Latest Diablo 3 News
DiabloWiki Updates
Support the site! Become a Diablo: IncGamers PAL - Remove ads and more!

OT: Data recovery tips

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by skiffcz, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. skiffcz

    skiffcz IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    OT: Data recovery tips

    Ok, so we all can see some strange karma is going on recently, and it seems to be a good time to sum up some quick tips and thoughts touching this topic.

    I. Do not panic!
    This is the most important advice. In 99 percent of times, your data are not lost when the computer crashes, they are oblivioned by your lame attempt to "recover" them. Then you realize that in fact everything was fine until you started your mission. Then you fail. It happened to me like a bazilion times. Always try to find out where the problem is before repairing it. Always take your time to plan your following steps. Never rush. Google for solutions, ask friends, ask professionals. If you do not have another computer or anyone to help you right now, then you should not try anything right now (unless you are two hundred percent sure what happened). After and only after you are sure what happened, cure the problem. To stress this even more:
    II. Be aware of all the possibilities!
    As stated above, there is a very poor chance your data are lost forever. In most cases, they are recoverable. Here are some typical scenarios and solutions:

    Your game freezes: Just alt-tab out of it and copy your current chars .d2s file somewhere else. If the game screws up your savefile and is not able to load it next time, you have a backup. The ber on the ground that just dropped is lost forever, though. However, this has never happened to me, as D2 is relatively stable and such things are rare.

    Your computer freezes: If it boots next time, it is fine. Not much harm done, even in long sessions, as D2 continuously updates your savefile time to time. If the savefile is jammed because of this and you use ATMA, look for .org files in your save directory. ATMA backs up files when they are opened.

    Your system crashes: Here we are talking some serious business. First, most operating systems provide tools for repairing their filesystems. See "chckdsk" for Windows and "fsck" for linux based systems. Google them. Follow the tips you find. If this does not help, it may be an operating system related problem, not jammed filesystem, and for this case there are some ways how to browse your disk contents without booting the flawed OS in question.
    • download any precompiled Linux distribution (i.e. Ubuntu), burn it on the CD and run it from there. You just need to put it into your CD drive and it will ask you if you want to install it or just run. Just run them, they don't require you to install them in order to function. They are known as "Live distributions" and you can find plenty of them on the Net. If nothing happens after putting them into drive and restarting, you may have to enter your BIOS Setup and change Boot sequence, so the CD-ROM is before HDD. These systems can safely access your hard drive and you can then back up your data (flash disc, as your CD-ROM is full).
    • Move the HDD to another computer as a non system disc and access it from that computers operating system. Note, that even small laptop 2,5" HDDs can be plugged into 3,5" interfaces in desktop computers. All you need is cheap reduction. Read instruction first, though, as this reduction is not idiot-proof as most of todays HW and it can be plugged in the wrong way. I have fried one 2,5 disc myself.
    • Reinstall the system. If the data are on separate partition, its solved. In Windows, even if your save folder is on the same partition as Windows, you dont have to format your disc. Windows will then simply overwrite their c:/windows folder and c:/Document and Settings/Yourname folder. If your save folder is in this folder, just use different username during install. The pain comes with branded computers and laptops, where you get an installation CDs which do not have any way how to skip formatting. You can either obtain pirated system for the purpose of "getting it work" and backing up your files, then reinstall your legal system, or use the tricks above. Believe me, the live distros solution is fastest, safest and completely legal.
    Also note, that there are many utilities available which can recover data even from formatted HDDs, and you may be able to restore your stashes yourself. Stashes are generally small files and this fact greatly improves the chance they will stay untouched.

    Hear Her Voice:
    And look on The Net for true Answers:
    SpinRite on Wikipedia
    Your hard drive crashes: This is the worst case scenario. However, if you are not involved with solid state HDDs (Asus eee anyone?), even here is very high chance that your data are ok. The magical smoke you have seen leaving your hard drive was from printed circuit part, but the real data storage part is untouched. There are stores which can recover your data from burnt HDDs. Its not exactly cheap, but most of us can afford it, if its really worth it. The catch is, that they usually do not guarantee the result, but if you specify, say, you wont pay unless this and this and this file is recovered, they may agree. You get no data, of course, but you wont pay for just a "chance".

