Here at BigAnt we are very keen on backups, so we never lose client work.
However on some of our rendering machines we don’t have a ghost image. It’s something we know we should do, but at the moment we are incredibly busy, and it never seems like a priority (stupid I know!).
One machine we use for crunching video for the web suddenly started clicking, and just after logon would cause the famous Blue Screen of Death.
I ran Spinrite over night; for those of you who don’t know, Spinrite boots off a CD, disables all Hard disk protection/cache mechanisms so it can’t be fooled, and rebuilds data by scanning neighbouring sectors and clusters and working out the probablity of what was stored by comparing latent magnetic fields. It then updates the disk table to never use the damaged sectors again.
It worked – and the drive is fine. This is the second time I’ve used this, and it can be left overnight unattended.
With a big disk it can take days depending on the amount of damage, but the idea is you run it at least monthly on critical data, and it will then stop you ever getting to the stage I got to yesterday.