Impromptu Hard Drive Refresh – Thanks Acronis

I fix other people’s computers and IT problems all day, so the last thing I really feel like doing is fixing my own computer problems at home. My personal workstation decided to blue screen earlier in the evening which was nice. It was one of those blue screens you can’t really do anything about without having driver verifier enabled and since I didn’t there was nothing I could really do. I did take a SWAG based on the contents of the dump and decide to update my nVidia drivers for my apparently now practically ice age video card. When I rebooted from this driver update, my BIOS gave me some lovely message to the tune of “Primary SATA Drive 0 Not Found”. Great, SATA drive 0 has left the building.

I don’t really keep anything on my C drive as I have another spindle for data, but, I wasn’t really planning to reload my OS and all my settings this week. I don’t really do anything that complex on my home PC. I have Carbonite backing up my C drive so if there are odds and ends namely my profile which I needed to recover, I could. I powered down my PC and waited about five minutes and turned it back on and conveniently Primary SATA Drive 0 had returned.

I had been noticing (and ignoring) for the past couple of months probably that various clattering noises had been coming out of the case of this machine, and obviously I probably should have done something about it a while ago. I also ordered a couple too many drives for my other machine last summer, so I had a couple of 500GB spindles in inventory. The folks over at Acronis were kind enough to give me a copy of their Disk Director Server product to play with a while ago, and I’ve always been really happy with it using it to resize partitions and copy them when I’ve needed to upgrade the size of a drive.

Tonight I used the Acronis Rescue CD wizard to burn a CD with their toolset on it, and then I booted from that CD and copied the old drive onto the new. Their tool is so simple to use which is great, and it took all of 25 minutes to copy my 50GB of data over. You’d think I wouldn’t care that much about simple being that I do this for a living, but like I said before – the last thing I want to do is be reading manuals and searching the web to make my home PC work.

I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy of this tool to have around or the Disk Director product if you don’t need to run it on a server OS (I run Windows 2003 at home). I keep one of the rescue CDs laying around just in case I do need it somewhere as it works pretty much everywhere.

In other news, remember when Dell sold tool-less chassis’ for their consumer models? The PC in question is a Dell Dimension 4700 minitower which is perhaps 2 or 3 years old. In order to replace this hard drive, I had to remove a screw from the bottom of the case, remove a screw from a hard to reach place inside the case, and then figure out how to properly maneuver their stamped drive carrier to unlatch it from the other stamped metal carrier in the case. This whole mechanical activity probably took me just as much time as imaging the new drive between taking it apart, figuring out how to balance the new drive in there so the short cables reached, and installing the new drive in the carrier.


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