Farewell my dear harddisk

It finally happened. I can no longer boot my system because the disk is no longer among us. What can I say…

Armed Robbery example


Oh yes of course. Mine was just a little out of date and needed to be redone. Obviously a lot of files had changed over the last 12 – 14 months.

Disk Check

I learned once that it is a good idea to run a disk check before you backup. Well, that is not a good advice if there is a thunderstorm in the area. That is, if there is just a slight chance the diskcheck will not be done before the thunder and lightning arrives.

As nice as it is to have very large storage devices these days – the other side of the equation is that it takes rather long time to run utilities like diskcheck on a 80GB disk filled with app 50GB of your stuff. Too long for me to avoid the thunderstorm.

The very moment the power was cut, the Windows Registry on my harddisk was corrupted.

Don’t Panic

After power was reestablished, the system merrily resumed the disk check. At first sight everything seemed normal, except disk check never seemed to stop. After carefully monitoring the exiting disk check process phase 1 to 5, I could see that disk check apparently could not flag completion – hence the system proceeded with a new disk check every time the PC was booted. And that happens automatically after disk check has completed phase 5.

Fortunately I was able to boot up in command mode. (Frankly, it been years since I tried that stuff last time). And Fortunately we have Google, helping me find what to change in the registry to avoid the disk check routine at startup.

It did not provide much progress though. The system grinds to a halt during startup after a while.

Safe mode

The good old Safe mode in Windows XP Home Edition works for me. Even with network access – I hope it will for you too, should you run into these problems some day.

It’s not perfect and you cannot run Adobe Acrobat for example because of a licensing/activation restriction, I was not aware of. But it did enough for me to start rescuing my documents.


As backup media I used an external 250GB hard drive plugged into a USB. Instead of using the build in Microsoft backup program, I purchased a license for the SyncBackSE product that is affordable and very easy to work with.

Even though SyncBackSE can do a lot of advanced functions, I have been using it simply to create a mirror of the directories I knew I had to keep somehow.

And I am all done backing up. It feels soo good.

All I need now is to reestablish the corrupt windows registry file. But that would be the easy solution, maybe I will have to format the system, reinstall windows plus all drivers and the applications I have and then restore my documents…

Well, it is better than the alternative.