First things first...
YES, I'M AN IDIOT!
There, now that that's out of the way I can proceed.
One of the great things about hanging around in a large blogging community is that every now and then something happens to someone that stands as a valuable lesson for everyone else to learn from, so that we don’t have to repeat the same mistake ourselves.
I’m here to provide you one of those lessons now.
About a year ago I noticed the hard drive on my home PC was nearly full, and so I decided to buy one of those external USB hard drives and move my personal data over to that. Off went all of my pictures, documents, music, videos, source code for 5 web sites, email archives and hundreds of other miscellaneous files. My data was happily tucked away on a new home and my PC was breathing with ease once again.
It doesn’t take Nostradamus to know what’s coming next.
A few weeks ago I started noticing a “clicking” sound coming from behind my computer. For several days I thought it was coming from the new cable modem we had just received as a result of switching internet providers. Then one day I decided to find out once and for all what was making that noise, and determined it was my external hard drive instead. “Huh, that’s odd.” was about the extent of my reaction. Until a few days later when my computer finally stopped recognizing it all together.
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN LEARN FROM MY STUPIDITY!
If I had known that a clicking hard drive is a failing hard drive, I could have EASILY bought a new one and copied my data over the first time I heard it. However, because I had never seen, heard or read of this problem before, I instead ignored it to the point of where it will now cost me a minimum of $500 to hire a data recovery service to get my data back.
At this point I have 3 things I want to say:
1. Please please please make note of this so it doesn't happen to you. If you ever hear your hard drive "click" even once, drop whatever you're doing, acquire another one and make a copy IMMEDIATELY! Mine clicked for over a week before it stopped working, so you should be able to save all your data if you act right away - although there are no guarantees it will continue to work at all. Just don't keep using your hard drive as is. Once it starts clicking it is on its road to failure and needs to be replaced anyway.
2. If anyone of you know of a (much) less expensive data recovery service please let me know. At this point, even though this data is important to me, I simply cannot afford $500 to recover it. I was hoping I could get this done for around $100 but I was seriously mistaken. The local guys took a look at it and said it needs to be sent in to a service that uses a clean room and takes out the platters and puts them into another drive etc. That's why it's so expensive.
3. If you're like me and your data is important to you... ALWAYS keep a back up. With the cost of hard drives coming down so low these days, you should be able to afford to have a duplicate external hard drive to which you can periodically do a complete system save. This was my main point of failure and the very reason I called myself an idiot at the beginning of this post.
Bottom line... if this post helps even one person to not lose their entire hard drive I will be happy.
Please make me happy.