"Bye Bye ... my laptop hard drive ... try to do a check disk but the end was nigh"Don McLean

It's one of those things that happens to everyone at some point and at the end of last week it happened to me .... my hard disk 'gave up the ghost'

More often than not, this means a week or so of downtime,  loss of data and a whole mountain of email you have to catch up with.  For me however,  this unfortunate incident highlighted a couple of cool things

Being offline is not a good thing when you work at Microsoft.  So while I was waiting for the new hard disk to arrive I borrowed another laptop,  opened up Internet Explorer and typed in the address for our deployment of Outlook Web Access and Communicator Web Access,  10 seconds later I am back online for email,  IM and presence .... sweeeeeeet!.

A few days later,  the hard disk arrives and gets installed.  A few minutes later I plug in the network cable,  F12 to do a network boot and a little while later I have Windows Vista and Office 2007 installed and ready for me to get my data back. 

It's at this point I now deploy my cunning tools of data restoration

  • www.foldershare.com - I downloaded the client to my desktop and after a few minutes on configuring Foldershare,  it starts to pull copies of my data from my media center, SBS server at home and a server at my parents house.  I really can't put into words how cool this piece of software is ... it simply has to be seen and used to be believed.  In a little over an hour,  1 GB of files are copied down to my machine and I am almost ready to continue with a normal work day
  • Groove is part 2 of the data restore programme.  As I mentioned in an earlier post,  I have been using Groove as part of the OCS launch planning and within an hour or so I had all of the OCS launch information back on my machine,  one step closer to getting back to my normal working day
  • The 'My Documents' folder was the last folder that I needed to restore.  This is where my expense claims are stored for a start so this could possibly be the most important set of data I had.  At Microsoft we have up to 1gb of data we can store in 'My Documents' and again within a few seconds my data was back .... sweet !

So ... what have we learnt from this? 

  1. Data loss is bad
  2. Foldershare.com,  Groove and My Documents folder redirection are goooooood!
  3. Communicator Web Access and Outlook Web Access means even when you don't have your own PC .... it doesn't mean you have to be 'offline' :-)