Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up and turned on my Vista powered computer and I saw a blue screen of death staring back at me. I got an uneasy feeling in my stomach, and I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.
I rebooted the machine and was greeted with a no “no system disk found” error. Awesome.
After about 20 minutes messing around in the BIOS, switching drives, cables and power around, I concluded that the Boot drive of my computer was dead. The BIOS wouldn’t even see it at all. DEAD. KAPUT. FIN.
The drive that died was a Western Digital Raptor, 10000 RPM, 74 GB drive. It’s an expensive drive to replace so I’m glad is was covered under warranty.
For most people, losing a hard drive is a devastating experience. For me, its an inconvenience.
A little background. I build this computer in december of 2006 in preparation for windows vista. All the drives are SATA, and the system was designed with data back up and redundancy in mind, I’ve blogged about it has save my ass before.
The redundancy starts with the machines architecture:
The boot drive (C:) is a small, and fast drive. The operating system and applications are installed on this drive. No working data or documents are ever stored on this drive.
For data storage, I use 2 large drives mirrored together using raid 1. This means that the computer only sees one drive (D:), but all activity happens to both drives. If one of the drives crashes, the other one is there as an instant back up with no loss. Its an expensive solution backup, but is critical in my opinion. All data is stored here. I have the systems users file (my documents, etc) set to use this drive.
External Back Up Drive 1 (X:) uses syncback to pull data from the Data drive (D:) every night at 3am, creating a recovery in case files get deleted from the data drive (D:) during the work day.
External Back Up Drive 2 (Y:) uses syncback to pull data from the Data drive (D:) every third night at 5am. This acts as a recovery drive for D: and X:. Drive X: also backs up my iTunes Catalog every night
To top is all off, I use a service called carbonite to create a real time back up of my data over the internet. At $50 a year, its worth it. If my house burns down, or my equipment is stolen, no amount of drives will keep my data save. Off site is the way to go.
So yes, losing the system drive (C:) means I will have to reinstall the Operating System, and my applications, but at the same time, I haven’t lost anything except the time with will take to get things up and running again.
In the mean time I’m going to try and get apple OS X Leopard running on my PC!