Dead Media Server

A couple of weeks ago I came back home after a few days away to find that my media server wasn’t working. This is not unusual. The machine runs Windows XP and I have it set to run auto updates and re-boot if it needs to. I also have a password set at the sign-on screen so if it has restarted itself a small amount of manual intervention is required.

Dead Hard Drive

Dead Hard Drive

This time, however, when I attempted to use VNC to access the machine I got no response. I did have a screen plugged in to help solve problems like this, but the key word here is ‘did’. Recently the screen was attached to my main computer in the study so I could play around with multi-monitor options.

The fact that server was dead didn’t mean I couldn’t access my data. I’ve been rather sensible over the last year and added not only a second drive to the machine, but also a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device to the router. Each night everything on the server is copied to that second drive and to the NAS. The fact that the machine wouldn’t re-boot just meant that I pointed the other computers to the NAS and things were back to normal.

When I did get around to plugging in a screen I found that the main hard drive had failed. What I’m now left with is a box in the cellar that won’t start up, one hard drive that won’t work and a secondary hard drive which I can’t access because the machine won’t boot from it.

I’ve ordered a new hard drive, but the pain is going to be unplugging everything carrying the box up stairs, fitting the new kit and re-installing the OS. I think what I actually need is a rack mounted system with hot swappable drives the automatically format themselves with a drive image when plugged in.

Then again, this is only a small home set-up, so maybe I’m letting my general laziness get the better of me.