One of my hard drives began failing recently, and long story short, I had to get two new drives, have them set up as a RAID1 system. For the unitiated (I was one not long ago), RAID means Redundant Array of Independent Discs. Unfortunately, a RAID ZERO which is what I had, is definitely NOT redundant. RAID0 requires that both discs be functional in order to boot the system. It splatters data all over both discs indiscriminately. The RAID1 is a "mirror" system, meaning that all data and boot data are redundantly captured by both discs. It means I have a little less storage, but I have a safety net. If one drive fails, I can simply replace it and keep on truckin'. Theoreticallly, no data loss. We shall see. Many many techies have promised me many, many things about computers, and few of them have been correct.
I also had to replace my external hard drive because I was asked for the serial number, which is on the BOTTOM of the drive. I naively picked up the drive and turned it upside down. It gave a big KICK and died in my arms, well, in my hand. I replaced it and did a backup (as advised) every day. Well, trust me, that is NOT the easiest way to save data to put back on a hard drive. "Backups" have layers and layers and layers of folders, and the data is inside the lower layers. Not only that, but when I tried to do a "restore", the drive said "backup location not available". I tried copying the entire contents back onto my internal hard drive, and ended up with HUGE numbers of folders I could not delete. I had to re-format my hard drive AGAIN to get rid of them. Now I am simply COPYING my document folders onto the external drive. That way I can just copy them back on.
These have been expensive lessons in computers, in money, time, and emotional wear and tear. I know a lot more now. I am back online and my computer can do most things. My software woes continue. It is amazingly difficult to get everything back in its former functionality. *sigh* I hope this will be resolved soon.