Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

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One Ping
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Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:59 pm

I have a 2 or 3 year old HP laptop that looks to me like it has had some sort of drive failure. When powered on (actually 'woken up') it said/says:

"BootDevice Not Found
Please install an operating system on your hard disk
Hard Disk - (3F0)
F2 System Diagnostics
For more information please visit: www.hp.com/go/techcenter/startup"

I ran the three levels of hardware diagnostics available from the F2 system diagnostics (quick, fast & extensive) and it PASSED all of them.

I'm at somewhat of a loss as to what to do next. Thought I would take it in to the place I bought it from and see if they have any ideas.

At the very least, if they cannot repair it, I was thinking of taking it to a data recovery outfit. (Last back-up was over a year ago :oops: and is 99% worthless.) Anyone have any other ideas? Any idea how much a data recovery operation like that would cost?

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CaliJim
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:06 pm

Install the recovery media.
Follow the instructions.
Sound's like you lost your boot block. Should be fairly easy to recover IF you have your recovery USB stick....
If not... you can create it using another PC:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... tion-media
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One Ping
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:16 pm

Thanks CaliJim,

It's important to me to maintain the data on the disk for eventual recovery if the recovery doesn't work. Will using the recover media preclude recovering the data later if it doesn't work? (e.g., will it erase/overwrite any sectors with stored file data in them?)

I'm not sure where the recovery media is right now ... I'll have to look. If I can't find it though this sounds like something a repair shop would have on hand, right?

I do have another PC I can download the media from so that's possible too.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by jebmke » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:19 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:16 pm
Thanks CaliJim,

It's important to me to maintain the data on the disk for eventual recovery if the recovery doesn't work. Will using the recover media preclude recovering the data later if it doesn't work? (e.g., will it erase/overwrite any sectors with stored file data in them?)

I'm not sure where the recovery media is right now ... I'll have to look. If I can't find it though this sounds like something a repair shop would have on hand, right?
Normally the recovery media is something you create when you first install the OS -- or shortly thereafter.

It used to be that you could also use a bootable Linux USB drive and boot to Linux and "see" the data on the Windows hard drive. This was actually a security flaw in Window XP. I don't know if they fixed that. If you can create a bootable Linux drive from another computer it won't impact your existing drive if you boot the laptop to Linux and see if the data is visible from Linux.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:24 pm

Not sure I remember creating anything special for recovery when I got the laptop. If it didn't come with it I may not have it. Would have to go to the MS site to create it.

I have zero Linux skills. Wouldn't know how to spell it if spell check didn't correct if for me. :happy
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:16 pm
Thanks CaliJim,

It's important to me to maintain the data on the disk for eventual recovery if the recovery doesn't work. Will using the recover media preclude recovering the data later if it doesn't work? (e.g., will it erase/overwrite any sectors with stored file data in them?)

I'm not sure where the recovery media is right now ... I'll have to look. If I can't find it though this sounds like something a repair shop would have on hand, right?

I do have another PC I can download the media from so that's possible too.
The recovery process gives you options, one of which is to reformat (wipe) the hard disk. (It prompts for "keep my files" or "remove everything". Try KEEP first.)

Booting Linux or another OS from a USB drive is also an option. I've done that, and IIRC, I was able to mount the Win10 disk and see my files.
https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+ ... irefox-b-1

Another option is to use a disk image toolset like Macrium.
https://www.macrium.com/
You create a boot USB containing the Macrium software (free version is fine,) boot from that (google "how to boot HP laptop from
USB"), create an exact image copy of your corrupt HD, (you will need a big external USB hard disk to backup to... something like the Western Digital Elements or Seagate Expansion device should be fine. Don't spend more than $100 on it.
https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Portabl ... hard+drive)

See also:

numerous threads on this forum regarding online back services!!!! (Mozy, Carbonite, crashplan, etc etc etc)
https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... U0Gxq03nSw

Note also: many (most) PC manufacturers include a recovery partition, and they have instructions on how to use it on their Support web sites. So search your PC makers web site for instructions. You could also call them and they should be able to walk you through a full recovery. This is unfortunately not an uncommon problem and they are typically very familiar with how to help customers fix this type of issue.

There are LOTS of resources on the web for resetting Windows 10, and they are much better than what I can give you off the top of my small pointy head. Here is a link to resetting an HP Win10 system. Hope this helps.

https://www.google.com/search?q=hp+lapt ... 20&bih=916
Last edited by CaliJim on Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by jebmke » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:34 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
Booting Linux from a USB is also an option. I've done that, and IIRC, I was able to mount the Win10 disk and see my files.
I'm a bit surprised by that. In 2009 I was in Europe working for my company and somehow a gnome in HR managed to issue instructions to IT to remove me from the system. They revoked my domain access. I was able to boot to Linux and continue to work with all my data (I had no access to their network of course).

