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Sir, Ive lost all of your data!

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Sparky, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Ok, I post some of the events that happen at work for a few reasons. For I start I hope it gives some of the guys who are currently looking for a job an insight to what working in IT is like and also some of the guys who work in IT can say ‘Been there done that’. Alternatively it could be ‘Sparky, you’re an absolute idiot sometimes’

    To set the scene I had another installation this week. Nothing too major, a new client wanted to migrate from a Windows XP workgroup to a domain environment with Exchange Server, no-more crappy POP3 for them! So I order all the kit (SBS, firewall, cables, jetdirect boxes, AV etc.) and load the van up and drive to the site. I’ve been on-site for a few days and everything was going well. Managed to get server online, get the broadband username and password and get the email MX records migrated (sometimes this can be a hassle!). Connected the VPN tunnel back to the office so the helpdesk guys could connect; all good!

    Today I was migrating all the clients onto the domain; this involved moving all the data from their My Documents and files from the root of the C: drive to the server, one big drag and drop exercise to be honest.

    Then I came to the last PC, this was a Windows 98 old boy. The manager said he wanted the data shifted onto the server and then install XP. I said “sure” as I had a couple of Windows XP licences left. There was 10GBs worth of data on the PC which would have taken too long to copy onto the server but I noticed it was on a separate drive. To avoid any data loss I unplugged both drives and installed a new drive to install XP onto. The plan was to install it and then hook up the data drive as a slave. I would migrate the data onto the server overnight.

    While I was installing XP one of the other engineers that was with me said two of the PCs had failed the Windows validation check, on closer inspection they were using the same OEM key. I phoned the guy that used to support the network and he said that the PCs were probably not licensed correctly. The client asked if the two spare XP licences could be used to make the 2 PCs legit and the other PC could be put back to Windows 98 as it is only going to be used as a spare. I said it wouldn’t be a problem as the original HDs had not been touched.

    This is where my nightmare starts. :blink

    I unplug the drive which had a partial install of XP on it and I plug in both of the original drives and the PC doesn’t boot. It gets to the Windows 98 screen and crashes. I try in safe mode and it barely starts. Then after another reboot the whole PC doesn’t start, completely dead! The PC is old so I think the PSU may have just gone as I’ve done a few reboots in a short period of time. Its 5 o’clock so I decide to take the PC home to take the data drive out and install it on another PC to get the data off it. Did I say the data is from a graphic design company and has been collected over a period of 5 years and is *very* important to them??!?

    I install the HD as a slave in my old PC, the PC doesn’t boot.
    I change the drive to be a slave, the PC doesn’t boot.
    I reboot the PC and it starts this time, I get into Windows and the data drive says ‘raw’ as the data format and Windows prompts me to format the drive, I freak out!!

    I rip the side of my fairly new PC and put the drive in as a master on the second IDE channel, ‘Secondary IDE Master device failure’
    I change it to be a slave ‘Secondary IDE Slave device failure’

    By this stage I am pulling my hair out as this data is *critical* and I may have lost the lot. I pace around the room looking at the three PCs with their sides ripped off’

    I replace the PSU in the original PC and dump into the BIOS, I can see the drive but I don’t have an OS to boot from. That must be a step in the right direction. I put it back in the older PC, I can’t see the drive in the BIOS. I put the drive in my new PC, I can’t see the drive in the BIOS. I change it to being a slave and I can see it in the BIOS, what’s going on? The drive has its own IDE channel so master and slave shouldn’t make a difference.

    I try to boot and get the same errors.

    Thinking about what I was going write in my resignation letter all of a sudden DOS popped into my head. I fire in a Windows 98 boot disc and try to boot. The start-up hangs at the BIOS splash screen for some reason. I skip past to post and then the A: drive spins away. I pray that I can at least see the contents of the drive and I could, well I think I could!!

    I could feel the weight coming off my shoulders as I knew the data was at least on the drive. I removed the floppy and rebooted. I got the usual error message about an invalid secondary IDE slave device and skipped to post by pressing tab. Booted into Windows and the wee bubble popped up asking if I wanted to install a new Maxtor drive. I clicked yes, a few files flew across and then I could see the drive and 10GBs worth of artwork appeared in front of me. I’ve never been happier!

    Not wanting to chance a reboot I patched in the PC to my switch and patched in my laptop and copied the whole 10GIGs worth over just incase the PC doesn’t boot gain.

    I’ve no idea why the drive (both drives even) were playing up in the BIOS but Windows didn’t seem to care, only on my newer PC though. The other one thought the drive wasn’t even formatted, not funny!

    To conclude, it looks like Windows 98 is not going without a fight and I’m the luckiest man alive! :biggrin
     
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  2. simongrahamuk
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    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    Ahh, a day in the life of an IT Pro! :eek:
     
  3. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I have just had two Maxtors fail the exact same way on Linux machines. Unfortunately I couldn't even get into them by booting to live cd's or boot disks.
     
