Friday, March 25, 2005

A Friendly PSA

This is not your normal post of sorts, but it's a worthwhile update nonetheless. I awoke yesterday morning to a hard drive failure on my computer. While I do have two hard drives, they were set up in a RAID 0 striped array which allows for much higher performance. However, since the data is striped across both disks, if one goes, the whole array goes down with it. I've since spent countless hours on the phone to useless techs in India and have gotten nowhere. At this point, chances of recovering 6 years worth of documents I had on that computer are slim to none unless I feel like shelling out a huge fee to a specialized recovery service.

Hard drives, while engineered to outlast the average life of a modern computer, do sometimes fail. I had read this countless times before, and some people even cautioned me when I purchased the Raid array by saying it increased my chances. I didn't really take the warnings seriously because I had never experienced a hard drive failure nor had I met anyone who had. Sure, some people get viruses or spyware on their computers, but I'm a CS major-- I know how to lock down my box. I didn't need to worry. Of course, I was wrong.

I'm posting this with a dual purpose:

1) I may be out of commission posting wise for an extended period of time until I get this whole situation sorted out (although I'll do my best to keep up by using friends'/family's/library machines. I'll have somewhat easy access to my family's computers while still on break through Saturday, but once back on campus I may not be online or posting for a while.

2) For anyone who's reading this, remember that hard drives can fail even if you do absolutely nothing wrong to it. They have mechanical parts and sometimes just go poof. So, to avoid dealing with the endless amounts of frustration I have had over the past 48 hours, make multiple backups of your data regularly. Archive old documents onto CDR or DVD and store them in a secure place. If you have multiple computers on a home network, mirror your files across multiple systems. Hard drive space is really pretty cheap nowadays, so there's not much excuse for not having the space for the redundancy. And, last time I checked, a spindle of DVD-Rs can come preetty cheap too.

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