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roytheboy
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I thought I'd share this little tip for anyone with a failing hard drive. Last week my main desktop drive started clicking and freezing and clicking and locking up my Mac. I rushed out and bought a new drive, then loaded OSX Tiger onto it as I have been looking for an excuse to do so since it first came out. Tiger includes a nifty install feature that will transfer all your apps, settings (of every type) and folders from another drive or partition, saving you days of reinstallation and configuration, so it was very important to me that the drive kept working long enough to grab the data from it (everything was backed up but I was trying to save myself instal and config time here).

But the failing drive was on its last legs and would only work for about five minutes at a time, even after letting it cool down. I tried this for hours but it locked up time after time. Then I remembered an old trick we used in my fast-jet avionics days, when we would often freeze components (from transistors to rivets) to fit or remove them, or just to kick them into life. It occurred to me that the drive's moving parts might be affected by freezing, so I stuck it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then I removed it and held it in front of a fan until the condensation stopped coating it in water; then I dried it off and hoped that the hermetically sealed innards had been sealed properly. Then I connected it up and kept my fingers crossed.

It worked - Yay! I got half-an-hour's life out of it before it finally coughed and died. Long enough for Tiger to instal and configure itself (and everything else) to my liking. And my thoughts on Tiger? ...Wow! Spotlight: absolutely fantastic. Dashboard: toys for all but you won't believe what productivity enhancements you can download for free. Tiger is way cool. You Windows folk are so living in the past Laughing out loud

PS: I now have two identical drives and do an automated nightly copy of the primary using BounceBack. This gives me a bootable 'roll back' resource in case of drive failure, file corruption or accidental deletion. Given how cheap drives are now (£70 for 160Gb/8Mb), I would recommend others do something similar (as well as an off-site back-up of course).

Life's a b*tch and then you die!

Hugo
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Drive failure

Blooming Mac users so full of themselves :roll:

Neat trick with the cooling though, Of course all electronics work far better at zero or better temperatures but the wasn't aware it would help mechanics.

Do you not have partition/ drive img backups though ? that is my fall back just pop in new drive and run the bootable cd image two secs and job done, of course this is a secondary backup to a mirrored RAID array. Do Macs have RAID controllers ?

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roytheboy
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Drive failure

Hugo - you know more than I do about this stuff: how can you fit a drive worth of data (say 80Gb worth) onto a CD? Presumably the image is just a collection of resource forks and directory structure information that can be used to recompile the new drive from other back-up data? If so, how convenient is this with a drive that changes by the day or hour? Tell me more.

Despite being backed up to the hilt with my clustered web servers (RAID 1, nightly internal roll backs, weekly off-site backups, realtime file-tree and database replication to a hot standby etc.), I have not given the same thought to my desktop machines. Yes, Macs can easily be configured for RAID 1 (or RAID Innocent, but I am led to believe that this comes at a slight overhead of operational speed as it is software RAID. Plus you don't then get the roll-back facility.

RAID 1 or roll-back? ... both have their pros and cons. This time I have opted for the roll-back method and also manually trigger BounceBack during the day if I am working locally on an important project (it only takes five minutes).

Any comments welcomed as I don't profess to have all the best answers.

As for Mac owners: like ex-smokers who have kicked the habit, the most vociferous critics of Windows tend to be those who used to use it every day before discovering OSX. What does that tell you?

PS: metal shrinks when frozen. Bearings are metal.

Life's a b*tch and then you die!

Anonymous
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Drive failure

Thanks for the tip! Laughing out loud

I do have an old hard drive that I couldn't stand to throw away after it quit. I wonder what is on it. Laughing out loud

roytheboy wrote:
As for Mac owners: like ex-smokers who have kicked the habit, the most vociferous critics of Windows tend to be those who used to use it every day before discovering OSX. What does that tell you?
I've been a Mac zealot since 1986...never used Windows until someone gave me an old PC...but that has Linux on it now. I've been through Mac OS 7, 8 and 9 before OS X. I'd rather go back to Mac OS 7 before I'd use Windows.

I only keep a Windows machine for testing web pages now. I don't think I've used it for about 5 or 6 months. Laughing out loud

roytheboy
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Drive failure

Triumph wrote:
I've been a Mac zealot since 1986...never used Windows until someone gave me an old PC...but that has Linux on it now. I've been through Mac OS 7, 8 and 9 before OS X. I'd rather go back to Mac OS 7 before I'd use Windows. I only keep a Windows machine for testing web pages now.

I started on OS 6 and agree that even that is better than Windows. Like you, I have a PC (Win 98 and Win 2000) for checking sites, but I also end up trying to help clients with their Windows problems - which usually leaves me cursing and spitting blood at how illogical, non-userfriendly and unnecessarily complicated the whole MS OS methodology is. Oh, and did I say insecure as well Wink

Macs aren't perfect but they're in a different league to Windows, even if the typical PC user might think they look similar.

Life's a b*tch and then you die!

Hugo
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Drive failure

Smile I was just reacting with envy to the "oooh my Mac is so lovely, oooh my Mac OSX Tiger is wonderful, oooh and there are so many lovely productivity tools, oooh it will copy all your old drive data and settings over , ooh, oooh, oooh, brigade. bah, I want one, can't afford one, too many other pressing things to purchase first.

Quote:
how can you fit a drive worth of data (say 80Gb worth) onto a CD?

You can't Smile but that's why I always partition the drive into small chunks it's surprising what you can squeeze onto a cd, I have a full win 98 set up + software on a bootable cd, but XP not possible has to go on DVD as it so needlessly bloated. Your right though this is of limited use if one changes configurations often. It is a byte by byte copy of the partition and in that respect great as it will restore the partition exactly, but does require new copies being made if things change much , I tend to make a fresh copy monthly but no more than that, As I never store programme data on the OS partition. So the only real changes are things such as FF updates but that is all backed off to secondary drive it's not the final answer to backup but does allow me to recover pretty quickly along with backups and saved programme configurations saved off to separate partitions on secondary hard drive.

Backup strategy is a nightmare really as there is not one single set process, but rather has to be developed per system. Your setup covers things as completely as one can ever hope to really.

I don't use RAID 1 myself but it's attractive in that it does not need to rebuild just chuck a new drive in and copy over, yet as you say the downside with software RAID is that it uses CPU cycles and does impact on the system.

I think that at the end of the day you probably are just as safe with rollback. RAID 1 is great if you have a catastrophic failure of a drive even if it is software RAID and you can afford the cpu hit.

At the end of the day my approach has been to manoeuver into a position where I don't feel worried if I loose a OS as I'll just move on to a standby copy on the next partition or restore from an img. If I loose the drive completely swap the drives over and re-partition.

"Metal shrinks" basic physics, expansion and contraction, should have thought of that, still it's a trick to bear in mind and probably wouldn't have occurred to me.

Now can everyone stop going on about how lovely OSX Tiger is, until that is, I can afford to join the gang Sad

Bugger I've just been logged out of the session :mad:

Hugo.

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HellsBells
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Drive failure

Just thought I'd add that I just got myself a little ibook with Tiger on it. Very cool, it connected itself up to my pc network and broadband in about 30 seconds flat - very easy. I honestly thought adding a mac to a pc network would be difficult - wrong again!

Dashboard is very cool - so many gadgets! I thought I might find it difficult having only ever used PCs but so far it's been fine - got Firefox and Tbird installed and all is well!

My strategy is so simple an idiot could have devised it!

"Also, your CSS (no offence) makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon" - TPH