My old 80GB Maxtor D740X-6L is kaput. He was 6 years and 4 months old. May he rest in peace.
Hard drive failures do not occur very often. At least not to me. In fact, this is the first spontaneous failure that happened to me in 10 or so years (drives that I dropped while working don’t count).
Its demise was pretty quick. Everything was normal until Thursday afternoon (July 3), when I started to get very slow disk access in Visual Studio. The computer would run at 100% CPU for minutes.
When I tried to reboot the machine, the Windows would not start, complaining about missing registry file.
Then I spent the evening in repair consoles of all kinds, burning slip-stream CD for Windows XP with SP2, running chkdsk, etc. It all did not help: chkdsk ran for about 6 hours and never finished.
Friday – Sunday I was a happy camper, literally. We went camping to the Catskill mountains for the long 4th of July weekend. No hard drives allowed. 🙂
I spent Sunday evening and Monday reinstalling Windows on my other hard drive (also Maxtor, but 300GB). Thankfully I had a DVD backup of most of my stuff, but a) it was a month old, and b) some things were not in it. So, I did lose some stuff, although nothing major.
Tuesday I made a final attempt to recover data from the old drive, using Seatools from Maxtor. Seatools found lots of errors on the drive. Meanwhile, the drive’s condition deteriorated even further, since it started to show SMART failure. Perhaps this time SMART was not so smart: it is supposed to warn you BEFORE the drive goes bananas, not 3 days into the recovery effort.
Bottom line: backup often. I am buying an external 1TB hard drive and will use Norton Ghost to take regular backups.