Let me ask you a question. "How old is your hard drive?"



Why you ask? It is my feeling that the design engineers are looking at a 5 year design lifetime when drive is on the drawing board. Many drives last quite a bit longer and as some of us know from experience, quite a few drives don't last that long.


If your hard drive is 4 years old or greater then it might be time to think about backing up your data and moving it to a new hard drive.


It is usually a fairly simple job to transfer everything (usually by a process known as imaging) from one drive to another as long as the original drive is working properly. When this procedure works it is a thing of beauty. When you reboot your computer after the hard drive swap you should find that everything looks and works the same except that you have a new hard drive holding your precious data.


Your motherboard can fail, the power supply can fail, the sound card, the network card, the DVD can fail and you can still get your data back. If your hard drive fails then you are in trouble, your data is gone. Then it's time for the old techie joke, "you will just have to restore from your backups". The joke here is that the old techie knows there are probably no backups. Very dark humor for sure.


It is worth noting that there are services that go to extreme lengths to retrieve valuable data on dead or failed hard drives. It is also worth noting that these services are extremely expensive.


The really important thing on a computer is the data you have saved on to it. The next two important things on it are the configurations that we do for programs, passwords, codes etc. The issue here is that these configurations were possibly done years ago, who remembers. The other important type of info on our computer is the installed programs and various theirs codes and activations. I have seen many people have to re-purchase applications because of lost disks, codes or install files. All three of these types of data are stored on your hard drive.


There are certainly some types of hard drive failures where the drive does not completely stop working and it is possible to pull some or all the data off but since the drive is not working 100% the ability to transfer the entire drives contents to a new drive often won't work. What you are left with is a much larger job of re-building your computers.  Fresh OS install, install and configure programs ( find the disks and codes too), install printers, restore data etc. It's a lot more work than imaging from one drive to another.


From experience I can tell you that recovering from a hard drive failure can be huge pain in the rear  and lots of work. Why bother when a little preemptive maintenance can save you all that bother. We all take for granted the wisdom of replacing the tires on our car before they blow out while we are driving.


It is an odd phenomenon of the computer age that people who are totally tied to their computers rarely give them a mechanical thought until they stop working.


Failure over a long enough timeline is a absolute certainty. To make it interesting we do not get to know how long the time line is. Best be prepared sooner than later.

Recipes by Gina - Recipe of the Moment

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

  • 1 small (golf-ball sized) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed clean
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tbls extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more as needed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tbls butter   #44110
  • 2 boneless turkey breast halves, skin on   #32865
  • Freshly ground black pepper   #13877
  • 3 tbls all-purpose flour   #09125
  • 1/4 cup apple or regular brandy
  • 2 to 3 cups apple cider
  • Salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan and set it aside.  
  • Put the onion into the bowl of a mini food processor.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemon in thin strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith.
  • Add the lemon zest to the food processor and reserve the whole lemon for another use. Chop the onion and lemon zest until fine.
  • Add the sage, parsley, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until it forms a coarse paste.
  • Put 2 of the bay leaves and the butter into a small pan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is bubbling.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Put the turkey breasts on a work surface.
  • Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from 1 end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket.
  • Season the turkey breasts generously with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff half of the herb paste under the skin of each breast, and spread it evenly under the skin.
  • Transfer the breasts to the roasting pan, and slide 2 bay leaves underneath each one. (The heat will release the bay leaf oils and flavour the breast.)
  • Using a pastry brush, baste the breasts with half of the bay butter.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F.
  • After 50 minutes, baste the turkey breasts with the remaining butter, and roast for an additional 50 minutes, until cooked through, or the  thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees F.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, and let rest for 30 minutes before carving while you make the gravy.
  • Put the roasting pan over the burner on medium heat.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
  • Add the apple brandy, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom.
  • Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then, while stirring, pour in the apple cider.
  • Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Slice the turkey breast on the diagonal, and serve with warm gravy.

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