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I think I’ll back up my laptop

Those were the first words out of my wife’s mouth when I told her my laptop had died. She walked away I think to specifically do that one afternoon as I struggled to diagnose the issues with my Toshiba Qosmio. It wouldn’t come out of suspend on vacation and I packed it up, not having time to mess with it. The next day when I went to turn it on, I got three beeps on power up (multiple beeps never being a good sign), but nothing on the screen. The lights were all on, and the hard disk was accessed briefly, but nothing worked. I even tried booting to CD with BartPE, but that didn’t help.

My first thought was to dig through my documentation. This machine is 2 years old and I’ve had a few issues with it. It sometimes doesn’t get through the POST, and so I’ll go months without rebooting it. I had a hard drive die, and things just seem flaky at times. It has some nice features, like a real physical volume control, but other than that I haven’t been overly impressed. I got it halfway into the Vista cycle and couldn’t downgrade to XP because of a lack of drivers for a couple of Toshiba parts. That alone didn’t endear me to the machine.

I couldn’t find a warranty, and the Toshiba site saw I was out of warranty. I started shopping for a new machine, but found most of them backordered out 2-3 weeks for a built (Dell, Lenovo, and HP) and I didn’t really want to spend $2k if I didn’t have to. My boss was out of touch and I wasn’t sure what my status might be for a new machine, so I decided to try a repair and see. I called Toshiba and they said I had purchased the extended warranty.

Good for me, though bad for Toshiba that this wasn’t on their site.

I arranged for a repair and shipped the machine back to Toshiba. However it might take a couple weeks for a repair and I had started moving most of my work to this machine. That means I’m struggling a bit to get things sorted out for work on my desktop. I lacks the video software, camera, and a few things that were setup on my laptop. Not to mention it’s 64 bit while I had a 32 bit desktop. I’d like to move everything to Win 7 anyway, and this is a good time, but I’ve got to fit it in around other work.

I have to say that like most people I haven’t been overly diligent about backing things up. The critical stuff is mostly backed up across machines with Live Mesh, but pictures and video have been mostly on just the laptop with monthly backups to an external disk. I’m changing that as I’ve ordered 2 2TB drives to add to me old desktop, an AMD64 machine with 1.5TB across 2 drives in it. I’ll add the 2 new drives and then install Windows Home Server on the machine. 4 drives and 3.5TB should give me a decent amount of backup space, I’m guessing in the 2.5TB range. I think that will give me some security moving forward.

I’ll also get the chance to clean up my laptop when it comes back, reinstall only the apps I need and get it running. I’m actually looking forward to it coming back since it has 2 drive bays and most of the new Dells and Lenovo’s I was looking at don’t. I priced out a 128GB SSD for it at $150 and am thinking to put that in one bay as the primary drive and keep the second drive around for data and video. That should give me some performance until next year when I’ll look to replace it. I’m thinking that late 2010 I’ll be ready for a nice quad core screamer.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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