Thursday, 16 July 2009

Another drive crash and the way I fixed it..

Yesterday I bought two new 1TB drives to get more space, since I was getting low on it (had 0.7GB to be exact.....). Since 1TB is quite an upgrade I changed (or was planning to) practically all my drives configuration. Previously I had:
1x 160GB - OS drive
1x 320GB in RAID1 - Work Drive
1x 320GB in RAID1 - Work Drive
1x 160GB - random stuff

The new plan was to replace some drives and set everything like this:

1x 160GB - OS drive
1x 1TB - Work Drive
1x 320GB - random stuff
1x 1TB - BackUp drive

I'd be left with 1x 320GB which I might use as another (have 3 already) external drives for backup and 1x 160GB - which I'm now thinking of using as a clone copy for OS drive. Just can't decide to set it externally or internally.

So I started with the work. I was a bit worried that something would go wrong with disabling the raid array but that worked great. I removed one drive and installed the 1TB instead. Booted and it worked. But then I notice my "Random stuff" drive was missing from Explorer. When I say "Random stuff" I mean my LR Database (!!!), my downloads (!) and some other stuff which really is random and can be lost without harm.
Anyhow, I wasn't too worried, this has happened MANY times before, usually it's just some easy-fixable glitch, something with the settings or drive path or mbr. I used WD Diagnostic tools, as I usually do, it did it stuff, but then posted "Drive FAILED". Man, my heart stopped! I then used check disk from windows, this one is usually good as well, but it couldn't even find the drive! I was getting more and more worried. I went online, google of course, read for an hour, tried a dozen or so programs, NOTHING worked. Images of file structures flashed in my mind, all the stuff I lost, LR thumbnails (during my lowest moment, I even calculated it would take about 78 hours to rebuild the thumbnail database), print screens of stupid archival moment, patches, firmware and add-ons for my phones, pda, notebook and other devices. This sucks! I kept telling myself, in the back of my mind, it's all replaceable, it's all replaceable..
Then a beacon of hope emerged, a forum, a post, a user with exact same problems and, as apposed as on other forums, a SOLUTION! A program which restored EVERYTHING. I downloaded the demo, ran it, hold and behold, it found all my 3 partitions and all the date! WOOHOOO!!! Then a sobering moment.. the price. Of course, demo version wouldn't actually DO anything. It's just there to tease you, and to make matters worse, with your own data! Back to the price.. 210euros.. yes, 210euros.. Is it worth it? Hmm.. the dilemma moment. A pad emerged, pen followed, two columns, pluses and minuses. As much as I tried, minuses were way in front. Decision was made, purchase denied.. I went back to google, browsed around, found a little tiny program called TestDisk. Since it was free I downloaded it and ran it. Just for fun of course, this can't possible compare to 210euros worth of programmers code. Dos prompt oped, some lines of text, I clicked away. It posted something about partitions, I didn't really pay that much of attention. I said to reboot, so I did. Got back to XP, opened explorer and there it was.. yes, you guessed it, my drive restored!!! All three partitions, all the data, it was all there! I couldn't believe it. A FREE program fixed my drive! For FREE! It sure made my day. Did I mention if was FREE?? Drive fixed, I returned to my work, copying files all over the place. Happy to report - system is up and running and I have 650GB+ of free space for my work files and everything is backed up to another drive as well. Mission accomplished.
I left out the name of the 210euro program on purpose! For that price, they don't deserve ANY free advertising. The program that actually did the same thing, or even better, fixed my drive is TestDisk.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Packing for a shoot

Been so busy lately, with all kinds of stuff, I haven't been shooting virtually nothing at all. Finally I have a big shoot coming up, so I'm getting some of my basic stuff together. I remembered I never really photographed my gear, not even for insurance purposes, and I noticed everyone is doing this lately. So here it goes, my basic gear that I'm planning to take to a shoot.
I kept the big stuff out, like big stands, softboxes, background system, etc..
And I kept lots of small stuff out as well, simply since I was too lazy to get everything together. I'll photograph that at a later date.

This is what I'm planning to put everything in.. hopefully.. minus the tripod, reflectors and reflector hand. That goes with the other stands stuff.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

External drive speed test

Since I tested the Compact Flash cards in my previous post, I'll post the test result for my external 1TB WD drive here.
It's now about a month I have it and I have to say I'm really happy with it. It's virtually silent, you can hardly even hear it. After the todays test I can also say it's really fast.
I was just comparing it with a friends 1TB WD My Book Studio Edition and his results are much worse. He gets 42,2MB burst speed and 40,5MB average read speed. So there you go, he paid almost 50% more then I did and mine's better, faster and with 5-year warranty ;)

SanDisk Compact Flash cards and Firewire reader test

It's been an ancient mystery, a question in the history books, a dilemma of all mankind,.. and we're here to answer it.. well, at least in my case and on my machine. Memory cards..
We all have them, we all need them, we all want them more. The biggest (well, not really), the fastest (true, true..), the best (that goes without saying).
I've been a long time buyer of SanDisk. I had their 128MB cards, 256 cards, to the newest 1GB and 4GB cards. I mainly use 4GB cards since I get around 250-300 shoots on one and that for me is the "right" number. If card fails, gets stolen, or something else, I won't die, I'll have stuff on other cards. If that happens to your brand new 16 or ever 32GB card, well, you were warned many times. It really takes seconds to replace a card, why risk it.
Anyhow, I used to use SanDisk USB2 reader and for 1GB card it was ok. When I switched to 4GB I started to notice how long it really takes to transfer pics to PC. TOO LONG. So I switched to SanDisk firewire. Man, it's a joy to watch how pictures just fly into PC. I never really tested how long it actually takes, I know it's long enough for me to get a cup of coffee and that's fine by me. But I've still been curious. So today, after I was testing my new 1TG external drive, I gave my compact flash cards a drive as well.

I used HD Tach and here are the results:

SanDisk CF 4GB Extreme III 30MB version

SanDisk CF 4GB Extreme III 20MB version

SanDisk CF 1GB Extreme III 20MB version

SanDisk CF 1GB Ultra II

You noticed something interesting? I sure did! Ultra II and Extreme III 20MB version are practically identical! That's kinda strange, but I did test it a couple of times.. Extreme III 30MB version really outperforms others, so it's the one I'll stick too for the future.
Hope you learned something as I did ;)