    III. Do not let it happen!
    Back up. NOW!
    Have you? Of course not! It cannot happen to you, and certainly not during reading this post. Well, it CAN.

    Ok, I can wait ... back up your saves and stashes on some sort of flashdisc or just the cheapest TESCO Value CD you have lying around.

    Now you are safe ;) And it took just a 2 minutes or so. Four LK runs worth time. While you are at it, bring some more CDs along and backup your photos, IM sessions, other valuable stuff. When you are done, you may back up your job stuff .. well you know. Just because why not. Also, keep your system clean. There are several hundreds registry cleaners, adware removers, spyware trackers, windows tweakers and other types of utilities which can help you to keep your system healthy. Update. Patch. BACKUP. A planned, controlled full system reinstall (like once a year or when your computer gets sloppy) never hurts. Its just an hour or so when you learn the grip. Always accompanied by proper backup.

    IV. And always remember ...
    You are NOT your postcount. You are NOT your septsept. You are NOT your perfect ethereal grail. Its just a bunch of ones and zeroes. There are more serious and important things in your life. Like YOURSELF. Like your FRIENDS. When something like this happens to me, I always take a white crayon and draw something, and then, with satisfaction, have a look at the clear paper.

    You see, in our country, white crayons are every year sold by blind people, to help them gather money for training their dogs.


     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  2. Neksja

    Neksja IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,307
    Likes Received:
    652
    Trophy Points:
    323
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    What are these "FRIENDS"? Are they something you can eat? :scratchhead:



     
  3. Sint Nikolaas

    Sint Nikolaas IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    3,937
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    256
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    I think he's talking about other ppl you can pwn at LAN parties. Not sure though..
     
  4. skiffcz

    skiffcz IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    When necessary, sure. WHen you are a college student and hungry college student, you normaly have much more friends than food, which somehow turns your priorities upside down. You know, like, in Kuvait, water is more expensive then oil :yes:


     
  5. Thyiad

    Thyiad Moderator Single Player, D2 Assassin, Barbarian

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    15,309
    Likes Received:
    233
    Trophy Points:
    488
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    I'm adding this to the Stickies. I might also get a nail gun and staple it to a few people. :D

    I would like to add from experience that:
    • 7zip and emailing the stashes to yourself is probably the easiest way to backup
    • Do not panic is excellent advice after a crash; leave the machine alone and go BREATHE; post, get help, read. Do nothing in a rush/panic. There's a lot of people here with experience of this, give them 24-36 hours to respond. That data isn't going anywhere.
    • Attaching a crashed HD to as a slave drive on another machine is often very effective
    • Linux rules
    • Even if you have formatted your HD, you may not have killed your stashes, it is still possible to recover that data

    Nice work, skiffcz. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Starving_Poet

    Starving_Poet IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    120
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Can I add a super important super duper point.

    V. SpinRite

    Get it, use it, love it. This program can recover and repair data from some otherwise seemingly destroyed HDDs and is bootable to boot (pun intended)
     
  7. mindfocker

    mindfocker Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    quick question: where do I find my stash files (ATMA)? so I can back them up.
     
  8. skiffcz

    skiffcz IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Quick answer:
    *atmadir*/atma_config directory ;)

    usually smt like "c: \program files\atma V\atma_config" on default windows install
     
  9. mindfocker

    mindfocker Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    thanks! :) but i checked there, but all I find are some folders and a txt file.. I'm on Vista btw..
     
  10. Grisu

    Grisu IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,619
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    178
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    1. Open ATMA
    2. Click on the register card "D2X" on the upper left side (it's between "D2I" and "DUP")
    3. Voila - there's the full path to your directories...if you didn't delete them manually...

    OR

    Search the windows explorer for
    *.d2x

    that's the file type of ATMA stashes.

