Partitions: that false sense of security
Thread poster: Pilar T. Bayle
Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 29, 2006

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about backup copies, media to perform them, and the like. In many of such postings, I have detected a kind of false security in partitions and their magic.

Do not mistake what I mean. It is intelligent to partition, it is very intelligent to keep all your work files in a partition that is NOT C:. That way, whenever a failure of the OS occurs, you are safe to format, reinstall, etc, your OS in C: leaving your works files unscathed.

Nevertheless, OS failure is just a "kind" failure that only affects the drive where it was installed (C: by default).

Unfortunately, computers have to rely on electricity, which brings along overvoltages, undervoltages, peaks, sags... You name it! It's there.

There are a couple of items that are designed to fight that. One is optional (a UPS), the other one is standard equipment, your power supply.

Initially, power supplies were designed to stop all electrical activity once they were hit with an overvoltage, for example. In truth, before they die, they actually wipe out the largest amount of components, specially the motherboard, the processor, and the HDDs.

Your contents are still within the HDDs, but the file allocation table may be damaged and the HDD will be detected as damaged or empty or without any format, hence rendering it useless (it can be worked out, but that's not the point of this post).

So, please, make sure ANY backup is done to external media, whichever, and do not simply rely on another partition or a second HDD to place it there.

I have lost 3 power supplies in the last 6 years. The last one died about 12 days ago. Both my HDDs were rendered useless, although I could end up retrieving all the contents in my main HDD. The other one is sitting in one of my drawers, in case I have some time to play with it a little bit more.


[Edited at 2006-06-29 13:28]

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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
You will never get 100% safety Jun 29, 2006

So partitioning is only one step behind securing my own data.
The next step is the backup - on an external device, which is NOT running the whole time along with the main PC.
You can also take further steps and secure the content of the backup-drive on even next drive or server. You could email you the content of the backup and so on...

This is as always the question of cost. While an external HDD is very cheap, the next better solution would be to have a server - but this is much more expensive. Power failures, power supply damages do happen - but do happen quite seldom, I mean, at least here in Germany we almost do not have any power shortages. Only when someone comes with a big excavator and does play around...´
Since 1990 I´ve lost one single HDD and two power supplies...

But you are right, partitioning is not safety per se.


[Edited at 2006-06-29 13:43]

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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
:-) Jun 29, 2006

at least here in Germany we almost do not have any power shortages. Only when someone comes with a big excavator and does play around...

I live in Madrid, but sometimes there are huge overvoltages. The secret is to be redundant with your backups. Some of the methods are fairly inexpensive and you can have an external HDD and use your ftp in your site to keep copies (for example, I have a large empty ftp as part of my website).


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