When I sat down with IT when I returned and showed them what I did with my USB drive, their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and they implemented a mandatory whole disk encryption the next month for all laptop computers.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:45 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
numerous threads on this forum regarding online back services!!!! (Mozy, Carbonite, crashplan, etc etc etc)
Yes. :oops: mea culpa, mea culpa.

Thanks to you and jebmke for you suggestions.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:50 pm

jebmke wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:34 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
Booting Linux from a USB is also an option. I've done that, and IIRC, I was able to mount the Win10 disk and see my files.
I'm a bit surprised by that. In 2009 I was in Europe working for my company and somehow a gnome in HR managed to issue instructions to IT to remove me from the system. They revoked my domain access. I was able to boot to Linux and continue to work with all my data (I had no access to their network of course).

When I sat down with IT when I returned and showed them what I did with my USB drive, their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and they implemented a mandatory whole disk encryption the next month for all laptop computers.
Yes. Many IT folks are not quite as up to speed as they should be. Laptop and network security is hard. There are tools that can be installed in the boot block that will cause systems to 'phone home' over the internet and find out if they have been reported stolen. If yes.... they proceed to take whatever action is deemed appropriate (ie: format HD) Lojack is one I have used at the enterprise level. Dang salesmen were always leaving their $3000 laptops with the companies financial and sales plans at airport boarding gates. (Look for "remote laptop wipe" tools)
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:51 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:45 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
numerous threads on this forum regarding online back services!!!! (Mozy, Carbonite, crashplan, etc etc etc)
Yes. :oops: mea culpa, mea culpa.

Thanks to you and jebmke for you suggestions.
LOL. Report back on how it goes for you. Don't fret too much. I'm 99% sure you will be able to get your data back. Geek squad or your local PC Repair Shop is also a good option.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:52 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:51 pm
One Ping wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:45 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:29 pm
numerous threads on this forum regarding online back services!!!! (Mozy, Carbonite, crashplan, etc etc etc)
Yes. :oops: mea culpa, mea culpa.

Thanks to you and jebmke for you suggestions.
LOL. Report back on how it goes for you.
Yup. :beer
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:51 pm

I assume you have data on the hard drive that was not backed up. If you are willing to pay a 3rd party to do the recovery, why don't you spend it on a tool that you can use yourself?

I purchased this tool a long time ago. It works: SpinRite, from grc.com

Considering the possibility that you could lose valuable data, don't flinch at the $90 price. You can download the software and immediately put it to use.

Recovery software does not fix a drive -it's still broken, and will break again. The purpose of the recovery software is to allow you enough time to boot the drive and do a backup.

Assuming you get your drive working again, the immediate next step is to do a proper backup. Ensure that all of your data is backed up. Then, purchase a replacement drive and restore from your backup.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:00 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:51 pm
Assuming you get your drive working again, the immediate next step is to do a proper backup. Ensure that all of your data is backed up. Then, purchase a replacement drive and restore from your backup.
Good advice. And make sure your replacement "drive" is an SSD, not a mechanical HDD.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by armeliusc » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:25 pm

I am sorry, but all of the advices given so far in my opinion miss the most important thing of data recovery:
Do Not Do Anything That Alter Your Drive / Data.

How you somehow lost your your boot sector is a tell-tale of something had gone wrong. It could be a simple corruption, it could be the hard drive is failing, who knows. But it is irrelevant at this point. If you want the biggest chance to save your data, you must minimize 'touching' the drive, including trying to boot from it, trying to reinstall boot sector, doing a windows recovery, etc etc. The only thing you want to do with that drive is to read from it to get your data off of it.

But what you can do is really quite simple.

First, completely turn your laptop off, unplug, and remove the hard drive cover, then remove your hard drive. Carefully.

Second, buy an external enclosure that match your hard drive type so that you can now turn your hard drive into an 'external drive' with USB interface. Assuming it's a SATA drive (high likelihood for a 3 yr old / relatively recent hardware), something like this would do: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5 ... +enclosure

Third. Now find another working computer, Windows, Linux does not matter. Plug that hard drive in as USB external drive and the computer should see it as another external drive. Now Copy the Data off of it. To the cloud, to the local hard drive of the new computer, or to another external / backup drive. Make sure you copy everything you want to keep and make backup.

Once you've done those three steps, then you can do any of the other advice to try to recover the drive, or recover boot sector, etc.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by TheDDC » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:33 pm

armeliusc wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:25 pm
I am sorry, but all of the advices given so far in my opinion miss the most important thing of data recovery:
Do Not Do Anything That Alter Your Drive / Data.

