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Dead harddrive, backing up

Rotting MeatRotting Meat Registered User regular
My laptop harddrive is in it's final throes; last night it started making a light grinding noise every few minutes. I've turned off the computer, and I'm hoping for a final startup so I can backup my data. I keep constant backups of vitally important data, but I'd love to get all my wallpapers, saved games etc. off it if I can.

I'm running Vista. Is there anything I need to worry about with permissions on the 'My Documents' style folders? Or can I just basically copy all of c: *.* to an external drive, then copy them to a new installation of Vista?

Thanks.

Rotting Meat on

Posts

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Your best bet is doing this from another computer so that you don't need to go through the whole "boot into Windows" thing. You can pretty much just copy user folders, though, to answer question #2.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The File and Settings Transfer Wizard (probably found somewhere around Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools) is a good way to grab all that critical stuff without having to fish around for the folders. Your new installation will import them nicely too.

    I don't know how resiliant it is if the drive actually pitches serious errors during the creation of the archive though. If the drive still reads relatively reliably, you may find that to be a very fast and convenient way to trafer over all your files and some of your settings that a simple folder copy can't do. Just make sure you tell the wizard to create the settings file somewhere other than the drive that's failing (in my experience, it'll work fine to pretty much any media, including a network drive).

    darkgrue on
  • General_WinGeneral_Win Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Throw it in the freeze for about an hour before you start.

    General_Win on
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  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Throw it in the freeze for about an hour before you start.

    This is worst possible advice you could give.

    Freezing a drive can occasionally can work by correcting a spindle lockup problem that may have occurred; however, condensation can form on and inside the drive, causing irreparable damage and preventing successful subesequent recovery attempts, even by a professional recovery service (and no such service would ever use this method). It is a method of last resort, in a narrow range of circumstance, and only when other methods are unavailable or the data has little value in the case of complete loss.

    Since the OP hasn't reported a spin up problem, this method wouldn't even apply. Suggesting this at all, let alone before even attempting to normally copy data off the drive is inappropriate.

    Sadly, the “freeze method” is a common repair myth, and many otherwise knowledgeable tech people are under the impression that it’s a viable form of recovery. Make sure that if a local tech is looking at your drive, he knows not to try freezing it.

    darkgrue on
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