I hate Western Digital
"...based on the lightning doesn't strike twice principle I should be right for a while now."
That was me almost exactly two months ago. I'd just had a hard drive failure in my server and lost my source code version control repository. It was an annoyance but I could get by since I still had the latest version of the Sydney source code on my working machine. I took it as a warning to improve my backup procedures but reasoned that statistically speaking I should be safe from hard drive failures for a while.
Statistically speaking, I'm an idiot.
The second hard drive that was in that server (another Western Digital 120GB IDE drive) has just failed. While I had some warning that the first drive was going to fail this one died suddenly before I could pull anything off it. On it was my version control repository (again), my build server virtual machine, a bunch of testing virtual machines and most importantly several years worth of real world test data that I have been gathering to feed into Sydney.
And what of my improved backup procedures that the first drive failure prompted me to put into place? Unfortunately they're still on the drawing board. I have a old machine ready to use as a backup server that I'll keep at my house but I haven't finished putting it together yet. Another week and it would have been ready, I've just been too busy with the moves and technical support jobs of late to devote more time to it.
The good news
The good news is that by going into Windows safe mode and using xcopy repeatedly it appears I was able to recover some of the files. I've retrieved my version control repository, an older version of my build server virtual machine and maybe 15% of the test data archive. The drive has now completely died, emitting all sorts of scraping, clicking and clanking noises if I try to use it.
So once again, through good fortune rather than good planning, I seem to have averted disaster. I'm not going to tempt fate again though. As I said last time
"Of course if lightning does happen to strike twice I'll have to be very wary. These things happen in threes you know."
The backup server will be up running at my house before the end of the working week.