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    A lucky escape

    This is a discussion on A lucky escape within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; Thought I'd recount my recent experience in case it's of use or interest to other Skyuser members. A couple of ...

    1. #1
      Saturday's Avatar
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      A lucky escape

      Thought I'd recount my recent experience in case it's of use or interest to other Skyuser members.

      A couple of years ago I installed a S.M.A.R.T. monitor on my main PC and its been sitting there quietly ever since and I'd pretty much forgotten about it. Until yesterday when its alarm went off.

      All of a sudden the reallocated sector count on my OS drive went from zero to two. Over the course of an hour or so this rose to twelve, then I started to see the current pending sector count and uncorrectable sector count start to rise at an alarming rate. Knowing this was likely an impending catastrophic disc failure I shut down the PC while I worked out my options.

      I run daily and weekly backups of my data so I knew I was pretty safe there but I have a large number of programmes that I'd hate to have to reinstall/gather the licences for, plus my OS is an OEM so a) I don't have a system disk and b) MS don't consider that licence to be valid to install on another drive. So my best option was to try and clone the OS disc - which I presumed would be a nightmare.

      Being a holiday weekend and in a bit of a hurry I bought a new drive in PC World (I know) and put it the PC as the secondary drive, powered the PC up and quickly installed Acronis True Image*. It recognised both drives, I hit "clone" and of it went to work. After an hour or so it started to report it was unable to read some sectors, I didn't want to risk aborting the clone to try a sector repair, so I told it to just skip them. An hour later it said it was finished so I powered off the PC, put the new drive in as primary drive replacing the old one and powered up - fully expecting it to fail. Amazingly it all came back to life. The only issue I could find was that a key file for Windows Update was corrupt so I needed to repair that. I guess there must be some other corrupted files on there but they haven't made themselves known yet.

      I have to admit I'm chuffed to bits. No software reinitialisations, no hours of customisation and set ups to do, no data to reload. If I hadn't had the S.M.A.R.T. monitor I'd never have known the drive was failing until it was too late.


      * other software available - however Acronis is pretty good, is a doddle to use and happens to be free if you have a WD drive in your PC.


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    3. #2
      paulcarrm9mx's Avatar
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      Re: A lucky escape

      Quote Originally Posted by Saturday View Post
      Thought I'd recount my recent experience in case it's of use or interest to other Skyuser members.

      A couple of years ago I installed a S.M.A.R.T. monitor on my main PC and its been sitting there quietly ever since and I'd pretty much forgotten about it. Until yesterday when its alarm went off.

      All of a sudden the reallocated sector count on my OS drive went from zero to two. Over the course of an hour or so this rose to twelve, then I started to see the current pending sector count and uncorrectable sector count start to rise at an alarming rate. Knowing this was likely an impending catastrophic disc failure I shut down the PC while I worked out my options.

      I run daily and weekly backups of my data so I knew I was pretty safe there but I have a large number of programmes that I'd hate to have to reinstall/gather the licences for, plus my OS is an OEM so a) I don't have a system disk and b) MS don't consider that licence to be valid to install on another drive. So my best option was to try and clone the OS disc - which I presumed would be a nightmare.

      Being a holiday weekend and in a bit of a hurry I bought a new drive in PC World (I know) and put it the PC as the secondary drive, powered the PC up and quickly installed Acronis True Image*. It recognised both drives, I hit "clone" and of it went to work. After an hour or so it started to report it was unable to read some sectors, I didn't want to risk aborting the clone to try a sector repair, so I told it to just skip them. An hour later it said it was finished so I powered off the PC, put the new drive in as primary drive replacing the old one and powered up - fully expecting it to fail. Amazingly it all came back to life. The only issue I could find was that a key file for Windows Update was corrupt so I needed to repair that. I guess there must be some other corrupted files on there but they haven't made themselves known yet.

      I have to admit I'm chuffed to bits. No software reinitialisations, no hours of customisation and set ups to do, no data to reload. If I hadn't had the S.M.A.R.T. monitor I'd never have known the drive was failing until it was too late.


      * other software available - however Acronis is pretty good, is a doddle to use and happens to be free if you have a WD drive in your PC.
      Software download link would be helpful thanks

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      Re: A lucky escape

      The S.M.A.R.T. monitor I use is CrystalDiskInfo but I wouldn't recommend the current version as it comes loaded with Adware (Opencandy and other stuff) and I've no idea where you can get the old clean version from. There are other similar tools but I have no experience of them so can't offer an opinion.

      Acronis is available from their site (paid version) or the WD site for the free version (only usable if one of the drives is a WD). Other similar and free software you can look at is DriveImage XML though it's not as easy to use, (I think you have to manually set the drive boot sectors) and has less functionality than the full Acronis suite. Acronis will safely clone to a larger disk than the source and automatically resize the partitions etc which can be useful if you'd like a larger drive but don't have any bays available.

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      Re: A lucky escape

      You can of course enable S.M.A.R.T. in the BIOS. It will warn you if your disk is going to fail, but is not as useful as a software solution..

      TomD


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      Re: A lucky escape

      best to run disk check in windows every month that will give you advance warning of drive/sector failures check both boxes for full scan , this also can hopefully keep data from being corrupted to access click computer then right click hard drive C select tools

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      Re: A lucky escape

      Quote Originally Posted by tenar View Post
      best to run disk check in windows every month that will give you advance warning of drive/sector failures check both boxes for full scan , this also can hopefully keep data from being corrupted to access click computer then right click hard drive C select tools
      Windows 8 users (yes I am one LOL) cannot do it this way. Win 8 checks periodically automatically but if you want to check your hard drives manually in Win8 then open my computer right click on the disk you want to check then left click on properties. Click the tools tab and check disk and defrag are in that box. Windows 8 will warn you automatically if there are errors on your disk and it wil say that no errors have been found when you go to disk properties but says if you want to check manually click here.


      Pete

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      Re: A lucky escape

      Quote Originally Posted by tenar View Post
      best to run disk check in windows every month that will give you advance warning of drive/sector failures
      No, don't agree with that at all. My drive started to fail very rapidly and unless I'd happened to check it that day it would have failed before the next check. Disk check is also a very basic check compared to a full S.M.A.R.T. analysis.

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      Re: A lucky escape

      Quote Originally Posted by paulcarrm9mx View Post
      Software download link would be helpful thanks
      clicky


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      Re: A lucky escape

      Certainly it is never good to have a hard drive fail.

      A freebie I've used for some time now is Hard Disk Sentinel. You can register and get all the features (i.e. emails when error occur and fuller history).

      Hard Disk Sentinel - HDD health and temperature monitoring

      With the rise in popularity of SSD replacing hard drives things might not be so good in the future. Reading some reports on these and is became obvious that an SSD isn't suitable for me at this stage. Sure they offer fast startup times, but when they fail they fail very quickly.

      PlusNet Fibre since Jan 2021
      Previously Sky Fibre & Sky BB since 2010.

     

     

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