How you somehow lost your your boot sector is a tell-tale of something had gone wrong. It could be a simple corruption, it could be the hard drive is failing, who knows. But it is irrelevant at this point. If you want the biggest chance to save your data, you must minimize 'touching' the drive, including trying to boot from it, trying to reinstall boot sector, doing a windows recovery, etc etc. The only thing you want to do with that drive is to read from it to get your data off of it.

But what you can do is really quite simple.

First, completely turn your laptop off, unplug, and remove the hard drive cover, then remove your hard drive. Carefully.

Second, buy an external enclosure that match your hard drive type so that you can now turn your hard drive into an 'external drive' with USB interface. Assuming it's a SATA drive (high likelihood for a 3 yr old / relatively recent hardware), something like this would do: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5 ... +enclosure

Third. Now find another working computer, Windows, Linux does not matter. Plug that hard drive in as USB external drive and the computer should see it as another external drive. Now Copy the Data off of it. To the cloud, to the local hard drive of the new computer, or to another external / backup drive. Make sure you copy everything you want to keep and make backup.

Once you've done those three steps, then you can do any of the other advice to try to recover the drive, or recover boot sector, etc.

Hope that helps.
I second this bit of advice. The USB-SATA adapter is a must have in the tech industry. The 2.5" version is cheap and requires very little power to operate the drive. Plugs right into your USB port and functions as a USB thumb drive would.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by Watty » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:16 pm

armeliusc wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:25 pm
I am sorry, but all of the advices given so far in my opinion miss the most important thing of data recovery:
Do Not Do Anything That Alter Your Drive / Data.

How you somehow lost your your boot sector is a tell-tale of something had gone wrong. It could be a simple corruption, it could be the hard drive is failing, who knows. But it is irrelevant at this point. If you want the biggest chance to save your data, you must minimize 'touching' the drive, including trying to boot from it, trying to reinstall boot sector, doing a windows recovery, etc etc. The only thing you want to do with that drive is to read from it to get your data off of it.

But what you can do is really quite simple.

First, completely turn your laptop off, unplug, and remove the hard drive cover, then remove your hard drive. Carefully.

Second, buy an external enclosure that match your hard drive type so that you can now turn your hard drive into an 'external drive' with USB interface. Assuming it's a SATA drive (high likelihood for a 3 yr old / relatively recent hardware), something like this would do: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5 ... +enclosure

Third. Now find another working computer, Windows, Linux does not matter. Plug that hard drive in as USB external drive and the computer should see it as another external drive. Now Copy the Data off of it. To the cloud, to the local hard drive of the new computer, or to another external / backup drive. Make sure you copy everything you want to keep and make backup.

Once you've done those three steps, then you can do any of the other advice to try to recover the drive, or recover boot sector, etc.

Hope that helps.
+1000

That is basically what I was going to suggest. Especially the part about "Do Not Do Anything That Alter Your Drive ".

I would add that it is possible that you it may still be under warranty. Some credit cards will extend the warranty and Costco usually extends laptop warranties for up to four years. If it is still under warranty then consider that before you do anything drastic.

You can likely find a video on Youtube that will tell you how to remove the hard drive on your specific model.

I am not a computer guru but I had the same or very similar error message on a fairly new desktop after searching for that in the internet I found that it could be caused by the cable to the hard drive having a bad connection. I unplugged the drive and plugged it back in and it worked find. There is a good chance that your data is still there but you could lose it by doing something wrong so be cautious in what you do.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:13 am

Thanks for the advice everybody. I'm pretty much all thumbs when it comes to hardware, so I'm thinking of taking it back to where I bought it in the next few days. We will see what they say. I will make it clear that they should do nothing that would alter the drive in any way. If they can't fix it, I guess I'm stuck with using a data recovery service. Does that make sense?
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:57 am

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:13 am
Thanks for the advice everybody. I'm pretty much all thumbs when it comes to hardware, so I'm thinking of taking it back to where I bought it in the next few days. We will see what they say. I will make it clear that they should do nothing that would alter the drive in any way. If they can't fix it, I guess I'm stuck with using a data recovery service. Does that make sense?
Yes.

But many stores have minimal if any in house service departments and they may want to send the computer off site for service. You don't want to do that so you may need to find a computer repair shop or some place like Best Buy that has in house repairs.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by badger42 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:05 pm

If the drive is actually toast, there's not much anybody in-house can do other than remove the hard drive (which, in most machines, requires nothing more than basic screwdriver skills) and connect it to another machine. However, there is substantial danger here if you actually care about the data.

If there is physical damage (e.g. head to platter contact), every attempt to spin up the drive will make it worse, and make eventual data recovery less likely.

