Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Messed up your hard drive? Don't despair!

Computers are great until they go wrong. The other day, unbeknownst to me, the motherboard on my computer decided to go on the blink. Unfortunately I thought it was a hard-drive problem and, in an effort to resolve this, made things even worse.

The result was that all I could get out of my hard-drive was a message saying "The disk in drive E is not formatted. Would you like to format it now?"

Now as anyone who knows a little bit about computers and their disks knows, the right answer is not 'Yes'. This is especially so when the disk contains holiday photos etc that you could afford to lose but wouldn't want to, and all your old copies of word processing material that doesn't come into the category of 'vital'. (The vital stuff is stored on Dropbox. Email me for details of this service.)

So what to do? Various attempted solutions - even a bit of commercial software - failed.

Then I came across a thing called TestDisk. It is free, though the writer asks for a donation. But that means you can at least see if it is going to work before you shell out. The other thing to note is that it is DOS based - it opens in a little window on your PC showing the old DOS interface familiar to those of us who have been at this game a long time. This means you (or your friend who is helping you) will need a bit of familiarity with how DOS works. If you can only do Windows, ask someone else.

But the important thing is, it works! So far I have fully recovered three 'lost' partitions (sections containing files and folders) from the 'unreadable' disk with all their data just where it should be. And despite the fact that another partition still refuses to play ball, I have also been able to recover all my word processing folders and files.

TestDisk also comes with a photo recovery option and a very useful programme called Bart PE.

Needless to say, a donation was duly made and I am a much happier bunny than a week ago.

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  1. A suggestion would be good backup programs like Acronis Ture Image, or Norton Ghost. There are others, some freeware such as Paragon. I use the first. I have it configured for for a sequence of full image backups, with daily incremental backups. It takes maybe 15 seconds of your time, and a few minutes of the computer's. It can shut down the computer on completion, if needed. Over the years, I have had three catastophic failures. In each case, after repairing the hardware issues, I simply booted to the recover disk, clicked a few commands, and went off to have a cup of tea. When I got back, it had finished and restarted in Windows with everything exactly s it had been the previous evening.

  2. Is this a parable on other things you blog about John?

  3. (See previous topic, now apparently closed...)
    Andrew, why would you object to the term 'feminised church'?

  4. Oh, Richard. John's not going to like that!

    But while you're at it. Bishops are Elders in the NT. The Elder is where we get our word Presbyter and, in a bit of confusion, Priest. So, in a sense you're right about Priests (no Priest class as such, other than Jesus the high Priest and the Priesthood of all believers). But there is still ordination in the Pastorals. Also means the women ordination issue is already with us, the only difference with bishops is that it's imposed more widely.

    Now, I'll provoke John no longer.