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CorinaMarie

Are you prepared for total hard drive failure?

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So, this morning I turned on my computer and my custom desktop was gone. XP went thru all the motions like it does for the first time booting up after a fresh install. The background with the green rolling terrain, blue sky, and clouds was there and it wanted me to take a Tour and so on. Naturally I assumed MicroSloth had bypassed my Do Not Update setting and was doing unauthorized things. When it got all done messing things up I told my comp to do a system restore to Friday. It went thru all the motions of that and upon reboot just kept going to BSOD and re-rebooting. Even when I selected Safe Mode. :cry:

My last full hard drive clone backup was July 18, 2016 and my last My Documents one was August 18, 2016. I pulled out the borked drive and cloned the backup onto another drive. Booted up just fine. I went into Astra32 to check the health of the hard drive and it said: Overheating. I quickly shutdown and checked the fan in the mobile rack bay and sure enough it would barely turn. So, I yanked that bay out and put in a new one with a good fan. And just for extra protection I mounted a case fan on the underside of it. I added a second bay and did the same for it.

So, now that I'm back running with only 1 month's data loss from the failed drive, I also set up Karen's Replicator to make a daily copy of My Documents onto the 2nd hard drive. I should've had that going all along, but I'd gotten complacent since everything had been fine for a long time. My loss of a month's data isn't total. Fortunately all the Shoppes topics I've been creating are on my separate game computer and were transferred to this one via a flash drive. So, I still have my creations in two other places. What I did lose are mods I'd downloaded to play with later and all my new bookmarks over the past month.

Now having the 2nd drive and Karen on the job, I should be better prepared for next time.

How about you? Do you have a contingency plan for a total hard drive failure?

:unsure:

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Happily, as I dedicate all of august to remake my plugins folder, I have a very recent and exhaustive backup if something goes wrong; my universitary documents are way safer because of multiple cloud copies, and old DVD backups take care of old photos and such (yes, this is a bit maniatical). Also, having multiple partitions makes easier to repair OS installations without rebuilding the personal file structure each time from the backups, or even to recurr to them, but of course that a HD failiure would destroy all of that in a few readings.

For your case, I think the only solution is to buy a new hard disk; remember, also, that while SSDs are astoundingly fast, they are prone to damage by overwriting too, so their best use is for many readings and few, scheduled writings. Good luck with the upcoming work!

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1 hour ago, matias93 said:

For your case, I think the only solution is to buy a new hard disk; remember, also, that while SSDs are astoundingly fast, they are prone to damage by overwriting too, so their best use is for many readings and few, scheduled writings.

My comps are so old that new drives aren't an option, but it's ok cause I have several used drives I can swap in as needed. My loss was minimal and with my new setup the most I should lose next time is one day's worth. My main reason for posting this is to, hopefully, encourage peeps who don't have a good backup plan in use to seriously think about what such a failure would mean to them.

1 hour ago, matias93 said:

Good luck with the upcoming work!

Thanks! You've been very supportive in my various reference threads. :)

My next thread (for Terrain mods and pics) might take a while cause I've got other RL things to do. Rest assured that it's coming. I just can't promise when.

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Ouch, definitely sucks to lose a months worth of data. On the other hand I can't even contemplate how devastating it would be for people who don't even think about backing up their files and just explicitly trust their drives. To lose all those years worth of data, man I'd probably have a mental breakdown :rage: I've been lucky so far in that I haven't had a failure in a drive I was currently using. I've had two other failures, one was with an old laptop that I was only using from time to time and another was with a internal hard drive I was using as an external backup drive. But to be fair that ones on me, since I drop the thing (oops :blush:) had some padding on it too but it didn't help.

It's constant struggle reminding one's self to periodically back stuff up. I know there are programs out there that will automatically do it but at the same time there's things that I'm working on which are 'works in progress' and I don't necessarily want the new versions to overwrite older backup so I prefer to manually back up my data.

