DonAithnen (donaithnen) wrote,
DonAithnen
donaithnen

Computer Failure

Around the middle of last week my PC at home brought up a warning that an imminent hard drive failure was detected and recommending that i start a backup and then shut down the computer. The affected drive? C. Yay =P

I did do the backup which seemed to succeed but was of such a small size that it clearly didn't contain everything important on that drive. So i started copying folders off of C and onto E. (I have three hard drives, each 1 TB.) I did that off and on for thursday and friday evening. Of course i did not shut the computer down because i was worried, given that the problem was the C drive, that once i shut it down i might never be able to get it back up again.

I finished copying all the regular data over friday night and started looking into how to do a full system backup. It turned out i couldn't do that because the backup size would be larger than the space available on the E drive. It basically wanted to back up everything on C. So first i deleted all the data folders i'd just copied over. Then i went through Steam uninstalling a lot of the larger games that i haven't played a lot of.

Early saturday morning i finally finished clearing out enough stuff that the system backup would supposedly fit on the 290 GB i had free on E. So i started the backup, and after awhile the computer blue-screened and shut down.

I tried starting it up again. It displayed a hard drive error. I tried rebooting. It booted up and got to what ought to have been the login screen but instead displayed a black screen with a mouse on it. After sitting there for quite awhile it crashed. I rebooted. This time it gave me a message about not having been shut down properly and gave me the option to start in Safe Mode. (Note to self, i need to find the key combo to force a Safe Mode start.) It actually booted up!

The first thing i noticed was that the E drive had about 10 GB left. Did the system backup finish before the crash? Or did it reserve the space first but crash before it finished the copy? I thought maybe if i started the Backup and Restore dialog maybe it would tell me if the backup was valid or not. Unfortunately either Backup and Restore is not a valid option in Safe Mode or that portion of the hard drive has been toasted, because although i could find the option in the start menu nothing happened when i tried to run it. So i tried rebooting again hoping that maybe now that it had successfully started in safe mode a more regular mode would work. No such luck.

I got busy with weekend activities at that point, but i'm thinking of trying to start in Safe Mode again so i can try individually copying game save files out of the relevant spots in Program Folders.

And now i need to figure out how to go about repairs. About a month ago i started thinking about the possibility of getting a new computer. This was spurred by my computer "coincidentally" detecting some bad disk sectors and needing to go through a disk check. At the time i decided i would wait until next year when Windows 10 comes out and see if it really fixes enough of the issues with Windows 8 to be worth upgrading from 10. Now however i have to reconsider.

Other options include getting a single replacement drive, either a Seagate (which is the kind that is failing out from under me right now, though after 4 years of use) or a Western Digital (which cost almost twice as much.) Or get two large drives which i can use to back up all the data i currently have (due to the concern that since i got three identical drives the other two might be about to start going downhill as well.) Or perform a "minor" upgrade and get a solid state drive for the boot drive and one or two other drives for storage. Or the aforementioned whole new computer.

So i went onto PCs for Everyones (the site where i got the computer from 4 years ago) and looked at the options and did some initial pricing, for both parts and a _very_ basic outlining of a new computer. (PCs for Everyone gives you a lot of options on a lot of initial configurations, final pricing on that could go up or down.)

Poll #1984720 What Shall We Do With A Dead Computer?

The Best Option

Live without a computer for about a year (ha ha, fat chance.) (Free)
0(0.0%)
Get 1 or more new hard drives ($70 - 360)
1(20.0%)
Get 1 or more new hard drives and a solid state drive ($140 extra)
3(60.0%)
Get a new computer now and upgrade to Windows 10 later (if it seems worthwhile) ($1900-$2000)
1(20.0%)

Good Options

Live without a computer for about a year (ha ha, fat chance.) (Free)
0(0.0%)
Get 1 or more new hard drives ($70 - 360)
4(57.1%)
Get 1 or more new hard drives and a solid state drive ($140 extra)
1(14.3%)
Get a new computer now and upgrade to Windows 10 later (if it seems worthwhile) ($1900-$2000)
2(28.6%)

If going with new hard drives, what should it be?

Single 1 TB Seagate Drive ($70)
0(0.0%)
Single 1 TB Western Digital Drive ($100)
1(14.3%)
Single 2 TB Seagate Drive ($100)
0(0.0%)
Single 2 TB Western Digital Drive ($180)
3(42.9%)
Two 2 TB Seagate Drives ($200)
1(14.3%)
Two 2 TB Western Digital Drives ($360)
2(28.6%)

What Shall We Do With a Catnipped Kitty?

Blow some bubbles and watch him chase them
4(44.4%)
Touch him on the back and watch him jump high
0(0.0%)
Pry him off your bleeding shoulders
1(11.1%)
Put him in his cat bed till he's sober
1(11.1%)
Put him there again when he jumps out
2(22.2%)
Ticky-Box
1(11.1%)


Or to put it shortly, i could spent $70 at a bare minimum and hope to limp along another year, $200-360 if i want to make sure i can back up everything i have right now, $500 to back up all the data and switch to solid state for the boot drive, or ~$2000 for an all new computer.

If anyone is curious, these are the two possible configurations i've come up with for a potential new computer so far:

http://www.pcsforeveryone.com/system/certera-9510/39285
http://www.pcsforeveryone.com/system/certera-7518/39284
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