RIP beloved hard drive

I had a whole pile of “fun” today when my Libretto U100’s HDD suddenly died at 1pm right in the middle of preparations to release my company’s new open-source billing system product on the 16th of February.

Fortunately as I had done a backup just last night, I only lost about 3 hours work, but it was still quite an annoyance as it took about 10 hours to replace the hard drive, pull all the data off the backup server and restore the operating system.

Most of the complexity comes from the very small size of the laptop and the fact that the only way to remove the HDD is to remove almost all parts of the motherboard & expansion cards inside.

Fortunately I had spare components from another Libretto that I had scrapped for parts – without that the problem would have been much more serious, since it only takes 1.8″ IDE HDDs which aren’t that easy to get and can be rather expensive (one Toshiba parts supplier quotes about $500 for a replacement 60GB drive).

The I/O performance on the laptop had been getting pretty bad over the past month and I was starting to suspect drive problems so the failure wasn’t a huge shock, it just came at a really annoying time.

I’ve had 3 years of almost 24×7 use out of the laptop, including carrying it all over the place on almost a daily basis, so I’m pretty pleased with it’s life span overall.

I think my next purchase will be one of the new 64GB IDE 1.8″ SSD drives to get a much faster, reliable laptop – considering that whenever I notice slowness on my Libretto it’s due to disk I/O, a SSD should be a worthy investment to extending it’s usable life.

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