with my new Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black. Now both disks were visible and the machine rebooted just fine.


Then, I checked my Seagate Freeagent 1TB USB backup drive to see what I might have lost from the last week and only the neighborhood and some baby geese from that day were missing. NYC was there, although all my processing had been lost.

Well … whew again!

Now … that left me wondering … do I burn the new fast drive as an image disk? Or do I take some pain now and replace my Caviar Green drive with the Caviar Black? I have wanted to do that for a while, hence the purchase of DriveImage XML by Runtime Software a few weeks ago, so I went for it. I ran the direct diskcopy overnight and it seemed to work fine. So I disconnected the original drive and tried rebooting. No go.

I farted around with Windows 7 repair facility, which you get to from the install panel after booting into the DVD. Well, Windows 7 knows that I have no master boot record, but it does not quite seem able to find the problem with the missing boot files. Well, duh. So reboot after reboot (it can take 3 times) did nothing for me. So I looked on the Internet and found the perfect instructions for this task. There are several similar posts out there for Vista and Windows 7, so thanks to all who came before me on this.

Three steps worked for me after I copied my C: Windows 7 drive to my new partition.

  1. Make sure the new partition is the first that Windows encounters on boot. I plugged the new disk into port 0 on the SATA bus, so that was taken care of. I happened to also have it as the only drive, so it would have worked anyway … but just in case you are adding a drive and not just replacing.
  2. Make the new parition active. When you go into Windows 7 repair from the setup screen, it has numerous options, the last of which is command line. Go there and type these commands …

    > diskpart
    DISKPART> list disk
    disks shown here
    DISKPART> select disk 0 (or whatever number matches the new boot drive)
    DISKPART> list partition
    partitions shown here
    DISKPART> select partition 1 (or whatever partition is your copied installation of Windows 7)
    DISKPART> activate
    DISKPART> exit

    You could of course verify that your new parition is showing as C: before launching into diskpart …
  3. Now you need to copy the WIndows 7 boot files to this partition. That’s a piece of cake. At the same command prompt, type:

    > bcdboot

    … and follow the instructions.

This worked fine for me. The next reboot behaved exactly as expected.

However, as there are a near infinite set of possible conditions, issues, hardware and configurations, I make no warranty that this will work for you, either expressed or implied. Further, you perform these tasks at your own risk. I take no responsibility for you, your computer, your data, or anything else that you might destry while performing such tasks.

And I am now copying my entire image library over to my second new Caviar Black 1TB … this takes 5 hours for 197GB … and the only reason that I am not sick about all this is that I followed my own advice and backed up the NYC images *immediately* after downloading them to the main disk. So all 1500 images were on that backup. I will, in half an hour, have two copies of everything, and a third copy of much of my work on Carbonite.

Edit: I found a link to one of the original discussions I liked the best. Pretty much what I followed.


Lili said...

I am glad your data is safe, I rotate 3 external drives for back up myself!

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks Lili: I am about to add a second 1TB backup ... not sure if I will run them in parallel or swap back and forth as you do. So you keep one off site?

Lili said...

Yes, I do, one is in my Safe Deposit Box. A few years ago a hard drive crash ate 6 months of images.

Lili said...

Kim, I just did this shot
F70, about 50% crop
Dark grey cat
dark room
blinding sun
I am amazed

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili: That's lovely! That's the kind of detail the F70 and F80 can nail in good light in M modes ... and close up like that. Wonderful cams for that kind of shooting.

Lili said...

Kim here is best from my "other" favorite Fuji, my S6000fd

Kim Letkeman said...

Lili: Great moon shot! I have always liked the 6mp sensor ... it's detail rendering is remarkable.

Lili said...

Thanks Kim, that was done with the Raynox DCR-1540Pro 1.54x converter.
Len laid out on a Sandbag, 1/100 F7.1 ISO 100.