Mothers, lock up your hard drives
Mood: relaxed
Posted on 2007-06-29 10:31:00
Tags: computer
Words: 341

for I am their slayer. Yesterday morning I woke up, and after getting out of bed my first stop was my computer (as usual). Turned on the monitor and the screen was black and unresponsive to key-pressing. "That's odd," I thought, but sometimes two xscreensavers get running somehow and so it's slow to load the desktop. So I used the restroom, etc., came back and still nothing. Definitely bad. Couldn't switch to the console or ssh in, so I did an emergency sync, unmount and rebooted the computer. Everything seemed fine after that, and I didn't think much of it. (mistake #1)

When I got home from work it became immediately clear that things were not fine, as KDE was partially dead. I tried to vi /var/log/syslog and it said vi: command not found. Oh, this is bad. I couldn't even shutdown because it couldn't find that either. Switching to the console and trying to log in led to a string of I/O errors on /dev/hdc. Aha!

Next step was booting into a Knoppix CD I had lying around, which has saved my butt numerous times. It booted fine, of course, but then didn't find /dev/hdc at all. (/dev/hdc is my 320 GB I bought last year that has all my stuff except for music on it, so this is scary) I take a deep breath, shut it down, open up the case, clean out dust and check the connectors and such, reboot into Knoppix and presto, /dev/hdc is back! I rebooted into my real system and everything seemed fine after playing WoW, etc.

I went ahead and bought a new hard drive (after some persuasion from djedi) because if it's dying, it's dying (and there were definitely I/O errors on it before), so I have a new shiny 320GB SATA drive that I get to try to make my kernel work with. Hopefully I'll copy over data (takes foooorever) this weekend sometime.

I should add I'm a little irritated a hard drive I bought 15 months ago is dying already.


Comment from kernelm:

Ugh, dying hard drives are the biggest pains in the ass EVER.

A couple of years ago while I was still at ND, all of a sudden I started getting intermittent I/O errors on my laptop's drive. Then the drive started making weird clicking noises. I knew it was trouble, especially since I couldn't afford to buy an external to copy everything off to right then. Thankfully I had a nice pipe to one of my departmental servers so I immediately started scping over everything I could think of that I needed. In the end I got most of the really important stuff, but there were still some painful losses.

I'm still scared as heck now of losing my old laptop's drive or the external. One of these days I'm gonna build my dream RAID-10 multi-terabyte array. Muahahaha.

Comment from gregstoll:

Ugh. Yeah, my last backup of my important stuff was a few months ago...but even if it was current, having to reinstall and get everything set up again would make me cry cry cry.

Comment from kernelm:

I'm really bad at backups. Eep.

Hey, I don't know if you've seen this, but I just found a "Friends Wheel" app on Facebook that shows sort of the topology of your friend relationships. If they can do that, then I think it should be possible to do what you had been thinking about for an app.

Comment from gregstoll:

Neat! (although it's not working for me right now)

The problem is that there's no way to find out all the friends of a user other than yourself. So this app can look at all your friends, and then ask if they're friends with each other (since you can ask for two arbitrary user IDs whether they're friends), but the point of "friend of a friend" is to find out commonalities that aren't your friends already.

Comment from destroyerj:

It sure seems like hard drives are expected to fail much more quickly than they used to. =(

I think that products in general are being pushed too far into the convenience/cheap realm and getting too far away from reliability. It's great that things cost a lot less than they used to, but for some items especially (hard drives which can contain tons of important information), being able to replace them cheaply isn't a substitute for what's lost when you have to.

Comment from djedi:


This backup was done by LJBackup.