There are two paths forward:

If your data is low value / replaceable - stick it in a USB enclosure on a good computer (or pay somebody to do it), and try to get the files that way. Keep in mind that this style of recovery makes deeper recovery (if it doesn't work) much less likely to be successful, if there is a physical problem.

If the data is irreplaceable and worth several hundred dollars to recover - do not power it up. Remove the drive (or get somebody to do it for you, without doing anything else), pack it securely, and ship it off to a professional data recovery company (e.g. DriveSavers). Costs depend on what they need to do for recovery (in extreme cases, they can do things like swap your platters into a good drive in a cleanroom, but it costs $$). DriveSavers will do free evals / estimates, as will others (they at least used to be the big name in the business)

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by oxothuk » Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:11 pm

These scenarios are where Apple computers really shine. Their backup process (Time Machine) is integrated into the OS in such a way that a failed hard disk is no big deal. Or migrating to a new computer, for that matter.

After 25 years, I'm really amazed Redmond hasn't found the time to put similar functionality into Windows.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by GrowthSeeker » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:18 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:59 pm
Thought I would take it in to the place I bought it from and see if they have any ideas.
That could work.
I was thinking of taking it to a data recovery outfit. ... Anyone have any other ideas? Any idea how much a data recovery operation like that would cost?
I just bought this device which supposedly reads SSDs and HDDs which are 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch.
It worked on an SSD which was in my failed laptop.
Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD ($22.49)

Watched a youtube video on how to open up the laptop to get the drive out.
Had to buy small screwdriver set: size 0 and size 1 Phillips head (about $2.00 at Walmart).

One tip: To read the drive from another computer, turn the other computer on first, before connecting the docking unit with drive inserted and powered up. Why? Because you don't want the working computer to try to boot from the drive that is sitting in the docking unit; you want the "new" computer to boot from its own drive.

Second tip: when you are done reading from the old drive, go into the tray area and click wherever you have to click to "eject" the drive plugged into the docking unit which is plugged into a USB port. It's that "safe to remove hardware" thing.

Third tip: USB 3 much faster than USB 2, so figure out which port is USB 3
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by bob60014 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:32 am

A couple years ago I had something similar occur. Turned out it was the MBR that was corrupted. I forgot which utility I used, but found this info as its similar.

https://www.easeus.com/partition-manage ... found.html

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:38 am

Pinging Mr. Ping:

Report?
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:23 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:38 am
Pinging Mr. Ping:

Report?
Been quite busy with other things the last few days ... hope to get on this tomorrow. Will report back when I have either success :D or failure :shock: .
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by rolandtorres » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:52 pm

Consider this $300 mail in data recovery in a clean room (starts at $300)

https://www.300dollardatarecovery.com/

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:02 pm

OP here.

Update 1 (there will be more ...)

Took the machine to Geek Squad. They tried resetting the BIOS, but no joy. Still,wouldn't boot. Then they removed the drive. Ah ha! It's an M.2 SSD, so at least no scraping of the read/write head on the disk to worry about. They plugged it into one of their bench computers and it seems they can see and open folders and see files. They are keeping the drive for a few days to make two backup copies of all user data and files for me. Should have the files, if they can truly copy them, in a few days.

I then took the remaining h/w 'carcass' to the computer shop that I originally bought it from. This place is a speciality computer shop that does custom builds so they should be proficient at diagnosing hardware problems. It will be 4 or 5 days before they get it on the bench and determine if there are any hardware problems.

So far so good. Cautiously optimistic. More later ...
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:54 pm

I recommend scrapping the 'carcass', don't bother paying the computer shop.

The diagnosis will either be a power supply, motherboard, or memory. If you replace one component, there's no guarantee the problem will be fixed - it's the interaction of all 3 together that creates the problem. If it passes "on the bench", it's very likely to fail at home. Long story short, it's not repairable.

Electronics are cheap. Replace the whole thing with a new computer and transfer your salvaged data files from the old SSD onto the new PC.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:01 pm

I'd pause anything until you have absolutely verified that you do indeed HAVE those old files, fully intact.

Once you've verified that you've got everything off the drive, then yes, why bother with fixing the old hardware?
The costs of HW keep going down and the equipment keeps having better features (or so I have been led to believe).

I've had Geek Squad rescue all data from what appeared to be a dead drive, and at that point, the last worry was the "old equipment". Time to move on, etc.

And IF you cannot access ALL of the folders/files, then perhaps you might consider the "next level" of rescue service.
(I've mentioned one in my PM previously, for a lesser urgent need, but it "worked", much to our surprise.)

I hope you really do have your data back! That's what matters now.

