During vacation last week, I was in the process of shutting down my main laptop when I got tired of waiting for Excel to save and killed it. Later I tried to reboot and got some funky error. Uh oh, me thinks. Excel taking so long to save was not a function of Excel, but of a hard drive that might be on its last leg. I tried booting again, and about mid way through boot, XP BSOD's on me - never good.
I booted to safe mode and madly started backing stuff up to a USB 2.0 drive through the crappy USB 1.1 port on my laptop (never a fun experience). Knowing this might take a while I let it go and went off to play with my son. I came back to a frozen boot screen. Through several cool down periods and reboots I got quite a bit off of the drive onto a backup drive, but finally it would boot no more, except to “Primary hard drive (0) failure” <sigh> I hoped I got it all and went of to Chicago for my sister-in-law's wedding.
I've spent the better part of this week rebuilding, a process I've been meaning to do for a while, and trying to see what I lost. My biggest casualty - my outlook PST archive. I got it off the drive, but evidentially not very well as it was massively corrupt. Inbox repair got most of the stuff off of it an into a shiny new PST. At least now I can try setting things up to have a very clean base image (i.e. no dev tools), and do my dev work in VPC. I've seen some mention of people taking this approach, if anyone can pass on some good links, I'll take them.
Moral to the story (or more appropriately, note to self), don't wait until the HD fails to back it up.
Other down side - the drive that is now a techno-looking paper weight was a nice 60G Toshiba drive - my replacement - a 30G Hitachi. Dang I feel cramped.