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  4. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    That happened to me with a laptop! Lawyers data.. it came in for a format so i used nortons ghost onto a hard disk no problems... while i was working on the laptop BANG!! the pc i used to do the ghosting and holding the data blew... motherboard and master HDD gone.. i plug the ghost image praying data is okay and it wouldnt detect BUT what i used in the end was a Linux Live CD!!! :biggrin scary stuff because customers just dont understand these mistakes!
     
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  5. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    spinrite meant to be a goodun, haven't tried it yet...
     
  6. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    It’s a Maxtor drive that’s causing the problem. I now have a copy of the data on my laptop so I’m going to copy the whole lot onto the server tomorrow. I’m comforted by the fact the server has Raid 5 and a backup tape device!

    Strange problem that, I *think* the drive is on the way out so I’m not switching off the PC until the client is happy with the data on the server. I think I’ll get him to sign something to confirm it, hee hee! :biggrin

    Edit: just noticed Id mentioned it was a Maxtor drive in the original post :oops:
     
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  7. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    D recommended Spinrite to me. I have been looking at GRC.com and have to say that it looks well worth it if you are in bother. Apparently, most people buy it when in the sh1t!

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  8. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Think I might invest in a copy, might reduce my stress levels :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Apparently, 140/70 hmgs is normal..... mine is above that due to current grief in my life......

    Heart attack asside, i might invest in Spinrite. Apparently, the download is only 178k! The inventor (Steve Gibson?) says that *things* like Scandisk give up far to easily trying to recover your data.

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  10. Jakamoko
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    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    I have sworn by a USB (or firewire if your machine supports it) external HDD caddy and the data recovery software of your choice. That way, you are not confusing the boot process of whatever live machine you are using to retrieve your data from. Best few quid I ever spent.
     
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  11. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Gav meaning you plug the drive in before shutting down lets say?
     
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  12. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    How true!

    I recently used Acronis Version 9 to back up a *on the way out drive* and restored it to a new drive in less than an hour!

    Money well spent. Customer happy, Boyce laughing all the way to the Nag's head!

    [​IMG]
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  13. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Good idea that, this particular PC didn’t have USB though. Personally I want to throw the PC in a skip but the client wants to use it as a spare, I feel sorry for whoever ends up using it. :blink

    I am still amazed by the amount of companies that insist in configuring their network in a workgroup with to central backup location. Living dangerously I guess! :biggrin
     
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  14. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Spark,

    I agree totally. The whole idea of a *Server* environment is centralised management. It is pointless having a server OS with all the hardware in a workgroup environment.

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  15. Jakamoko
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    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Spark - USB on the PC or not - it matters not at this stage. This is data recovery - you get the HDD out the machine and take it to whichever machine does support the HDD caddy and software of your choice. We are talking last resort stuff here - I prefer to take an old laptop to the job that can run the caddy - then the client can see your efforts and pay you accordingly !!

    IMHO :)
     
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  16. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    I agree with you there Gav, a USB2 HDD caddy is a must have tool for a PC tech 8)
     
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  17. nugget
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    nugget Junior toady

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    You should have seen the network setup here then. When I got here every pc/laptop was configured with 2 partitions. Everybody was supposed to save all their data to the D: and email storage was also configured to be stored there. Nothing was supposed to be stored on the server and people were left to make backups by burning to cd.

    Want to know the sad thing? The server is configured for differential backups monday to saturday to a spare server with a full backup to tape every sunday. then the IT pro set up another server and configured it for a full rsync every night. The server is well backed up.:rolleyes: As for the data.....:dry

    At least that's changing now.
     
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  18. Rostros22

    Rostros22 Kilobyte Poster

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    We have had the same problem here in the past. When I joined the company we had a NT domain and all the servers were on their last legs basically. The file servers had 9gb drives which of course isn’t a great deal of storage, wouldn’t even be enough for a stand alone PC.

    All the client PC’s got replaced and they all had 60-80gb disks in them so users began to save files locally which we didn’t want them to do that so the storage servers were updated and the home folders now resided on a brand spanking server with plenty of room for all.

    Of course users didn’t use their home folders even with constant messages and instructions given to them. Inevitably someone lost all their data when a local HDD went down and then some users began to listen.

    Personally I think it is because everyone now has a personal computer at home and they think they know better. A lot of people do CD / DVD backups at home and think that is the way it works. As a lot of us know the worst users are the ones who think they know what they are doing.

    Also does anyone get asked “Why can’t you backup my machine like the servers every night?” by users?
     
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  19. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    thats just like my old gaffa - each dept were responsible for backing data as there were at least one pc with a cd burner - normally i would send an email once a month to all users in my dept (inc manager) to ask if they wanted their data to be backed up, normally one or two peeps would say yes. my line manager and myself had a burner, so my line manager always said no... a week later something went wrong on his pc, so i investigated and it seems that he had no partition on his hdds, so i seemed that either he had a virus (which was strange) or he was messing about with madboot (i gave that to him a week before, and seems the likely cause)...

    i asked him if he made backups and he said No :rolleyes: but when he dugged out his old cds, he found that out of 20 backup cds he had, 18 of them were full of crap like games, and the 2 data cds were only the back ups that IT made for him when he wrecked his pc back in the days...

    some people dont listen
     
  20. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Hey sparky at least you're not the poor engineer over at plusnet. :D
     
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