RM
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:07 am

SSDs rarely fail. This will turn out to be a simple Windows corruption issue, shop will say laptop is fine. OP will unfortunately be out a lot of money.

Do regular backups.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:28 am

If you are unable to recover the drive using the dyi methods mentioned above, sending it in for data recovery can get very costly. It can even get to be in the thousands of dollars. If you are lucky, it can be done for a few hundred dollars. Good luck.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:13 pm

Uodate 2 ...

Picked up the disk recovery files from geek squad this morning. Amazingly enough it looks like everything is there!

No word on h/w status yet. Probably mid next week.

While there I looked at other laptops. I do a lot of heavy calculation work (i.e., large multi-tab integrated spreadsheets, heavy duty scientific/engineering applications, etc.) so I need something with a lot of horsepower. Must be windows based due to application availability.

I saw this one that looked like it might work.
MSI Model: GS63 STEALTH-010
- Display: 15.6" Laptop
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 2400 Hz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
- Storage: 1TB Hard Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
- Price: $1,600
- Weight: 4.39 lb
- Battery: 65 w-hr 3-cell lithium polymer

Comments, suggestions, recommendations?

One Ping
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:24 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:13 pm
Uodate 2 ...

Picked up the disk recovery files from geek squad this morning. Amazingly enough it looks like everything is there!

No word on h/w status yet. Probably mid next week.

While there I looked at other laptops. I do a lot of heavy calculation work (i.e., large multi-tab integrated spreadsheets, heavy duty scientific/engineering applications, etc.) so I need something with a lot of horsepower. Must be windows based due to application availability.

I saw this one that looked like it might work.
MSI Model: GS63 STEALTH-010
- Display: 15.6" Laptop
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 2400 Hz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
- Storage: 1TB Hard Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
- Price: $1,600
- Weight: 4.39 lb
- Battery: 65 w-hr 3-cell lithium polymer

Comments, suggestions, recommendations?

One Ping
I'm glad you got everything back.

The laptop sounds expensive, even for something with some power. That is only 2.2 Ghz. i7s go up to around 5.0 (though not all are laptop versions). I'd opt for something with a higher speed (even with less cores) as not everything can be threaded. You are also paying for a premium graphic chip set even though it sounds like you may not play games, do CAD, etc. There are sites that do various benchmark tests on laptops and individual processors and break out intense calculations.

I don't know what kind of setup you had before in terms of directory structure, but I highly recommend one of these two methods to make backing it up easy:
1) Keep all your data on one drive (could be a logical partition).
2) Keep all your data under one folder. You can have as many subfolders as you need/want.

Look into automating the backups whether to another local drive, a network drive, the cloud or whatever. If using a local drive, I would still move the backup somewhere else once a week or so (cloud, USB drive, etc.).

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:30 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:24 pm
You are also paying for a premium graphic chip set even though it sounds like you may not play games, do CAD, etc.
I had heard that some CPU hungry applications use the graphics chip as another processor to offload some of the calculation load to. Am I mis-remembering that, or is it not significant enough to worry about?
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:24 pm
Look into automating the backups whether to another local drive, a network drive, the cloud or whatever. If using a local drive, I would still move the backup somewhere else once a week or so (cloud, USB drive, etc.).
Are there any applications out that that automate this backup process? Would be nice to schedule it to run every Sunday (every) night for example and send everything to the USB or cloud (One Drive?). Is Carbonite still around or are there better ways/apps nowdays?
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:50 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:13 pm
Picked up the disk recovery files from geek squad this morning. Amazingly enough it looks like everything is there!

While there I looked at other laptops. I do a lot of heavy calculation work (i.e., large multi-tab integrated spreadsheets, heavy duty scientific/engineering applications, etc.) so I need something with a lot of horsepower. Must be windows based due to application availability.

I saw this one that looked like it might work.
MSI Model: GS63 STEALTH-010
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 2400 Hz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
- Storage: 1TB Hard Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
- Price: $1,600
The I7 cpu is better than the I5. get an I7 if you can. Also get a CPU with the highest clock speed you can afford.

RAM and SSD is worth spending $ on.

256gb Solid state drive is small. go bigger! 256 is barely big enough for the OS, with not much space left over for swap/paging. 512gb is better.

The nvidia geforce GTX is nice. It won't be used much by Excel, unless you use something like the Open CL add-in. It will offload the I5/i7 from work associated with managing the video display, which is nice.

Google "accelerating Excel using a GPU". Also: here is one excel add-in : https://streamhpc.com/blog/2016-09-19/a ... el-opencl/

A 2 TB external hd can be added on later for not too much $. Skimp on internal HD and use the cash for external HDs that you can use for local offline backups. Offline backups are really really important. OFFLINE (disconnected) means it won't be encrypted by a RANSOMEWARE attack.

