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Machinery enthusiast
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Yep, the old Hitachi HDD took a dump on me last week but it wasn't all of a sudden. Had I paid more attention to the symptoms when the Dell laptop started acting up it probably would have made the job easier. I'm one who likes to replace like for like so I went with a new HDD with the exact same part number and found it for a real good price on amazon, got it in a day & 1/2 free shipping. I thought about going with one of those SSD (or whatever they're called) but again, that creature of habit thing...LOL.

I also debated about going to WIN10 as I know WIN 7 looses ms support at the end of the year but 3 things made my decision to stay WIN 7 and deal with the future in the future....

1) I had the software.
2) I run several app's that won't work on WIN10 and I use those apps very regularly. I don't want to buy new programs of ones I'm used to...
3) I hate WIN10 on my old desktop..... I made the mistake of agreeing to a free download of WIN10 on my perfectly working WIN7 desktop server and one day when I woke up it became a very slow tempermental unreliable WIN10 machine that I waited too late to revert it back so I became stuck with it. I figure the hardware was borderline to run WIN10 but ms downloaded it anyway.
I also discovered several programs no longer ran on it and of course they were ones I used.

So anyways, on the new HDD install it took 2 days to get all the necessary ms updates and Dell driver updates but I finally have the laptop operating again.
I was lucky in that I was able to get all my files off the old HDD by using a USB to HDD adapter cable. That took several hrs and the HDD bit the dust afterwards (knock on wood).

I'm exploring a good backup solution and if anyone reading this rant has a recommendation feel free to share.

Rant over.
Dave

PS, why is it when an HDD looses sectors and/or has other problems it's always in the boot sector and theres no fixing it?
 

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Choke's stuck on!
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I've been using SSDs since they came out and 16GB was several hundred dollars. I would never go back to a spinning disk drive, but to each their own...

For the backup: Google drive has an auto sync feature that is very easy to use.

Or if you want to keep files local, invest in a dedicated drive in the machine (if the laptop has an optical drive you don't use, you can put another drive in there with an adapter), or in another network connected machine. Run Microsoft Synctoy (you have to download it) as a scheduled task daily.

Good call on staying Win7. Though it will be unsupported, if you keep your router firmware updated, stay off dark web etc., and recognize phishing you'll be fine.
 

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Dave, there are ways to repair the master boot record. A search online will show a few options. Other than that, as Rob pointed out, you can still use your old drive as a backup drive. This happened to me after a Win10 update bricked the drive. You will need an empty drive bay in the tower to hold the old drive. The computer will boot from the new drive and should recognize the old one and give it a drive letter. Then you can backup files to it.
 

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Machinery enthusiast
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Discussion Starter #4
Rob, good ideas on the backup solutions, I'll check them all out.

Al, I tried to repair that HDD in every way I could find and try, (for free that is). It now appears to have fully bit the dust as I can no longer access it using a USB to HDD adapter cable. Luckily I got all the files and folders off of it before I lost access. I'm thinking on trying to reformat it to see if I can use it for backups etc., I've got other pressing honey-do's and projects awaiting attention so I'm saving that HDD repair for a rainy day LOL.

Dave
 

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To each their own, but using a failing drive for backup purposes seems a bit odd to me :) If you leave that drive disconnected, and just grab it when you do a backup, then you *know* it will be dead when you suddenly need it.

I'm a big fan of SSDs. *So* much faster, and no moving parts. So if the laptop gets bounced around, the drive won't care. And prices have dropped impressively (IMO), a friend just bought a 500GB drive for $70.

I should look into Synctoy. I use FreeFileSync, to keep my backup drive synced to the original drives. It runs automatically overnight. And because it compares both drives, and only copies the new/updated files, it typically only takes minutes to run. The backup drive is on a computer on my network, so that drive is always available, and doesn't get in my way.

But I'm also a fan of cloud backup. Google will backup an unlimited # of photos for free, if you let them adjust the compression and limit the cloud-copy resolution to 16MP. But cloud backups have several advantages. Since the software can just run in the background, it can constantly keep the cloud up-to-date. For many people, backups are run manually, which means they don't happen often enough :) And in the event of something catastrophic (flood, fire, theft), where you lose the computer *and* the backup drive, you'll still have your files.

