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The importance of multiple HDDs, backups and a new beginning
17 June 2017
Posted in General

  /melodamatic on
I'm writing you from my ASUS EEE-netbook right now because my PC kinda got fucked up...
  /melodramatic off

Okay, seriously now... Yes, my PC got fucked up completely yesterday. but let me start at the beginning. I have 3 HDDs in my PC:
  1. Seagate Baracuda 250Gb (which is about 10 years old) for Windows boot
  2. Western Digital Caviar 1Tb (about 5 years old) for development
  3. Western Digital Caviar 2Tb (about 3 years old) for gaming
None of these drives have ever failed, but my Windows started to boot slower the last half year or so. So I decided to check the health of my HDDs, and that Seagate drive showed it had over 48K running hours (5 1/2 years ) and had an enormous amount of seek data errors (around 3 3/4 a second), while both WD drives had no seek data errors at all. This would imply that while the Seagate drive is still working without error, there's a chance that one day these errors might end up in mechanical errors, crashing the drive completely...

So I decided to remove the Seagate drive. For that I have an anormous amount of tools, but a PartedMagic build I have that includes CloneZilla was my software of choice. CloneZilla is a real powerful tool that allows you to copy disc to disc or partition to partition, including MBR restauration so that you'll be able to continue with your system where you left off.

I wish it all was that simple While I had used CloneZilla before to backup my Windows drive to prepare for Linux, this time things went from bad to worst.
I started by halving the gaming drive and move the partition to the end of the drive so that I had 1Tb free for the Windows partition that I'd clone and still had space to install Linux along side. While the repartitioning and cloning went well, the Windows partition ended up on the other half of the drive and it would not boot at all
I made a new try on the cloning and this time I said to also create a MBR (which I did not do in the previous step). This was something I better had not done! The cloning started as usual, but exited in an error after a few seconds - an error that was extremely cryptyc (what else do you expect from something running under Linux ). When I opened the file manager, the 2Tb drive has only 1 partition and it was EMPTY!

So yeah, I've lost my game drive, but that's not a real big deal. I haven't been gaming on my PC for the last half year or so thanks to the purchase of my PS4 Pro But there was some data on that drive (including the Linux ISOs that I need) that got lost and I need to redownload again.

With the gaming drive, the solution was to disc-clone the Windos drive onto the (now former) gaming drive and that went perfect. I added a new 1Tb partition for games at the end of it and I was good to go!
    WRONG!
While Windows booted normally, the explorer kept on crashing with every instruction I wanted to do with it. I was only able to open it and brose my files, but anything else just crashed big-time For this I could not find a real solution online (hell, I fucked up most likely), and decided to start in save mode to copy stuff I needed in preperation of a clean install, but even there the explorer kept on crashing. OH YES, I WAS MAD!

Back to the drawingboard and reconsider my options (again) and the only thing I could think off was once again start PartedMagic and backup all stuff I REALLY care about (my development drive which also holds the /My Documents and /My Music directories) and install my PC from scratch. But how?
Well, with Windows (still using 7 Ultimate BTW) becoming less and less a thing for me because I'm not gaming anymore on the PC, I figured that the 1Tb drive would be perfect for Windows and the 2Tb drive should be used for Linux. The only problem though with Linux is that some of my development tools are Windows-only. Okay, the developers of these tools are considering to make a Linux version, but that might take some time still (which is exactly why I'm still in need of Windows).

Bottom line, I'm more than glad that I have 3 HDDs in my PC and have quite some backups. This also has added some speed to my plans to switch from Windows to Linux as well. I've bought the Linux eBooks earlier this month from Humble Bundle and thought to learn the ropes slowly, but it looks like I now need to learn while working with it (and reading the eBooks).
The only sad thing though is that I most likely have lost most of my (new) Opera browser bookmarks. I have managed to back up the directory where the Opera settings reside, but when I switch to Linux, I might not be able to import those. Same might go for my eMail client. I'm using Thunderbird, and for Windows there's a real good back-up tool for it. But I'm not so certain if and how to import the backup into Thunderbird for Linux (if it even exists).


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