Excel is often not the right sw tool for the job. MS Access, a fairly straightforward SQL database, can handle some stuff much better than excel. If you have a lot of vlookups for example, use Access!
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by Exterous » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:39 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:50 pm
256gb Solid state drive is small. go bigger! 256 is barely big enough for the OS, with not much space left over for swap/paging. 512gb is better.
Uh...Windows 10 takes less than 30GB so 256 is quite a bit beyond 'barely big enough'. I have a Win 10 desktop with "only" a 256 SSD and find it plenty big enough for daily use - including 20GB of steam games. Currently I still have 47.9GB free. 512GB might be better depending on use case and storage location but 256GB is certainly usable.

Offline storage is not required to protect against ransomeware. Versioning from the major providers of both cloud and local connected storage protects against this. Risks of failure of versioning to protect the files should be weighted against failures of offline backup habits and physical destruction risk

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm

Carbonite is still around. I haven't used it, but I think for those that don't want to put a lot of effort into backing things up, Carbonite and its competitors are probably good. I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:18 pm

Thanks for the feed back.

I've not been able to find an 'off-the-shelf' laptop unit that has what I think I'm looking for. Looks like I might be able to configure one using the Lenovo site, though. Any feed back on Lenovo good/bad or otherwise? :?:
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by jebmke » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:47 pm

One Ping wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:18 pm
Thanks for the feed back.

I've not been able to find an 'off-the-shelf' laptop unit that has what I think I'm looking for. Looks like I might be able to configure one using the Lenovo site, though. Any feed back on Lenovo good/bad or otherwise? :?:
I have been deploying Lenovo laptops in my TaxAide volunteer organization. I'm up to 20 now. The Thinkpad series seems to be a more robust piece of hardware but we have been happy with all of them. We have only had one issue with one machine. The display crapped out but our users are pretty rough on them sometimes so it could have been user abuse.

We nuke the OEM image and install a standard image without all the OEM-ware.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:55 pm

I have a Lenovo T470 laptop. I've had it nearly a year and still like it - decent quality. It has a good keypad and display, which is important. Don't skimp and be sure to get the 1920 x 1080 display.

I also have 2 Lenovo ThinkCentre desktops.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:00 pm

Exterous wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:39 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:50 pm
256gb Solid state drive is small. go bigger! 256 is barely big enough for the OS, with not much space left over for swap/paging. 512gb is better.
Uh...Windows 10 takes less than 30GB so 256 is quite a bit beyond 'barely big enough'. I have a Win 10 desktop with "only" a 256 SSD and find it plenty big enough for daily use - including 20GB of steam games. Currently I still have 47.9GB free. 512GB might be better depending on use case and storage location but 256GB is certainly usable.

Offline storage is not required to protect against ransomeware. Versioning from the major providers of both cloud and local connected storage protects against this. Risks of failure of versioning to protect the files should be weighted against failures of offline backup habits and physical destruction risk
All I can say is I remember spending quite some time trying to fit W10 and my user files into a 256gb ssd. I finally gave up and got a bigger ssd. Life then got much easier. Yes W10 alone will fit in 30gb.... but not leave a lot of room for swap and user files. That and a couple of user directories with docs jpgs mp3ssss etc. 256 can end up feeling tight.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by MangoMama » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:47 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
I use SyncBack (free edition). I use it to sync folders from computers to external drives/USB. It will do a compare of the folders and only copy the changed files based on the rules you setup. It's very flexible with lots of options (network, FTP, etc).

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:57 pm

MangoMama wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:47 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:
I use SyncBack (free edition). I use it to sync folders from computers to external drives/USB. It will do a compare of the folders and only copy the changed files based on the rules you setup. It's very flexible with lots of options (network, FTP, etc).
Thanks, Mango.

Does SyncBack retain the date/time stamp of the original file? I often use that to search for and discriminate between files with similar names.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:22 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
Windows 10 (and I think many prior versions) has a built in program.

Google offers "Backup and Sync" and that is free for backing up to Google Drive. If you don't get enough free space you can buy more.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by MangoMama » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:33 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:57 pm
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:47 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:
I use SyncBack (free edition). I use it to sync folders from computers to external drives/USB. It will do a compare of the folders and only copy the changed files based on the rules you setup. It's very flexible with lots of options (network, FTP, etc).
Thanks, Mango.

Does SyncBack retain the date/time stamp of the original file? I often use that to search for and discriminate between files with similar names.
Yes, i believe it can retain the timestamp of the Source file. On the other hand, once you enter Expert mode I believe it gives you other options.

