Monday, 16 June 2014

Never Turn Off Your PC

Never ever turn off your PC.

I've learned that the hard way over the last 12 hours. It's why I'm writing this in Wordpad and why my spelling will undoubedly stretch the limits of what a man can claim to be a mere slip of the finger.

I never turn off my PC but, yesterday, since I was going to be away from it for a few hours, I actually shut it down. I remember thinking to myself: David, you're taking a gamle. All that soldering has been running hot for so long. Don't you know that failures often occur because of the cooling and heating process on circuitboards? There's a chance this won't start up again.

And so it proved. Late last night, I returned home and discovered that my machine wouldn't boot. After about an hours struggle, I came to the horrified realisation that a hard drive had died.

I have (or had) four drives in this machine. A small drive for my operating system, two older drives that have come from previous machines, and a new Seagate 3Terrabye beast where I've done all my recent work.

Naturally, that is the drive that has died. Only now do I read the terrible reviews of the drive.

Not that bad reviews help me.

I had backed a few things up but not enough. My game, for one, is in a (hopefully) safe place but all the high resoltution files I'd created along the way to build the game are now gone. I've lost too many cartoons that I'm actually not trying to think about it. Possibly books too but, again, I'm not going to think too hard about what's missing.

Instead, I'm sitting here hoping that Disc Partition software might actually recover some of the data. The drive was split into two partitions and three successive trial verions of data recovery software have identied the first of the partitions. Naturally, the first partition didn't have anything that was actually worth recovering. All my important stuff was on the second partition and nothing seems able to see it.

Of course, I know the old mantra about always keeping a backup but I just couldn't afford a second drive to back up so much work. And now I can't afford to buy a drive to replace the one I've just lost. Today I'm just walking around feeling like this is all a bad dream. In the middle of realising I'd lost the data, my favourite chair broke. It had broke a month or two ago when a bolt snapped. Last night, a second bolt snapped around 1AM. However, as the Disc Parition software searched my 3 terrabytes for my work (4% and counting), I've mananged to fix the chair. It's a small victory but I feel like it was a pointless one. Even if I have my chair back and I still have a place to work, it feels pretty pointless.


  1. Agh!

    I remember, years ago, losing six months of statistical analysis from a very large experiment when a hard disk died. All the raw data was safely backed up (and printed out) but the analysis and the report were gone.

    Now I have backups on an external hard disk, on DVD and on any spare space on any USB stick that's handy. I think the DVD backups are cheaper and possibly the safest - okay, I have accumulated a large pile of DVDs now but the versions of files on them cannot be changed. Therefore cannot be accidentally wiped by a drunken keypress.

    Yeah. That's happened too :(

  2. I've had a few drives fail over the years but this was the most surprising. I've now discovered that these 3tb Seagate drives are a bit notorious for dying quite quickly but I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't take the warning signs seriously. However, I figure all the cartoons I lost (and there will be a few that never made it to this blog, where at least many still exist) were never good enough to be publish so perhaps it's not a great loss.

    The problem with DVDs is that over the years I've also amassed hundreds of them and it's a bit hard to see the wood for the trees, which are valuable and which are dross. From now on, I think I'll use a combiantion of Dropbox, network storage, and a blank DVD once every month.

    But anyway... More about this drunken keypress. How drunk and which key?

  3. Very drunk and the 'ctrl' key.

    There was a heading somewhere along the lines of 'A Silence Falls' deep into a story. Being somewhat tiddly, the best way to write, I was looking at the blurry keyboard instead of the blurry screen.

    I thought I had pressed 'shift-A, space, shift-S' etc but I had pressed 'ctrl' instead and now had an entire file with a space in it.

    And I had saved it.

    You know how Microdaft Word randomly comes up with 'cannot undo'? It was one of those times.

    This only added to my backup paranoia.