The one thing I always remember to do very often though is to back up my SC4 cities/regions every time after I've done a considerable amount of work in them. Probably should get around to deleting the older ones, though it's neat to look back and it show when I've gone on an SC4 hiatus.
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Can't stress this enough. If there's one thing SC4 players absolutely should do, it's regularly back up your cities/regions. We all know how much it sucks to lose hours worth of work with a CTD but that's insignificant compared to losing weeks or months worth!

 

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I'm currently sitting on nearly a year's worth of non-backed-up stuff.  My SC4 stuff I should really get on saving, but I haven't done much writing since last year so I'm not sure if I'd actually be missing anything...  

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I have an external drive and I think I need to get to backing up my HDD's data to. I have about 430 GB of stuff on it that includes stuff put on it over the past 9 months since the machine was built and some stuff carried over from my potato that I had before. I'm concerned about it because I've been getting errors where Windows 7 couldn't find my user data on the C drive a few times (gave me some bad looking screens when that happened!), and I've been having issues with The Black Screen of Death during startup after the Windows boot screen goes away (before I can log in). I'm also getting frequent spells of any applications I may try to use (as well as Windows Explorer itself) locking up temporarily. From what I've read I may very well be having a problem with a bad sector on my HDD (disappointing if that's the case - it's not even a year old)... or I may just need to defrag. Either way I'd lose it if I lost all that data so I better start backing it up!

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1 hour ago, MushyMushy said:

... so I better start backing it up!

Yes. Do NOT turn on that comp again until you are prepared to back it up. Time is limited. You are fortunate to get some warnings. I definitely suggest you refrain from running defrag atm. That's just going to tax the hell out of an already failing device.

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In any case, if you can locate the physical damaged sector (for example, using defrag to identify corrupt files with disk sectors), you can change the partitions' sizes to avoid more damage by isolating the damaged area (a swap partition could do good, but is better to keep it without format).

Of course, all of that should be done after backing up there sensible contents, because partition manipulation could damage the disk too.

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It looks like the report found no bad sectors, but then again I didn't really get to study it. It attempted to complete the boot up and then it couldn't find windows at all. Restarted it and the same. Good thing I backed it up because I'm pretty sure this sucker is toast! I'll still try fiddling with it some more (nothing to lose, plus it was pretty cheap because 1 TB HDDs dont run for much anymore), but even if i can get it to work i wouldnt place any trust in it maintaining file integrity. Looks like this is my opportunity to replace my boot drive with a SSD and then put a HDD in with it as an internal backup and storage.

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Not for a while. I used to have a backup external hard drive that I used successfully when my Acer laptop died, but after a while, even the backup failed - the spindle started getting stuck when it got hot enough. The only way to make it work is to always store it in the freezer, and when you take it out, you have about 10-20 minutes to use it until it warms up enough and the spindle gets stuck again. I have a new laptop now but no backup since they cost a lot of money and I'm poor. Especially since for backups to be truly effective, you need at least two... :hmph:

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Well, I am in a position that if I lose my data, my sole option is working at McDonalds or so but does it make me backup my data ? Unfortunately not :/

I know I need a backup drive (which also can't be trusted) but don't want to invest money in a professional backup (involving NAS and NAS grade harddrives).

Pity there is no effective way of storing 1.5 TB of data which changes on daily basis. But I know I should at least backup very vital data sometime (when I'm not lazy)

I am not much into RAID as I am more concerned of natural disasters and theft more than hardware failure and online backup isn't my first choice due to awesome upload speed of 1 Mbps :) , in this speed it is faster to ship a harddrive to Dropbox HQ with a note " backup this online " :)

 

 

But for you, you (and I) may consider an external backup which is better than none.

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A recommended approach to backups is the 3, 2, 1 method. The idea being you store at least 3 separate copies, in 2 different formats, with 1 copy kept in another location. Of course the more the merrier, but this provides a minimum safeguard against data loss. With just a single backup, it leaves you vulnerable should your main HDD fail. Having at least 3 copies ensures there's a much greater chance of recovering your data.

