As I was watching TV with my wife yesterday, I heard a rather loud grinding noise from my Mac in the next room. I approached the computer and noticed the screen was black and that there was a disturbing ticking noise from one of the harddrives. Turns out my system disk, a 36GB Western Digital Raptor, had failed.
At first, I was a bit worried that I had lost data, but luckily, when I first installed Leopard, I had set the location of my home directory to the root of a different harddrive (my main storage drive). In other words, even though my system disk crashed, all my documents, music, movies as well as application settings and stuff like that was stored on a different drive. I replaced the failed drive and installed a fresh copy of Leopard. I then reset the location of my home directory to the storage drive and rebooted. After about an hour of re-installing applications on the new system drive, I was up and running as if nothing had happened.
Storing my home directory on a separate drive has saved my bacon more than once. I strongly recommend it.
This last brush with harddrive death has made me realize that I need to setup a more robust backup scheme. If my main storage drive had failed, I would have been screwed. I think I have a DVD backup of most of my important documents and development stuff somewhere and I have an iTunes backup that’s a few months old, but apart from that, I have no backups.
Can anyone recommend a good tool for backing up to Amazon S3? I’ve heard good things about Jungle Disk, but I’m open to suggestions.