Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hard Disk Crash

...You know when people tell you to do backups ? Feeling guilty ? :-)

Well, most of my data is usually backed up, but... even so, there's still a lag usually, particularly for "not-so-important data", etc. Add to this usual mix some data put away "temporarily" from my main computer... and that's when my LaCie 250Gb external drive choose to die. Around 200Gb of data lost, among them some that I could get back with various difficulty somewhere else, eg on some dvd or other computers (the LaCie *was* the main/more used backup plan), and some truly lost (yes, this "temporarily moved" data, yes, it's you I'm talking about), or some data recently copied only on the LaCie... Of course this drive is around 3 years old, and I actually had some thoughts recently of doing a proper backup of everything there was on it, for convenience, and for fear of such an accident. Of course too, I ended up way too busy to actually do it...

Still, a bit of luck: there was no scratching noise, in fact, there wasn't any noise at all: the disk just didn't start, which meant that it was more likely an electronic fault than a mechanical one. Removing the hdd from the LaCie enclosure and plugging it directly on a computer didn't do anything either (so it sadly wasn't the LaCie controller board). So that left us with the actual hdd electronic board... I then looked on the web for an hdd from the same brand and the same model -- and found a cheap one from an online reseller. After receiving it, I checked it -- yes, it was the same model, yes, the same year, yes the same firmware... ah. No. not the same firmware ! well, still, only two months separated those drives, so I crossed my fingers and started removing the controlling board of the "new" drive to swap it with the one on my crashed drive. Never having done that, I wasn't quite sure what to expect :-) but it's in fact really straightforward (you just need the right kind of screwdrivers -- Torx). The only difficulty is in finding a control board that is compatible with your hdd!

To cut the story short, the "patched" drive started happily and worked fine, so I passed the day swapping and burning dvd of the drive's content ;-)

One thing for sure is that I will seriously think of building a proper backup solution (ie, automated/redundant) for hosting "home" data (photos, videos, music...) asap... I was lucky to save this drive ! these kind of content is annoying as they quickly take so much space, yet (for at least some of them) they are invaluable...