If you subscribe to Office 365 ($70/year), you get Word, Excel, Outlook, etc, and you also get 1TB of cloud OneDrive storage. Since some cloud backup services can be a similar price, here you also get your office software, which is nice.
 

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Yeah, if there is any sign of the drive itself having problems, you want to copy all the data off the drive ASAP, and then remove it from service. Then only use it for parts (magnets, bearings, even disc platters (can make a balancer out of 4 of them), stuff like that.
 

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I would never even consider using a failing/failed HDD as a backup solution. That is just asking to lose your data.

Solid State technology has progressed a LONG way from when it first came out. At this point, it isn't that much more expensive than a mechanical drive, is MORE reliable, and orders of magnitude faster. The performance improvement by itself makes it worth the investment. After installing one in my laptop, I was so impressed by it, I switched ALL of my machines to solid state drives. (even made my wife happy. :) )

Disadvantage of SSD? If it fails, that's it, yer done. With a mechanical hdd, there is some hope of recovering your data, on an SSD? Nope. It's gone. So, backups are a VERY good idea.

If your data is important to you, more than one backup solution is a requirement. Having a second drive in the same machine is ok, but, if that machine takes a power hit, that smokes the primary drive, or a powersupply failure, or anything similar, it's quite likely that BOTH drives are going to fail...... So, an external HDD, that ISN'T always plugged in is a better idea.

Having an online backup is a very good idea. There are free solutions, but, they don't give you a lotta space. For paid solutions, I rather like Carbonite. Not hideously expensive, fully automatic. Install it once, set it up, and forget about it. Also has the advantage of your files being accessible from anywhere.

As for HDD's, Hitachi, HGST, and Toshiba drives are terrible, and the larger they are, the more terrible they are. I can't count the number of them I have replaced.... and they weren't that old. Seagate is generally pretty good, Western Digital (black, or gold drives.) used to be good, but, they got bought out, and I don't know how good they will remain. The Blue or green drives are best avoided......
 

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You can always backup critical documents and pics to a 128 USB drive for about $25.00 and just keep it with you, gives you access to your files if needed and doesn't make them available to hackers when they create the next breach in the cloud or guess your password. If you do store in the cloud make sure to use Multi-factor authentication. That's even being broken but it is better than just a username and password.
 

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Agreed that having a second "offline" backup drive is a good idea, if possible. It's immune to a power surge, or malware that encrypts all the files it can access, etc.

The downside is that anything that requires manual interaction (connect it and run the backup) means that your backup is much more likely to be old and out of date when you need it :)

There are certainly security concerns with cloud backup. Though I'm finding the ability to access the same files from home, from work, or from my phone, is convenient. And security is an issue for your financial documents, etc. But for backing up family photos, it's probably less of a concern, and those are things you might really miss if they disappeared.

Google will backup an unlimited amount of photos for free, at reduced quality, if you choose to use the reduced-quality setting. It's free, and at least you have *something* if your drive suddenly failed.
 

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Hi all, well I finally got around to installing my new SSD last week started out ok then things went south notice said it was not a genuine copy of windows googled that and the fix was to find and remove update KB971033 did that and that notice was gone ok more updates and no mouse touch pad or wifi did a start up repair and restore got the mouse and touch pad back no wifi then a new message you may be the victim of software piracy and I had 27 days left to activate. After some doing finally got a response from the seller went thur numerous tries finally he figured out that my laptop did not originally have windows installed (it had Vista) provided me with a new activation code and all is well got the drivers updated and got my wifi back after uninstalling the network in device manger. I have to say I like the SSD as everyone said it is much faster
 

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HI PA318Guy thanks for the reminder seems I always forget or put that off util I need it then its oh crap, I created a repair disc will it work on both my Dell E6400 laptops or should I made one for each
I'm also doing a mirror image on an external HHD
 

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Thanks PAguy, that's what I'll do finally got a mirror image backup completed took 3 trys, will do the same on this machine soon
 
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