October 20th, 2009
One second: The time it takes to wipe three years of work
Posted by Zack Whittaker @ 5:43 pm
It only takes a single second, some would argue a micro-second, to wipe an entire hard drive. Without the need for electromagnetic pulses
or an industrial liquidiser, all it takes is a single spark of electricity to cause havoc with your entire electronic life.
How do I know? Because last night I hit the realisation that I lost everything in a blink of an eye. Here’s how, kids.
Two days ago, I was in my home office working on my degree work for the week. Just as I finish writing up a seminar, I stretch my legs, kicking out the all important power cable at the back of my machine. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, so I was annoyed at potentially losing what I had been working on but not particularly fussed.
I restarted the machine and with an element of surprise, the POST took a while longer than per usual and it stopped, not before asking me to insert boot media. At this point, I thought the master boot record
used to boot up Windows was corrupted. No big deal, but the Windows 7 disk I needed was in my office on campus - over a mile away, and this was 11pm.
So I trail my way up to campus and get the almighty powerful disk I thought needed to fix my master boot record. Instead of trailing all the way back home, I decided to pull an all-nighter and get some work done. To say that I felt a little delicate the next day
would have been a massive understatement.
Once I finally got home, I slam the disk in and with a little persuasion begin Windows setup to recover the drive. After a while it dawned on me that not only can Windows setup not find my drive but neither can BIOS. At this point I realise that I am in deep trouble.