I got woken up in the wee hours by a PhD student in the final hours of his thesis. Years of work culminating in a pile full of printed text..and at the mercy of a computer. Needless to say, his relatively new 300MHz notebook running on Win95 failed him at his hour of need. And, he hadn't backed up for three days...
Happily enough, I managed resucitate the HD, find and transfer his various subdirectories. It was back to basics - I was using DOS and floppies. Nearly panicked when the special characters I needed for his truncated foldernames (DOS only accepts 8 characters) went AWOL. The letters were thankfully found residing on some other keys!
He had a Norton Disk Doctor CD, and had created a Rescue Disk - but couldn't find it. So we cannot attempt the fix. He's working on another machine now, and is thankful for that...
This is a relatively common occurence in NUS. I have had to do this many times. And I always have to go back to DOS to make fixes.
The lessons learnt were the usual, but are worth reiterating in the light of a few of you who recently lost data due to PC crashes. Ask yourself: Can I cope if lightning fries my PC right this instant?
1. Your PC is likely to crash/experience problems. The probability increases when subjected to intensive use, e. g. during final stages of writing your thesis.
2. Have an automated (not manual) backup running twice a day; get a ZIP drive and the backup will run in the background without you even knowing. E. g. I have autobackups running at 12.30pm and 10.30pm everyday. Note: even your email can be backed up.
3. During a project, if you are using the computer intensively, have it run backups every 6 hours. If you have made a lot of little corrections, back up immediately.
4. Install the Norton programme (can pre-empt crashes, make recoveries possible), and make a Norton Rescue Disk which is readily available.
5. Never leave your computer running for days without rebooting.
Even though I use the much more reliable Mac, I take precautions - those of you using PCs and running Windows are simply living on borrowed time. Don't rely on luck, make your system secure before calamity strikes.
--- End forwarded message ---