Thinking back on it, there were a few incidents that might have signaled trouble on the way.
I'd decided to remove some obsolete software to free up space on my boot partition, inexplicably using the Windows Control Panel, which I normally shun in favor of a third-party uninstaller. The first program up for removal had been in place for quite a while without having been updated.
It may just be superstition, but I think that when a program has been installed for a long time Windows gets used to it being there, and that removing it is a task best not left to Windows.
"As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated, and even missed when absent."
Still, for whatever reason, this time I used the Add/Remove Programs menu in the Control Panel. Windows huffed and puffed and nearly hung, but it finally gave in and removed the software. The next time I powered down there was an error message that went by too fast to read. I rarely have anything like that happen and should have looked into it further, but instead disregarded it. It's probably nothing
. And maybe it was
A few days later a window popped up that said defrag.exe had crashed while working in a temp folder. It was news to me that defrag runs without being told to, but here was the proof. I didn't get too worked-up about it crashing, though. Probably nothing, just... delicious red herring
Maybe a week later I was putting together a DVD project amidst reservations that the output target partition might be too fragmented to accommodate the task. That may have been the case; DVDFlick crashed bigtime. The incomplete DVD files that were left behind acted strange; accessing them in any way, even hovering over them for information, was extremely sluggish. Yea, there was something evil
about those files, and deleting them did not go well.
The next time I tried to back up data from that partition to a DVD-R, ImgBurn crashed. Copying the files to another drive before burning to disc was more successful, and
more time consuming. It was around then that I got the external drive, which brings us back to the OP.
This post concerns data backup and continues from here
, which was part of a sub-topic that began approximately here
, in a thread that started with this post
Many of the files that I needed to back up were split RARs and I wanted to join them before saving to DVD-R. With my HDDs nearly full there was no easy way to do that, so I finally took some advice and bought an external drive, a WD Elements 3TB USB 2.0, for $110.
I was unpacking RARS to the external drive when things took an alarming turn. The IDE channel that supports my 2 internal HDDs kept dropping from UDMA 5 down to PIO mode. With the drives as full and fragmented as they were, this was no surprise. Removing the IDE channel through the Device Manager and letting it re-detect would make things alright again for a while. But soon my PC began crashing frequently, and Windows would want to run chkdsk on a partition or two when it rebooted. Sometimes chkdsk recovered a few orphaned file fragments, other times it found no problems.