It's best to configure a regular backup of your entire system. But hard drives are large. Gigabytes of data take time to copy. So you can't be blamed for avoiding backups as long as possible. (That is, until there is a hard drive failure.) While you might have configured backups for those workstations that you administer, other people might not have been so farsighted and may look to you as a Linux geek when they hit the inevitable disk problem. Thus, you may be asked to recover the data of a less experienced Linux user who forgot to back up his hard drive.
The techniques listed in this annoyance may or may not work for you, depending on the level of damage to your hard drive. I can testify, though, that without these techniques, I would have spent several days reloading programs onto my laptop computer.
One symptom of an imminent hard drive failure is the following message, which you might see during the Power On Self Test (POST) process:
1720 - S.M.A.R.T Hard Drive detects imminent failure(Failing Attr:05h) Please back up the contents of the hard drive and run HDD self test in F2 setup
While you could run the HDD self-test, chances are good that if you see this message, your hard drive is about to fail. So you should take steps right away to recover what you can.
The first thing you should do is mark the bad blocks; we've described this process in the previous annoyance.
At this point, you've applied the fsck command to ...