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WHS Saved my bacon…

November 6th, 2007

and my hard drive.

First, apologies for not so much content, last week and the previous two weeks were really busy with work, and after hours activities.  Don’t even get me started on how behind I am in TV watching. 

But Sunday night, I thought I had lost my hard drive.  Well, actually I did.  After a few days of the computer complaining about this and that (blue screens and random restarts) the thing would not boot.  Diagnostics said the hard drive was toasted, and I was blue.

The cost of a hard drive isn’t too much, but if I had lost some data, even if it isn’t very much, is a pain.  But after this springs debacle with Angie’s hard drive in her laptop (which we never recovered data from) I signed up for the Microsoft Home Server beta, and for the last 5 months or so, each of our laptops has been quietly backing itself up each night.  On nights that it didn’t back up, we’d get a notice in our system tray that something went wrong.

So after slapping in a new hard drive, I plopped in a WHS Restore CD, and booted the laptop up.  The restore CD didn’t have wireless drivers, so I had to plug the lappy into the network, and it started up, found the server, and started restoring.  When I started the restore, it gives you a list of the latest backups by each computer on the network, and through pure luck, there was a backup that completed on Sunday afternoon, literally hours before the hard drive died.  The one hiccup is trying to restore 55 Gigs over a wireless link is S.L.O.W. so after about an hour of watching the expected time to restore grow to 21 hours, I hopped into the car and drove to Wally World to get a network card for the server (that is the one thing I have non-standard is my server works wirelessly to the network, which wasn’t much of a problem most of the time)

When I got back home, I stopped the restore, stopped the server, popped the top off the server blew off at least an inch of dust, and installed the new NIC (network interface card), and then connected the WHS and laptop together with a spare router, and restarted the backup.  Three hours later the restore was done, and I rebooted back to how the laptop was on Sunday afternoon (only with a bit bigger hard disk).  My only regret is that I wish I had this sooner, so we wouldn’t have lost Angie’s data.

WHS is mostly for new ‘Home Servers’ that are now on the market.  The run in price from about 500-1000 dollars depending on hard disk size.  If you have a spare PC, you can by the OEM version of the Operating System for ~$180.  Either way, that is a pretty good investment to keep your data backed up regularly.  Not if, WHEN you suffer a data loss at sometime, it might take at least that much to retrieve your data, and even then retrieval isn’t 100%.  With WHS, restoring was a snap, and I highly recommend the product.

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  1. November 7th, 2007 at 13:27 | #1

    Yeah, I recommend it too, and I do not even own it. Glad you did not loose any data. That is cool! Nice to see you back on the web too.

  2. November 14th, 2007 at 16:44 | #2

    Now see, I thought “I thought I lost my hard drive” was some new euphamism for losing one’s mind. 🙂

    After the second time I lost pretty much everything due to a majestic hard drive failure, I began backing everything up…everything. Now I’m paranoid, but I won’t lose any data. Good trade-off.

    Glad everything worked out for you but geez…the stress!

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