    Good luck :thumbsup:
     
  11. ares

    ares IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    hi this is the guy from above. I got banned for my username.. :(

    OT: to the mod, sorry. I didn't get any emails about a new PM, so I didn't bother to check.

    on topic,
    I can open my stash using ATMA, I could even see the .d2x files if I browse for it in ATMA. I just can't see it using WIndows Explorer. I tried searching for it..
    I also tried browsing for it using ATMA, and copying the file from the "browse" dialog box, but when I try to paste, it says that the file is no longer there. :-(
     
  12. In the name of Zod

    In the name of Zod IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,812
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    468
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Prevention is more important than the cure.
     
  13. ares

    ares IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    yeah i'm trying my best not to let my system crash.. but just in case that happens, i want my stash files to be still around.. I just can't seem to backup my stash files..
     
  14. Akse

    Akse Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Week ago my main hard drive chip got fried when I tried to startup the computer.. losing some months of school works and photos.. first I tried to check out some data recovery companies that would fix the drive and recover the data. Cheapest was 450euros (as a student I would get it for 275e). Then after some more browsing I found out that the chip would be easy to replace if you happen to find another one just like it. There is a nice page with a guide how to do it here http://www.deadharddrive.com/ there are also forums where people are selling or buying or telling their stories how they fixed their hard drive.

    Atm I have a bid going on to a same type of hard drive that I have with a fried chip (25euros). I think the replace chip should be at least from same size hard drive with same amount of buffer memory and with same firmware version on the chip. Sometimes the model nr and P/N should also be same if the product has changed over the years. These chips are of course easier to get for newer hard drives since you can just go to shop and buy a new one.

    Btw afaik on most hard drives the chip is just attatched to the hard drive with a 4-5 screws. When you remove those there is no varranty seal getting broken, so after you recover the data (hopefully if you get it working with the other chip), you can switch back the broken chip and ship it back to the manufacturer for warranty if you still have and get a new hard drive!

    Wish me luck with my chip! If I win the bid I'll probably get it sometime at the start of the year :)
     
  15. Low Key

    Low Key IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    120
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    This has been mentioned before, but unfortunately prevention isn't really viable, beyond taking backups of important files. Both hardware and software can malfunction with no apparent cause, with no warning. This is why it's also important to know what to do when something does go wrong.


     
  16. ares

    ares IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    uhm, I still can't backup my stash files.. hehe.
     
  17. skiffcz

    skiffcz IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    well ... if you click on the D2X tab where your stashes are in ATMA, in the root of the tree (the top row) contains the full path listed - and they MUST be there. If they are not, it is something bad with your win explorer, try to install unreal commander or trial version of wincommander and browse your disk from there ;)

    that is the last solution I can think of right now ...


     
  18. In the name of Zod

    In the name of Zod IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,812
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    468
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Yep, and everyone's systems are different. I'd like to add my advice too but from experience there's always something you oversee. If you are really concerned about losing large masses of data then planning out a monthy backup system is the best plan, most larger business either do it daily or weekly.

    I image my C: every 6 months, and back up separate smaller chunks using winRAR. WinRAR has the neat feature of dividing up 1 large archive into dvd sized chunks. Then place the dvd's in a carry case holder and put them in a cool out of the way place in the house thats far from sun rays. Don't forget to write or print on them intelligent descriptions with dates that state when the archive was created.

    Raid is another option, however I'd be weary of getting all your drives at the same time from the same place as I've heard of multiple drive failures at the same time, its like the way a street will sometimes have all of its street light bulbs blow at the same time. Its a batch issue I suppose.

    Granted that most backing up does require some level of technical know-how unfortunately.


     
  19. bLUEbYTE

    bLUEbYTE IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    Hi everyone,
    This is a small tutorial actually, I will show you how to create a batch file so everytime you start diablo 2, just before the game starts your characters are automatically backed up, preferably onto another media (I use my usb flash drive) But, maybe you ask, why? The reason is that hard drives are actually not very reliable devices of storage, actually a hard drive is very prone to errors and it may crash in ANY TIME, it might simply die and will take your data with itself. I am sure most of you experienced such an incident at some point in your computer experience, at least heard it happening to someone. Also, having periodic backups of your characters does not hurt, as you can 'rollback' them(and hopefully not abuse this) in event of any anomaly resulting from the mod you play, or your computer etc.

