Posts Tagged 'crash'

The reality of an hd crash

When your computer crashes it can point to major problems. I’m not talking about a simple problem that’s resolved by a reboot or reinstall. I’m talking about a physical hard drive crash. Heads fully contacting the platter surface, scraping and spreading debris inside your hard drive at 7,200 RPM. While the drive itself is no better than a doorstop or paperweight at this point, it may still be possible to recover your data.

Why you (or me for that matter)? Hard drives will fail over time. The physical wear and tear that occurs on a regular basis every time you turn on your computer, copy a file, or even when your screen saver is running adds up to hard drive wear. Managing your system files in a proper environment can also factor in to whether your drive lasts 5 years or 1. There are several disk utilities that can help you monitor the health of your hard drive but in the end it’s still up to you to back up your important files on an ongoing basis.

The repairs that occur within a clean room environment are delicate and require a certain expertise. It’s not something you can learn in college. Managing data storage will become the next hottest job trend as new data centers open and expand their capabilities. There will be plenty of opportunities if you know anything about maintaining massive amounts of servers and hard drives and being able to do it the most efficiently as possible.

As for the hard drive, whether it’s the platter, the motor, the heads, or the electronics that fail the problem cannot be fixed by the average home user. Even IT professionals aren’t trained to perform these types of repairs. Talk to a data recovery expert and get the facts. The more information you are able to provide the more accurate a quotation can be. Don’t rely on the guy who can’t even explain what a servo is. Get the right data and make an informed decision.

Data Formats and Accessibility in the future

Just finish your weekly backup? Great! I love that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that my data’s safe. I have one question for you: Will your data be accessible 5 years from now? How about a 1 year or after the next hard drive crash? Silly question? Maybe not.

Recently I decided to go back and check my old tax files. Yes, I had backed them up, however in the tax program’s file format. Suddenly I realized that I would need the tax program from 4 years ago in order to be able to open up that file. I had the file right in front of me but I could not access it. Luckily I still had the software cd kicking around in a box but what if I didn’t. The file would be useless.

Do you still have that old Wordperfect file? How about the software? Or maybe that accounting file from 2001 isn’t a 100% compatible with the most current software version. With yearly updates for most software titles your particular program will be vastly different in just a few years.

So what’s the solution? Keep your old software even if you have the latest version. Convert files to current versions but keep the original unconverted files as well. Not only is it important backup those data files but also, in some cases, the original software program as well.

As for that old tax return, I installed the 2004 software and printed out a hard copy. Sometimes when it comes to having a backup you just can’t beat paper.

SSD ready to usher old hard drives into the sunset

While capacities, fill times, and bandwidth have changed, latencies have, however, remained relatively static. Hard disks still use rotating platters with magnetic pits, and spin latencies can only decrease with increases in rotational speed. Spindle speeds have risen, from the 3500RPM Maxtor of yesteryear, through 4200, 5400, and today’s 7200RPM spindle speeds, with the transition to 10,000 and 15,000 RPM speeds accomplished in some sectors of the server space and burgeoning in the desktop space. But this reliance on physical moving parts has made their development hard; this is only a doubling of spindle and a latency cut from about 30 milliseconds to about 10 milliseconds. While main memory latencies have fallen by a factor of ten, and CPU speeds have risen by factors of thousands, hard disk latencies have remained comparatively static in the milliseconds for those same 17 years.

The result of all of these trends is that it’s easier and easier to store huge amounts of data at lower and lower cost, but the increasing data bandwidth and low latency that modern storage needs demand is harder to come by. I’ve heard from a source that a copy of the text of the entire Internet, stored by Google and its competitors and searched for text in web search queries, is in the vicinity of 20TB. In hard disks, this would now cost a mere $4,000 in disks (much more in servers) but would be completely unsuited to this kind of storage due to the long read time of the disks; a total read for a search would take hours. Instead, Google hosts its web servers from huge clusters of thousands of servers, storing complete copies of the text of the internet in RAM, at about half a million dollars in DDR2 per cluster. (ArsTechnica)

iPhone and iPod Touch vulnerable to malicious code

A new exploit will either lock up your iPhone or iPod Touch or crash your Safari browser on your PC or Mac OS desktop if you simply visit a maliciously coded Web site. Unlike an earlier exploit that required users to click to become infected, the new code published by iPhoneWorld requires no user interaction.

So far, Apple has had no comment.

The code was first reported in January and exhausts the memory in Safari, which in turn will cause your iPhone or iPod Touch to freeze, or your desktop Safari to crash. “Given the nature of this issue,” said the BugTraq newsgroup vulnerability report, “remote code execution may also be possible, but this has not been confirmed.” (link)

The humble beginnings of Skynet, courtesy of IBM

It’s no secret I have a humorous opinion on evil robot computers that develop their own artificial intelligence and take over the world and extinguish all human life … (sound familiar?). So you can image my surprise that IBM is working on a super – super computer with the potential to host the entire Internet (see quote below). ALL of it! Suddenly the world has become even smaller. Think about it … everything stored on server packed away in some closet at IBM headquarters. Then some fool trips over the cable and the whole Internet crashes (YouTube). But if IBM develops the technology then does that mean they get to host the Internet? Who decides? Would it be filtered? Would the government step in and take control of the project and find military applications for it? And there you have the humble beginnings of Skynet.

The Register has unearthed a research paper that shows IBM working on a computing system capable “of hosting the entire internet as an application.” This mega system relies on a re-tooled version of IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputers so loved by the high performance computing crowd. IBM’s researchers have proposed tweaking the Blue Gene systems to run today’s most popular web applications such as Linux, Apache, MySQL and Ruby on Rails.”

Aww, man! New iPhones/iPod Touch vulnerable to DoS atttacks

Buyers of new 16GB iPhones and 32GB iPod Touch devices should beware: Apple shipped these units without patching a remote Denial of Service vulnerability that was first discovered in iPhone firmware v1.1.2.

First report of a remote Denial of Service Safari browser vulnerability exploit that can crash an iPhone by simply visiting a website containing the malicious code was filed on January 24th 2007, however Joshua Morin, a Security Engineer for Codenomicon Ltd., discovered that this vulnerability is also present in iPhone firmware v1.1.3 — with which the 16GB iPhone and the 32GB iPod Touch were shipped. (link)

My data’s backed up, is yours?

Recently a friend of mine encountered a problem with his computer. After a bit of fiddling with it we narrowed it down to the hard drive. The darn thing just crashed. Working perfectly then it was not. All was not lost, after trying some software we managed to recover most of the data. Just another reason to backup on a regular basis. Yes, it’s tedious, boring and nobody likes to do it but in the end we all know it’s good for us and saves a lot of headaches in the future.

Here’s an interesting read.

“Almost all hard drives can be recovered. Normally, if the drive is making a ticking or a scratching noise, you can use certain software programs to recover the data. Sometimes, due to age or bad parts, the aperture arm in the hard drive can fail, or the platters can become damaged and lose the data that they hold. If you can’t recover the information with software, you’ll need to send the hard drive off and have it either rebuilt or have technicians recover your data.

Data recovery is always an option, from hard drives that are 2 GB in size to the largest of over 300 GB or more of data. No matter what size hard drive you have, the data can generally be recovered. Keep in mind that if you’ve had a computer crash, you’ll need to send the hard drive off to have the data recovered by technicians.

One of the key benefits of data recovery is the fact that information can also be retrieved from the recycle bin as well. Partition recovery, and even information that has been lost somewhere on the disk can be retrieved as well. Even though it may seem like your data is gone forever – the technicians that specialize in data recovery can retrieve it.” link

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