About two weeks ago, my user drive began to run slow (I have an SSD for my system files and all my user files on a separate spinning hard drive). Later that day, it just failed — the OS couldn’t see it. When I took it out and put it in a USB enclosure, it just made some clicking sounds and couldn’t be seen from Windows Disk Manager. The drive was probably 8-10 years old, so it was about time. I have all my personal files backed up three different ways, two on the cloud (Google and OneDrive) and one with a physical drive using File History
I thought, “oh well at least I have a spare drive sitting around, this wont take long”. It was a 3TB drive that I was just using for storing media backups. This drive had not been used very much at all, but was quite a few years old. I piled it on the sacrificial pyre of system storage and installed it in my desktop, formatted it and then loaded on my backup files. This process probably took 4 hours and I had everything back working again.
This new drive ran great for about two weeks and then it also started to make a clicking sound. When I rebooted, the drive diagnostics stated “Hard drive failure imminent”. Foolishly, I thought “This is a new drive, it must be some kind of strange issue that can be fixed by a hard reset”. I powered down the machine and everything seemed to be working fine, until I ran the same program where I first heard the clicking sound and then down she came like a tower of bricks.
This time the computer could at least see that there was a hard drive, it just didn’t like the partition definition… So I pulled out my trusty copy of Spinrite and put it to work. No success, the BIOS and DOS could see the drive, but didn’t want to examine it (I hope the new version of Spinrite gets released soon so it will use a more modern approach to accessing the drives. This enhancement has been talked about for years).
Anyway, I went to Amazon and looked for a highly-rated but relatively inexpensive 3TB option. There are many of them out there. I chalked up the previous experience as practice and hoped that I’ll be up more quickly this time, once it arrives later today. Fortunately, I have a tablet running windows and OneDrive syncing my files so I can still function.
The lessons from all this is:
- Keep multiple backups – drives fail
- If you ever see a “Hard drive failure imminent” take it seriously
There is another lesson to keep in mind that has more to do with security and that is to have your user accounts run without privileges. Have a separate admin account where you do all the “system stuff”.