I've also noticed its a lot faster in doing large, small file copies when compared to a typical Windows copy/paste. You can also pause the transfer if needed, or stop it and re-run as needed. It will also give you a preview of changed files prior doing anything and you can skip or ignore files if need be.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by jebmke » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:16 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
I use FreefileSync to run nightly backups to my NAS; it can be configured to do versioning. Versioning is critical to avoid contaminating the backup with corrupted files. I use Task Scheduler in Windows to trigger the job.

I still have a cloud backup; I am currently using iDrive but I have plans to switch to SpiderOak when I have the time to work on this.

For making backup images of Windows I use Macrium Reflect.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by One Ping » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:12 pm

jebmke wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:16 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
I use FreefileSync to run nightly backups to my NAS; it can be configured to do versioning. Versioning is critical to avoid contaminating the backup with corrupted files. I use Task Scheduler in Windows to trigger the job.

I still have a cloud backup; I am currently using iDrive but I have plans to switch to SpiderOak when I have the time to work on this.

For making backup images of Windows I use Macrium Reflect.
So, does versioning then protect data backed up on NAS from ransomware attacks?
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by jebmke » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:28 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:12 pm
So, does versioning then protect data backed up on NAS from ransomware attacks?
I don't know much about ransomware. I suspect some of it could attack and lock up a NAS if it were connected. It may even be capable of lurking and locking up a USB drive that was normally kept disconnected once it is connected to an infected machine.
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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by Exterous » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:16 pm

One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:12 pm
jebmke wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:16 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
I use FreefileSync to run nightly backups to my NAS; it can be configured to do versioning. Versioning is critical to avoid contaminating the backup with corrupted files. I use Task Scheduler in Windows to trigger the job.

I still have a cloud backup; I am currently using iDrive but I have plans to switch to SpiderOak when I have the time to work on this.

For making backup images of Windows I use Macrium Reflect.
So, does versioning then protect data backed up on NAS from ransomware attacks?
Yes but to what extent depends on a lot of factors like the NAS, the setup and the ransomware. If the NAS exposes all versions on mounted shares with Read\Write access for the account that was logged in when the computer was infected a decently coded ransomware app will find it and encrypt everything.

But many NAS devices now offer mitigation options like authenticated backups and "pull" backup options (So the NAS authenticates to your computer using different credentials to 'pull' information to backup.) In that case you're usually looking at a situation where you might have an encrypted version of the files on the NAS but you can then select a version of that file(s) that existed before the attack
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:00 pm
Exterous wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:39 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:50 pm
256gb Solid state drive is small. go bigger! 256 is barely big enough for the OS, with not much space left over for swap/paging. 512gb is better.
Uh...Windows 10 takes less than 30GB so 256 is quite a bit beyond 'barely big enough'. I have a Win 10 desktop with "only" a 256 SSD and find it plenty big enough for daily use - including 20GB of steam games. Currently I still have 47.9GB free. 512GB might be better depending on use case and storage location but 256GB is certainly usable.

Offline storage is not required to protect against ransomeware. Versioning from the major providers of both cloud and local connected storage protects against this. Risks of failure of versioning to protect the files should be weighted against failures of offline backup habits and physical destruction risk
All I can say is I remember spending quite some time trying to fit W10 and my user files into a 256gb ssd. I finally gave up and got a bigger ssd. Life then got much easier. Yes W10 alone will fit in 30gb.... but not leave a lot of room for swap and user files. That and a couple of user directories with docs jpgs mp3ssss etc. 256 can end up feeling tight.
In Win10 swap files are limited to 3x the RAM or 4GB whichever is bigger so even if we're talking 16GB ram and max sawp use you're still only using around 1/3 of the drive for the OS and swap. You can fit a lot of docs, jpgs and mp3s in 157GB

I agree it can be tight depending on use case. I was just being picky about the ability to use a 256GB drive with Win10. My team manages our windows build system and we have roughly 4,000 windows 10 laptops and desktops with 256GB SSD drives (along with many more with larger drives) and they work fine even with people saving data locally and syncing their iTunes library etc to the machine

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Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

Post by CaliJim » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:50 am

Exterous wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:16 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:12 pm
jebmke wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:16 pm
One Ping wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:09 pm
I use a homebrew setup with a couple of scripts I wrote. One backups up locally daily. The other encrypts my files and uploads to OneDrive. I hate to pay monthly fees if I don't have to.
Is there an app that will run backups on folders you select at intervals you select to locations you select? :?:

Seems like some things I might want to back up frequently, locally and others less often to remote storage.

One Ping
False frugality. I use FreefileSync to run nightly backups to my NAS; it can be configured to do versioning. Versioning is critical to avoid contaminating the backup with corrupted files. I use Task Scheduler in Windows to trigger the job.

