Lessons learned from a hard drive crash

Art Rock

Sr. Regulator
Staff member
Sr. Regulator
Fortunately, I had backed up my important files (especially my pictures), but I still found out I made two errors - the hard way. So let me share it:

[1] If you rip a lot of your CD's to the computer for easy compilation or MP3 player use - make a back-up of those files. That may sound absurd as you still have the original CD's, but as I am in the process of re-ripping the lot, let me assure you, just a few DVD's burned with your MP3 files as back up saves an immense amount of time if disaster strikes.

[2] Make a list of your favourite web sites. Sure, most you can find again, but not those that you managed to find via via. I am now backing up all relevant links on a dedicated blog page.

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha Art Rock,

I grieve with you that you had a very unfortunate experience with your hard-drive. Thank you for offering such sage advice on what to do to facilitate the process of getting *up to speed* again.


CD :tiphat::tiphat::tiphat:


New member
[2] Make a list of your favourite web sites. Sure, most you can find again, but not those that you managed to find via via. I am now backing up all relevant links on a dedicated blog page.

You can just backup your favorites/bookmarks to a disk or USB stick. In case of a crash, you can have them all back with a few mouse clicks.


Staff member
Hi Art Rock,

Hearing about this disaster of yours instills in me the urgency of obtaining an external hard drive ... one can get 500GB externals for pretty cheap these days. Bookmarks are replaceable, but data and pictures are not.

My irreplaceable huge recorded music files are stored on another site (boxnet) where I lease drive space for that purpose.

I like Aristide's thought on using the memory stick (flash drive)- I regularly use one for file transfers between other machines - mine is a 1GB I bought for about $13 (USD).


New member
Hey Guys,

I'd like to jump in here and share a little experience I had along these lines. After having a crash of my HDD I had to restore the computer to factory settings (Dell). Of course, that meant that I lost all of my software. I did have an external drive that had a backup of my original drive. My external was a Seagate Barracude 1 Terrabyte. After only 2 months, one day I booted the machine and there was no external drive being seen by my laptop.

After several (million) googles, I found out that this is actually a common problem. It has something to do with the firmware. Seagate offerred to replace the drive. Knowing the techie on the phone couldn't make any real decisions in all likelihood, I asked for a Manager. When I repeated what they had just told me, "that they were going to replace an external drive with KNOWN issues that would or might fail at any point in time" I asked him if he realized just how idiotic that sounded.

He thought about it and then said that he would send a Seagate Maxxtor drive, which he did. But after researching on the web, I found that this too, was not totally free from the same issue. So I now have a $150 door stop. Like I'm going to backup my data onto a disk that will most likely fail in the future? Not very likely.

So, I got myself two Western Digital 1 terrabyte HDDs. My laptop is a mere 125 gig. One of my externals is a continuation of my laptop for large programmes, and has over 60 gigs of our music collection of CDs. We sold the actual discs last year to save space. Then, of course, there are about 30 gigs of photos. And since computers are only machines, one should expect that at some point you will experience some type of "melt down" to occur.

Luckily, Joe also has a copy of our media library on his computer, as well as backed up onto an external drive. So I reinstalled all my apps and media and did a mirror copy of the external HDD to yet another 1 terrabyte external HDD which has been compressed to double the storage size. I quickly realized that even this solution wasn't safe enough as my programmes alone total somewhere around 800 gigs, what with the sample libraries that my music apps contain.

So I deleted my mirror image, installed the backup app onto the compressed drive (just in case) and immediately did a full backup of my internal and external HDDs to the compressed drive. I scheduled weekly backups of any changes that occur during the week.

Now I do regular maintenance as recommended by MajorGeeks.com and have my machine optimzed and protected big-time. I will most likely be buying yet another computer, a quad core tower, for use with hauptwerk only. It will have one drive for the operating system, one drive for all the sample files and organ installations, and yet another for backup purposes.

Computers are wonderful. We have come to depend on them for everything. They are wonderful, of course, when they work. But if you don't think proactively, you will surely be in for some ultimate desperation and angst in the future.

When we go to the expense of purchasing software and have weeks/months/years of work sitting on a hard drive, it only makes sense to have this information residing someplace else in the event of catastrophy. Think of it as a "safe deposit box" which most people have in a vault to secure their most valuable papers, etc.

Believe me, learning this all the hard way is asking for lots of depression and frustration. But where would we all be without our beloved computers?

Since external HDDs are so affordable now, EVERYONE should have at least one and need to be vigilant about doing backups. It shouldn't be like purchasing a membership to a gym and then only going for a month or two. You really DO have to keep up with it.

Since I have now had to reset to factory settings twice, I won't be caught with my pants down again.

Actually, the more I think of it, I will probably get one more external to keep as a mirror of my programmes, just in case. Do you have any idea how many days it takes to reinstall 98 gigs of programmes, 250 gigs of instrument library files, and then all the media files? Long enough to make you feel like slitting your wrists!!!!!

So, please be prudent and backup your data! Or feel the pain, indeed.
Last edited: