Under the gun on GCIH

BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
SANS deadline to take the exam is 6-27-2016.

Work is imposing a deadline of 7-18-2016

If I take the exam 6-16-2016, and fail, I still have 30 days to take again before the contractual deadline by my job to get the cert. SANS imposes a 30 day wait period after exam failure to retake the exam.

I had finished indexing the first book last week (yea, I know, I'm way behind schedule on this cert compared to when I did the GSLC) and I decided to update my antivirus. I paused for a moment thinking "maybe I should back everything up now?" I had a brain cramp and didn't backup.

The AV update took forever - longer than normal - not a good sign. but it finished and said it was successful. Shut it down and went tto bed. Next day, my computer won't boot. Win 7 64-bit. Hangs up at startup windows banner. Tried safeboot, chkdsk, Win7 recovery DVD, and pulled the drive to slave it on another machine to run diagnostic. All partitions show up as RAW or encrypted including by backup drive which resides in another bay on the laptop.

Used TestDisk and EaseUS, Recuva and a few other utilities. No success.

Marching on, I'm indexing books 2 thru 6 and will save Book 1 for last in case I am able to find a recovery solution.

Some folks have suggested formatting the drive and then using a file recovery tool. I'll do that as last resort.

Finished index of Book 2 yesterday and plan to complete the whole set by Thursday June 2nd.

Will take my first practice exam on June 4th. Adjust fire and take second practice test on June 11. Consolidate my notes and study materials and take exam around June 16.

Anecdotally, I see SANS posted somewhere that there is ahigher rate of failure for those who take the exam within 48 hours of the deadline. I got a 93 on the GSLC and took that the day of the deadline. But I think I started my study and index process much earlier.

Comments

  • EngRobEngRob Posts: 247Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good luck. Keep the post updated with progress :)
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,916Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    BillHoo wrote: »
    Next day, my computer won't boot.

    Your not the first person I've heard about losing their index. Personally as I'm updating my index it I email a copy off to work (or to home if I'm indexing at work), also every so often as I start another study session of indexing, I change the version of the index, I think I'm up to version 11 now on my GCIH Index. Anything that you put so much work and effort into is worth protecting.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm using Google Docs for the Index now.

    My index gets automatically stored to the Google cloud as a Google "Sheet".

    Every now and then, I export it to the local drive as an Excel spreadsheet. Google Sheets has decent version control where I can go back to an incremental backup that is executed automatically.

    I can also jump back and forth to different computers at work and home easily. Almost done with book 3.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    A few years ago I moved to primarily working off either Google Docs or Office 365 for this exact same reason. I can lose any device and still be able to pick right up where I left. Priceless.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    What makes it sting so much is that I backed it up regularly to a separate drive in the laptop. I did not foresee something that would crap out ALL the drives attached to the system! I also do monthly backups to an external drive, but the 504 Index was in between those backups.
    TechGromit wrote: »
    Your not the first person I've heard about losing their index. Personally as I'm updating my index it I email a copy off to work (or to home if I'm indexing at work), also every so often as I start another study session of indexing, I change the version of the index, I think I'm up to version 11 now on my GCIH Index. Anything that you put so much work and effort into is worth protecting.
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,916Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    A few years ago I moved to primarily working off either Google Docs or Office 365 for this exact same reason.

    Honestly I don't trust google docs, one of my SANS instructors had all the files for his classes on Google Docs. He had a program that google flagged as questionable and wiped all his files. He didn't have backups because after there no way to lose files in the "cloud" right? :) You have to consider our line of work, a security tool could easily be be used by a hacker. He complained, but the "free" google file service does not offer you any protections for your files. They can delete anything they feel like it, for any reason.

    Use any free cloud based backup solution at your own risk.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • berto_testerberto_tester Posts: 22Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I second using google docs. That is where my index is at.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes. that's why I save my index to the cloud AND save a local copy on whatever workstation I am working from.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    Assuming the cloud is the holy grail will set you up for disaster in extreme cases like the one TechGromit mentions. The concept of layered defense applies here. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. Backing up locally, backing up to the cloud, and archiving (which is not the same as backing up) are your friends. If you truly value your data, you need to protect it on multiple fronts.
  • hilldhilld Posts: 42Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I use Excel rather than Google Docs to create the index, but I am using a DropBox enabled folder, meaning that it is automatically backed up using DropBox. At least they don't try to sell you advertising based on the contents of the docs. As others have said, I don't trust Google much.

    If you don't have a DropBox account, they are free for a couple of GB's of storage. You can get more by referring it to friends.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I had a problem getting into my Google Drive yesterday.

    Luckily, I had the latest excel version of my index sitting locally. After a few hours, I was able to log into my Google account and update the file.

    Falling behind on my index. I was hoping to sit for the exam next week. Eating into my safety margin. Planning first practice exam this weekend.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I just finished my index a few minutes ago. 1735 entries - about a hundred less than I had for the GSLC.

    Now I have to:
    - format how I want to print it.
    - Tab the index
    - Number the books along the edges (makes it easie to find the right book when viewing the stack along the edges.)
    - Minimally tab the books
    - Take a deep breath
    - Take my first practice test tomorrow. If I can get in the upper 70s, I'll relax a bit.
    - Schedule the exam for sometime week of June 20th.
    - Take next practice test next weekend.
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