I still have a cloud backup; I am currently using iDrive but I have plans to switch to SpiderOak when I have the time to work on this.

For making backup images of Windows I use Macrium Reflect.
So, does versioning then protect data backed up on NAS from ransomware attacks?
good on you. well done.

Yes but to what extent depends on a lot of factors like the NAS, the setup and the ransomware. If the NAS exposes all versions on mounted shares with Read\Write access for the account that was logged in when the computer was infected a decently coded ransomware app will find it and encrypt everything.

But many NAS devices now offer mitigation options like authenticated backups and "pull" backup options (So the NAS authenticates to your computer using different credentials to 'pull' information to backup.) In that case you're usually looking at a situation where you might have an encrypted version of the files on the NAS but you can then select a version of that file(s) that existed before the attack
CaliJim wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:00 pm
Exterous wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:39 pm
CaliJim wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:50 pm
256gb Solid state drive is small. go bigger! 256 is barely big enough for the OS, with not much space left over for swap/paging. 512gb is better.
Uh...Windows 10 takes less than 30GB so 256 is quite a bit beyond 'barely big enough'. I have a Win 10 desktop with "only" a 256 SSD and find it plenty big enough for daily use - including 20GB of steam games. Currently I still have 47.9GB free. 512GB might be better depending on use case and storage location but 256GB is certainly usable.

Offline storage is not required to protect against ransomeware. Versioning from the major providers of both cloud and local connected storage protects against this. Risks of failure of versioning to protect the files should be weighted against failures of offline backup habits and physical destruction risk
All I can say is I remember spending quite some time trying to fit W10 and my user files into a 256gb ssd. I finally gave up and got a bigger ssd. Life then got much easier. Yes W10 alone will fit in 30gb.... but not leave a lot of room for swap and user files. That and a couple of user directories with docs jpgs mp3ssss etc. 256 can end up feeling tight.
In Win10 swap files are limited to 3x the RAM or 4GB whichever is bigger so even if we're talking 16GB ram and max sawp use you're still only using around 1/3 of the drive for the OS and swap. You can fit a lot of docs, jpgs and mp3s in 157GB

I agree it can be tight depending on use case. I was just being picky about the ability to use a 256GB drive with Win10. My team manages our windows build system and we have roughly 4,000 windows 10 laptops and desktops with 256GB SSD drives (along with many more with larger drives) and they work fine even with people saving data locally and syncing their iTunes library etc to the machine
do your users open tickets when they can't save a file because they are out of disk space? or do they silently curse IT and just go to the airport kiosk and buy a USB stick and put the cost on their expense report?

Do your sysadmins scan the domain for systems with low disk space? Do you report average PCT FULL to sr mgmt for your THOUSANDS of laptops? Do you have a desktop management system?

Yes....depending on use cases: use cases change over time. The future may not be like the past. On the system I am using now, c:\users\.... is > 300gb. (I might have ripped a few DVDs...... :P)

I have always found windows versioning system to be clumsy and opaque. I was spoiled by administering clusters of systems with a 'real' OS's... VAX/VMS. VMS may be coming to a PC near you! http://vmssoftware.com/updates_port.html Digital's RMS.... that was an GREAT file system, until it got lost in the Compaq to HP shuffle. Now you have to buy a HP PA Risc system to get it via ultix. It is a straightfward & easy to use versionning file system. Always on. No special taskmgr scripts to run. Restoring accidentally overwritten ocuments for users was so easy. So many "How did you do thast!?" Made being the IT guy so easy.

VMS Backup... that was a REAL backup program. It was nice to see that Acronis copied the vms backup feature set (full and incrementals) for a PC based backup program. Windows BACKUP.....puhlease.... it is so broken... winzip caught in a loop. Ugh. not so much. Launching winbackupfrom the command prompt is like doing precision science experiments in a filthy lab with dirty tap water. Who knows what will happen. Where is the log file? Where is $stderror?

Ransomware scares the c r a p out of me. WannaCry was extremely damaging (Billions of lost $) for many many many companies. A new variant of WannaCry ransomware forced Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to temporarily shut down several of its chip-fabrication factories in August 2018. That stuff is still out there in the wild.

The virus spread to 10,000 machines in TSMC’s most advanced facilities.[6] I would not make ANY assumptions about what ransomeware can or can't do to a windows 10 versioned file system. I can imagine ALL VERSIONS of a file getting encrypted. What could stop a well written virus from encrypting the backup disk where the prior versions are stored? Then where would you be. Up the river w/ Mr. PING. For me it would be A Disaster.

I know A virus CAN NOT encrypt a disk that is tucked safely away offline and is NOT connected to the system. I know that with certainty and I don't need to experiment with 4000 laptops used by other people to know this.
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