    Please note that you NEED to have WinRar installed.
    First, open up windows explorer and browse to the directory where you installed WinRar (\Program Files\WinRar typically).
    Copy-paste Rar.exe into \Windows directory (do not move it! copy). We make this in order to make rar command usable inside any directory, from the comand line.
    With that done, fire up Notepad. Paste those lines there:

    Code:
    cd "C:\Program Files\Diablo II\save"
    rar a -ag -x*.ma? f:\diablo2SaveBACKUP.rar *.*
    cd "C:\Program Files\Diablo II\"
    "Diablo II.exe" -direct
    
    This is my batch file. It is just a template for you. We will modify this. Most likely it will not work for you right away, so you need to change those lines to suit your setup as follows. Change the values I denote inside < > signs to suit your directories, launch parameters etc (< and > are excluded) :
    Code:
    cd "<your diablo 2 / Mod save directory>"
    rar a -ag -x*.ma? <your backup drive letter>:\diablo2SaveBACKUP.rar *.*
    cd "<your main D2 directory where diablo ii.exe is located>"
    "<start in directory>\Diablo II.exe" <parameters, read below>
    Line by line explanation/remarks:
    (1) don't forget to enclose directory path with " "
    This directory may also be "main D2 dir\MODS\ModName\save" or
    "main D2 dir\ModName\save". It should have your character save files in it (you can tell by the file names)

    (2) here we call rar executable and pass it parameters. Here is the synopsis of the parameters:
    a : Tells it to compress and archive files in a rar
    -ag : Tells to append date/time string at the end of the file name, so you everytime we get another backup of our characters.

    -x*.ma? : Excludes the map saves. Those are not needed, and take space so we exclude them. Only actual character save file (.d2s) will be backed up.

    <your backup drive letter> this is the drive letter assigned to the device you want to backup. The drive letter is the letter assigned by windows to a storage device. The letter you see in windows explorer. For example: 'C' for Hard drive , 'E' for Cd-Rom 'A' for floppy disk, etc.

    (3) don't forget to enclose directory path with " "
    The start in directory is the one which is in your ordinary shortcut. Right-click onto the shortcut which you always use to launch diablo, and look in the "Start in" property. This is your starting directory. If you have any mods installed, it is most likely main D2 dir\MODS\ModName also, or along these lines. But if it is your main D2 directory, you don't need to put
    there anything (only "Diablo II", as in my own example).

    (4) To learn your parameters, right-click onto the shortcut which you always use to launch diablo.
    They are like this -parameterX -parameterY. You may not have any parameters at all.

    Alright. After you have all the necessary modifications, select File->Save and browse to your Diablo2 installation directory.

    Put "diablo.bat" in the File Name field, INCLUDING "" marks, and cloose 'All Files' in Save as Type filed. Then click save.

    We are almost there. Browse to your diablo2 directory (where you saved diablo.bat). There you should see it, with a clockwork sign. Right click and drag it to your desktop, and choose 'make shortcut here'. And you're done.
    This is your new shortcut. You will always use this one to launch Diablo from now on.
    Now, run it. If everything is OK, it will backup the files and the game will run as usual.
    Later, you will see that the backup files are saved where you set them to save in. There will be another backup of all your characters each time you run the game.
    Here is the screenshot taken just after I click on the shortcut. See, the files are properly time stamped & backed up (they may also be seen in the explorer folder in the back) and the game is about to run.
    http://img486.imageshack.us/img486/9648/image26nr.gif

    I tried to make this as easy to understand and idiot-proof as possible, hope you could understand. But if you have problems, don't hesitate to ask me in forums. Also feel free to post this in other forums.
     
  20. silospen

    silospen IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    3,512
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    255
    Re: OT: Data recovery tips

    What happens if you're running an EXT3 or RieserFS system?


    :p
     

Share This Page