My hard disk started acting oddly a few days ago and now works at best erratically. Fortunately I had a backup – make sure you have a backup for your main computer and do that backing up frequently! But I spent most of yesterday getting a new drive to back up my backup onto so I could try backing up my main disk onto my backup disk without losing the earlier backup that was on it (if you see what I mean).
Now I am working from my backup but I want to make as few changes as possible to my disk in case I can get the data off my original drive successfully later. This is a hassle but is less tricky than it once would have been. A lot of my work is in email (which I can do via the web). I have an “MP3 player/storage device”:http://blog.org/archives/000901.html which may have more recent copies of some of my most used files on it and which I can use for temporary storage. My most up to date contact and calendar information is backed up on my Palm along with many of my most frequently used documents. Some of my email is in an exchange server at the LSE. And of course I haven’t lost any of the data on this weblog because it isn’t on my machine either.
Without really thinking about it I have come to realise my data is no longer centralised on my computer – it has spread itself into a kind of web across several devices. Sometimes that can be quite handy!
Later: It’s a bit like coming home after a small robbery. At first everything seems fine then you find out that things in odd corners are lost or broken. In my case, so far, I have lost a few Mozilla settings and (more serious) all of my Eudora email folders seem to be corrupted and some ‘ghost’ folders and messages of gibberish have appeared. So far after rebuilding the email database for my inbox only a small amount of damage seems to have been done but the depressing thing of course is that (as with a real or virtual breakin or virus damage or whatever) you can never be sure what it is you are missing or what problems you will stumble across next. Very traumatic!
P.S. Another discovery – a 160Gb hard drive (that could store all my data twice over) costs just 75 quid these days – the simple caddy that it fit into (it’s removeable) cost me nearly half that!
Thanks to “Simon Bisson”:http://www.sandm.co.uk/simon/index.html who helped calm me down when the problem first became apparent…