"Lew Hodgett" wrote in message
SFWIW, the drive that just died was placed in service in 05/08 and
died 12/14, or 6-1/2 years .
Lew, the solid-state stuff in a computer will usually last many years
without trouble, but the electro-mechanical parts have shorter life cycles.
There's a reason that hard drive manufacturers offer only one-year to
three-year warranties except for the most expensive enterprise-level drives.
I generally keep my computers on a three- to five-year replacement cycle
(three for my work computers, five for a household computer). If a household
computer is running quite trouble-free but getting old, I'll generally just
replace the hard drive after five years as a matter of course. Power
supplies I run until I either (1) start having trouble with them or (2) need
more power on account of a power-hungry replacement video card. Fans get
noisy when they get old but they're cheap and easy to replace.
And I maintain a rigorous automated backup schedule. My backup system is a
two-drive RAID 1 system on my network (RAID 1: two physical drives, with the
same contents on each in case one of them fails), and daily backups of all
document directories are done every night, keeping up to two weeks of daily
backups. Periodically I archive one each of those daily backups onto a large
external hard drive and keep them up to a year. When I had an office
downtown I kept off-site office backups at home, and off-site home backups
at the office. Now that I'm working from my home office I just keep the
off-site backups in a different building on the property. This all sounds
like a lot of work, but once it was all set up I don't even have to think
about it - it just happens, except for the occasional archival and off-site
copies. I'm a professional software developer, so this is important for me
and worth the trouble. Even if I weren't, we now have large libraries of
digital photographs online, going back many years, and it would be terrible
to somehow lose all that history.
For a friend whose computer I maintain, I just put a large-capacity USB
drive in a slot on the back of the machine and set up a daily backup of his
personal file directories to the USB drive. He doesn't even know it's
happening, but if I need to wipe and re-setup his machine because of malware
or something like that, I've magically got all his files sitting right there
to be restored.
You could do the same. Use Windows Backup and either attach an external
USB-connected hard drive or plug in a big USB memory card. Don't put
yourself in a position where you might have to (might fail to) dodge another
bullet like that someday at much greater cost to yourself. I've personally
had hard drives fail so that not only would they not boot but they were not
even readable. If I hadn't been maintaining backups I'd have been thoroughly