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.