A Painful Lesson

I went to pick up my notebook PC a couple nights ago. I gripped it by the front corner and I guess with the weight of the machine I squeezed it a bit to hard right where the hard drive is. This combined with the running machine squeezed the hard drive and I heard a lovely scraping sound and wa-la, I crashed  the hard drive; they system doesn’t even see that there is a drive there. It doesn’t seem like it should be possible, but I guess the notebook housing isn’t quite stiff enough and the drive housing is also not quite stiff enough.

Happily, I had somewhat recently backed up most of the important stuff. We lost a few vacation pictures due to my own negligence (I thought I had copied them to the desktop machine) but not very many – most had already made their way to Flickr. I didn’t lose very much at all.

Since the rest of the machine is working more or less correctly, I just ordered a replacement hard drive. Like a few other million people I had already downloaded the Windows 7 beta. I had been planning to install it anyway, but had been putting the installation off – I decided “no time like the present”. I am writing this post from Firefox installed on Windows 7. I haven’t used Windows 7 long enough to form any lasting opinions, but, in general, it seems nice enough. I was able to easily restore my backups and get the missus’ iPhone syncing with iTunes like nothing had changed. My only hesitation with the Windows 7 beta is i don’t know what the “upgrade path” is. What happens when the beta times out? Will I have to do a completely re-install? How much will it cost me to upgrade to Windows 7 when it is actually released and will that require a complete reinstall? These are questions I just don’t have answers for a Microsoft doesn’t seem to be saying much about these things.

For backup software on the laptop I’ve been using Personal-Backup. It is actually very nice software and it’s free. On the desktop machine I have been using Handy Backup (not free, but somewhat reasonably priced – note this is Handy Backup from HandyBackup.net, not HandyBackup.com which is different software). I really like Handy Backup but I think for free Personal-Backup should meet most people’s needs. Note: both pieces of software are for file backups, not for “system images”. In any case, I have now used both programs to save my bacon. Thanks backup software!

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