Data Chaos

I really need to stop slacking when it comes to maintaining my PC.

Some time ago, the boot drive on my gaming PC started getting bad blocks, so I swapped it out for a spare laptop drive that I had handy. It was a smaller drive, and not exactly high performance, but it would do in a pinch until I had a chance to replace it properly. I’ve been meaning to do a complete PC upgrade, so it would just have to last until then. Using a smaller drive also meant that I couldn’t restore everything from my backup of the old drive. But that also meant that I couldn’t run any new backups or I’d lose that data that I wasn’t able to restore, and I didn’t have enough room on the backup drive for a parallel backup, so I just turned the backups off. After all this is purely temporary, right?

And now, many months later, I still haven’t done that PC upgrade… Instead of backups, I’d occasionally copy the most important files from under my user profile to some spare space on my Linux server, just in case. And now, I’m getting block errors on my secondary drive… The secondary drive is mostly just game installs, so 95% of it can just be redownloaded from Steam or GOG or wherever, but there is some unique data on there, too. Modded Minecraft installs and worlds, saves for games that don’t put them under the user profile, some game installs that didn’t come from downloads but had to be modded or cracked in order to get them working on modern systems, some other handfuls of miscellaneous files, etc. And since the backups were disabled, these files have gradually grown a bit out of sync with what’s in the backups, and now this drive is potentially failing.

Then I remembered that I actually have a spare 8TB drive that I’d never wound up using for anything. When I ordered it, I was completely reworking how storage was allocated across both the PC and Linux box, but by the time I got it, I realized that I couldn’t use it as a main drive in the gaming PC because I didn’t have enough backup drive space to cover it. I couldn’t use it for storage on the Linux box because I didn’t have a second one to pair with it for mirroring, and I couldn’t use it as a backup drive since I didn’t have a spare enclosure, so it just sat on the shelf of my parts closet.

So now I’m trying to clone all of the data off of both the boot and secondary drives onto this 8TB drive and make it just the single main drive. That won’t be the end of the trouble, though. I still won’t be able to back up this drive, and any data copied from the secondary drive might be affected by bad sectors (I’ll have to keep an eye on any copy errors). And I still need to do the PC upgrade, and when I do so I’ll have to take the data on this drive, the manually copied profile files, and the older backups, and reconcile all of them.

The lesson here is not to put off any important data management tasks, figuring that you can sort them out later on. If I’d just replaced that boot drive with a proper one right away, I’d have been able to keep proper backups going and avoided all this mess.

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