Frailty of digital storage

Last week I was reading a very interesting post by Adrian Lewis and it prompted me to double-check that my backups were current. Yesterday I was using my laptop when a message popped up saying that Windows Explorer had stopped working and would be re-started automatically. Well it re-started and a few minutes later the same thing happened. Hmmm, something not right, maybe its a heat problem, maybe I should shut down for a while I thought. So I did.

Later I re-started the laptop and within a minute or so I got a pop up to say that Windows had stopped working! Then the screen went black except for the tool bar. Nothing would work. I thought . . here we go again, another disk problem. So I forced a shut down and re-started in Safe Mode with Networking and restored the machine from a restore point created the day before. Everything back to normal, phew. But is it?

Well at least if the disk IS on its way out I have my photos all backed up on various drives. But what happens if the back up drives fail? (actually I mean WHEN the back up drives fail). I mean how many mirror copies do we make, is digital storage really safe? I know that SSDs (Solid State Drives) are supposed to be far more resilient that regular drives but they are also far more expensive.

By way of showing how important it is to back-up our data, and equally, perhaps make hard copies of data we deem to be most important (Print photos, documents etc) I offer you this picture I shot this afternoon of five laptop hard drives and a desktop computer hard drive, all of which failed on me over the past few years. It really is a case of WHEN, not if, the disk will fail.

Dead hard disks

Scrap Metal


4 thoughts on “Frailty of digital storage

  1. Exactly why, after reading someone ‘lost’ all their raw files, I keep all my stuff on external Hard Drives, not connected to anything, only for updating stuff. My computer is ’empty’ of clutter and so able to work well, that is the objective anyway!
    Of course , even those externals have to be replaced with newer ones every 10? years or so..but, my age being what it is, that is no hardship!

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