Lorenzo Pirisino
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Hard Disk Failure

Posted on 2010/03/06 07:28:16 (March 2010).

[Friday 5th March 2010]

This week was highlighted by the new spell of flu that forced me at home for four days in a row. To be honest was much weaker than the one that I have had in December but since I am leaving to Asia next week there is little that I could have done but to play things safe.

But the topic of this short post is not so much my physical conditions, which are shite, but rather the first time that a computer died on me while I was using it.

I have bought my Mac Book more than 3 years ago, it worked like a charm ever since, kernel-panicking only a few times mostly for my mistakes than real OS problems. I still recommend a lot of my friends to buy one if they want something that "just works", mostly because I know that most of my friends would not be able to open a laptop PC anyway if something went wrong mechanically.
So my case is: if you need to bring it to the service centre anyway at least buy the one that has the least problems with it!

Well one year ago I bought some memory upgrade for my Mac and it wasn't all that easy to sneak the modules in the laptop, which kind of reminded me that if something happened to the HW I would also be in the position of having to service the computer, while any other PC laptop I owned came with reassuring fact that I could dismantle it and probably just repair the broken part.

Yesterday while I was working the Mac started acting funnily, and froze completely. I restarted, and nothing happened, grey screen...
Reset PRAM, nothing happens.

Finally I booted with the install CD to find out with my dismay that the HD unit was not mounted anymore. I had a feeling that was it simply by listening to the boot sequence, there were some strange mechanical noises that usually mean that the HD is dead.

No panic, I went on-line with another computer (we have 4 in the house now), found out where the HD is and took it out. Luckily one of my USB units bought in Japan is a new 13" SATA HD so I could replace it, re-install all the OSX and now the Mac works like a charm again with a bigger HD! :P

Of course I have also to thank the "shotgun backup unit" (2 500gb HD for mirroring the backup I do every day) I built with the help of Matteo (my computer genius friend, I am just a wannabe in comparison), because all my sensible data were there saved and secure. I really did a great thing to build one of those, now that I have had this HW failure I realize how important they are!

So in the end all went well and now I am re-installing everything to my little friend, the good side is that I did not loose all my touch with technology, which is nice!

Comment 1

Well done Lox. A man after my own heart!!

My feeling on this is that a full HD backup everyday for three years is certainly sensible but probably adds to hardware wear and tear.

It would be interesting to discover what temperature the HD runs at when installed - use one of those free utilities etc. (I forget the name now)

I remember an old expert telling me once - nothing kills electronics more than heat. Since then I have worked to make sure everything runs cool (which is easy to spot in my blog entries!)

Anyway, congrats on getting yourself back into working condition!!! Good to keep those skills honed!


Posted by Nigel at 2010/03/08 09:01:48.

Comment 2

Well, I do not backup the entire HD, only some selected directories, and running an rsync routine ensures that only the changes are written and the rest is kept as it is. The real hard work happens only the first time, then it's just updates. Backup unit does a cron job every hour, then at midnight copies the backup to the second HD (yes two backups basically) and then switches itself off. All done with HW that is power saving, fanless, green HDs. The problem with my mac was too much use for downloading torrents, that killed the HD heads, which is what was broken judging from the sound...

Posted by Lox at 2010/03/08 10:31:20.

Comment 3

I hope you don't expect me to comment this post...!

Posted by Sheri at 2010/03/08 15:29:35.

Comment 4

..."on" this post
(writing too fast)

Posted by Sheri at 2010/03/08 15:42:50.

Comment 5

Sheri: Well actually I would have hoped for some of your insights, especially those ones when you get totally rude or something like that! It must be the kids wearing you down!!!

Posted by Lox at 2010/03/08 17:54:08.

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