Tao Of Backup Wailing Wall Story

Non-destructive techniques definitely a good thing.

After my father's laptop drive started making funny noises, I advised him to increase his backup frequency and obtain a replacement drive as soon as possible. He did these things.

The drive arrived the other day, and I found my copy of Ghost, so I sat down with a spare machine and a pair of 2.5"-3.5" adapters. I planned to mount both drives in the desktop, ghost 1:1, and install the new one in the laptop.

I know what you're thinking, "he mixed up source and destination!", and I'm happy to report that I you're wrong. Read on.

The 2.5" adapters come in various types. One is flat, with the connectors soldered surfacemount-style onto the edges of the pcb. Another style is Z-shaped, with the 40-pin and 44-pin connectors mounted on opposite sides of the board, through-hole style. Since the power is supplied to a laptop drive through the same connector, each such adapter includes a Molex connector to bring in power.

I was using the second, Z-shaped style of adapter. It works fine on a bare drive, but when I plugged in the source drive, still mounted inside its IBM drive caddy, I failed to notice that the power leads made contact with the metal caddy. When I turned the machine on, the power supply made a funny noise and shut down after a half second.

I wouldn't think that sending a dozen amps of +5v to the chassis of the drive would be such a problem, considering that the Ground lead was also connected firmly. Judging by the "magic smoke" smell of the drive's circuit board, I need to refine my thinking in this area.

Luckily, the last backup was only 3 days ago. Still, that's 3 days of work that didn't need to be lost. Next time, I'll take a "just-in-case" snapshot of the data, over the network, before physically removing the drive from its cozy home. The novice is currently reinstalling his OS and applications.

    Michigan, USA, Mon 17-Jan-2005 5:44pm

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