Even with cloud storage becoming cheaper and more accessible; never trust an online service as a last resort. It's always best to have the data locally on hand in some form. For non-sensitive material like game data, it's cheap and easy nowadays to buy a couple of USBs and archive such data. You can carry it around, even if the drive is never used for anything else. You could even compress data to save space (e.g. using 7-Zip), or use a form of encryption.

However, any backup becomes increasingly ineffective unless made on a regular basis. For this, ask your computer -- as long as they're operational, a machine never gets tired of performing the same mundane tasks. One method I use is a file synchronization tool. These can be setup using comparison rules, and scheduled to automate the process. They include many options, including versioning, and only copying files if modified.

Also, sometimes an overlooked practice is how to store the storage. Much like food, the best place is to keep discs/drives away from sunlight, in a cool, dry and sturdy place. This helps reduce the rate of data decay, and may even give a better chance of recovery should the medium fail.

The hardest thing with backups is motivating yourself to setup a system. But should anything go wrong, those few hours are more than invested wisely. :yes:

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Hi! can anyone help? I had my data backed up! thank God, and my old computer crashed, I was able to copy it to a new computer (windows 10) and put it in the plug-ins folder but it doesn't show up in the game. Am I missing anything?I am not at all tech savvy and so miss playing this game

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Can I just chime in to correct a common misunderstanding regarding hard drives. You DO NOT need to defrag hard drives manually any more, in fact, this has been a waste of time since at least Windows XP. Windows handles this automatically for you (unless you've overridden the default settings). Similarly, advances in Windows make running ScanDisk (error checking) a complete waste of time too, unless you actually have a problem. In short, leave it alone, Windows is taking care of it for you.

As for Backups, this totally resonates with me

On ‎21‎/‎09‎/‎2016 at 10:04 AM, moSonče said:

Pity there is no effective way of storing 1.5 TB of data which changes on daily basis. But I know I should at least backup very vital data sometime (when I'm not lazy)

Whilst you can store that data, realistically it's going to be on a second hard drive. There is a myriad of reasons why this is not best practise. However, loosing your game data is a PITA. Loosing your digital life (photos, video and files) can be heart-breaking. But, if you rely on your data for business, know that a loss of data without a backup can be the death knell for your business. Is a backup solution really that expensive, when your livelihood depends upon it? It could be as simple as loosing your accounts data, which would make it impossible to correctly file your taxes. At the very least, invest in a second drive and run a RAID mirror that keeps a continual backup. Back this up onto a separate external drive at least every week. Sure, that means paying 2.5 - 3x the cost for storage, but that's a few hundred bucks to have some safeguards, which in this context is chump change. You probably also will want to have multiple backups of different file versions for important data too. Windows can handle this for you, but I think only the top editions come with Backup as standard, i.e. Ultimate edition for Windows 7 or Professional edition for Windows 10.

It should also be noted that traditional methods of potentially recovering data from hard drives, simply do not work for SSDs or NAND-Based storage. This includes USB sticks and Memory Cards. That said, professional data recovery needs to be done in a hermetically sealed lab and costs from many thousands to stupid-money, depending on the severity of the problem. I.e., it's a last resort for desperate people and by no means offers guaranteed results.

Ideally for a truly redundant and secure backup strategy, you need multiple redundant copies of your data and at least one copy kept off-site at all times. But this is probably overkill for most individuals. I responded to another thread on this subject recently, but if you just have data you couldn't bare to loose, a good idea might be to arrange a data-swap with some friends/relatives. Think about a total loss scenario, something like a house fire. Going back 20-30 years, that could mean loosing photos and cherished memories, the sort of things your insurance simply can not replace. But, if you place this data onto a USB stick and get some friends/relatives to keep a hold of copies for you, you should be safe if the worst happens. By doing the same for them, it's much like how most people give someone a set of their house keys, just in case. This is a very inexpensive solution considering the benefits.

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