The mess of moving to a new hard drive – Finale

At last, my computer is back up with the new hard drive! It took me six nights to get through this.

When I last posted, I had said I will try Retrospect’s Disaster Recovery replacing the entire file system (including registry). Using the option, it took an hour to restore all the files, which it did successfully. However, I couldn’t boot afterwards. So I decided to skip the easy route and installed the OS (disk from Dell), used Retrospect to rebuild the catalog (forgot to keep a backup of the catalog), restored just the files and installed few recommended drivers from the Dell site and I was up and running. Of course, I had to re-install quite a few programs.

Left me to wonder if any backup software’s disaster recovery (system restore), will ever work.

Lessons learnt:
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1. When you order your system, don’t forget to order the original OS CD even though a part of your disk can hold it w/o damage.

2. Don’t forge to backup regularly. With all the important media files (image, video), you can’t afford to loose a lifetime of memories to some bad disk or computer.

3. Use a backup software that is dependable. Retrospect did a great job of backing up the files and restoring them. Open source options are available such as Drive Image XML.

4. System restore options provided by third party software might not be reliable as each system will have many quirks. For e.g., if you move to a new hard drive, the old image might not work as the new hard drive needs specific drivers.

5. Keep a copy of Bart PE boot disk and Ultimate Boot CD.

6. Try to keep your computer’s warranty going on after the first 3 (typically) years, especially if you depend on your computer for a lot of things. The cost is worth it if it ever comes down to getting back your system. I hadn’t extended my warranty. I took up the pay-per-incident option with Dell and it cost me $49. Dell was great in that they supported me on the same ticket even though my first call was over a month back.

7. If your hard drive is puny compared to today’s sizes available, you can upgrade for little cost. Start with buying an internal OEM hard drive. I paid $79 for a 320 GB Western Digital. If I had bought from Dell, I would have had to spend a lot, lot more. After getting an OEM hard drive, check out the manufacturer’s web site – usually they have software that will format the hard drive for you and update your BIOS.

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