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Old 04-27-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default Computer Geeks... 6 months of baby pictures gone!

Most of you know I've been shopping for a HUGE external hardrive for work use: https://www.miataturbo.net/forum/t31294/

I was going to buy 2 of them and have one for home use. I was waiting for the tax return to buy them, and ******* TONIGHT, my 5yr old 60gb Firelite **** the bed. The blue led blinks once, pauses, then 6 times rapidly... and repeats. I can hear the thing spool up when I plug it in, and it makes a few attempts at boost (whatever), but then shuts off and blinks.

I've discovered that Firelite uses a somewhat standard 2.5" Samsung 5400rpm drive. I thought I might remove the drive and stick it in a new enclosure ($20 from anywhere) to see if it was the enclosure at fault... but most DATA RECOVERY places will charge you extra if you've tried to fix it yourself. The fact that I can hear it spin-die-spin-die-spin-die... and it makes a few very faint squeeking sounds while it's doing it, tells me it's probably not the enclosure.

So... it's about 30gb of pictures and video of the kid and I have to get it back... even if it's FOR THE LOVE OF SWEET BABY JESUS IN A TUXEDO SHIRT EXPENSIVE.

What do the geeks around here think I should do?
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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The data recovery places are going to hurt you bad if you have to use them.

I like your idea of swapping enclosures 1st.

Do you have other machines in the house?
I've gone to Microsoft Home Server (but there are other excellent and perhaps better products that do the same thing). All of the machines in my house are backed up every night by the home server software. I've had to recover a couple of times and it works like a charm.

When you do get it back, make a many copies of the images. Burn dvd's, copy it to multiple systems...
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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I think you answered this for yourself...

data recovery


Unless you know how to remove magnetic data from a malfunctioning hard drive, that is.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
The fact that I can hear it spin-die-spin-die-spin-die... and it makes a few very faint squeeking sounds while it's doing it, tells me it's probably not the enclosure.

I have a western digital external USB 10gb drive, used it like 5 times and it did that **** to me. luckily i had nothing important on it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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I've heard the trick to it is to stick it in the freezer for a little, then take it out and run it. You can do this a couple times, but it will damage ur drive more. It may or may not give you enough time to get all the files off it. Anyone else know of this trick?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:06 AM   #6
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If it is a mechanical failure (like a spindle bearing) there's an old trick that sometimes works. Put the drive in a ziploc bag, and stick it the freezer overnight. Then pull it out and power it up, and immediately grab your data. This may only work long enough to get a few minutes of runtime out of it, so be prompt and head for the most important stuff first.

For certain, try putting it in another enclosure (or internal to a desktop machine) first, as that's much less invasive.

edit Artie beat me to it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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The freezer bag trick never worked for me and I have been working with computers for as long as I can remember.

I would recommend trying a different enclosure first.

I have always wondered how the data recovery places work, I bet they find an identical drive and swap platters.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:24 AM   #8
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I have always wondered how the data recovery places work, I bet they find an identical drive and swap platters.
Yeah, that's what they do. I used to work very closely with a company called AC Forensics and you could buy a donor drive and they would swap the platters and get your data.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:45 AM   #9
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Yeah, that's what they do. I used to work very closely with a company called AC Forensics and you could buy a donor drive and they would swap the platters and get your data.
Makes sense.

Id love to try a platter swap, but my hands havent gotten around to it.

From dismantling hundreds of hard drives, the hardest part of the whole thing I imagine would be the platter alignment.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:47 AM   #10
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I've done a platter swap on an old Seagate Hawk 2gig SCSI drive way back in the day. I didn't actually swap the platters, I swapped the electronics with out actually opening up the drive case.

One thing I've done to OLD hard drives is to give it a seriously hard whack on the side of the drive while it is spinning up. It has worked a number of times, however these were always much less data dense drives than a more current bit of hardware.

I know this doesn't help you now ... but for our family pictures I back up to two hard drives and then occasionally archive to DVD. Most of our stuff is in 4 places, the only thing that would **** us up is a house fire or EMP.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:51 AM   #11
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^ This is something a lot of people dont get. A backup is not a single copy, its a second copy.

I have a 1.2 terabyte raid 5 array in my workstation at home, and a external 1 terabyte drive for partition images. Even though I know its damn near impossible to lose data off a raid 5, I am that ---- that I need to have it on a second, external, drive that I turn on once a month for backups.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:57 AM   #12
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Enclosure swap (or just put the damn thing in your computer!) first. If that doesn't work, try the freezer trick. I've done it 3 times, two of which worked for long enough to get the important data off of the drive.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #13
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Last ditch I've used these guys before.

Data Recovery by: I.T.S.

They've recovered data for me from drives that had severe damage, as well as some really unique and ancient drives.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:04 PM   #14
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:24 PM   #15
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If you are serious about data integrity these things are not the way to go.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:26 PM   #16
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By Sam's knowledge here i assume he's Russian.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:39 PM   #17
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By Sam's knowledge here i assume he's Russian.
Da
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:24 PM   #18
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Well, at USB 2.0 speed, I don't think a couple minutes is gonna be enough to grab all of the pics on it... we're talking about 35gb total.

I know I have the skill to remove the 4 screws, take the drive out, and re-install it into a separate enclosure... but if I **** something up or the dog grabs it out of my hand because it's shiny or something I can't even imagine happens... it's ALL of our baby pictures.

However, I can't ******* stomach paying somebody $500 for "data recovery" and discover all they had to do was a 5minute re-install into a $20 case.

Do I have to mail the thing off to some hi-dollar online place, or will any of the local Computer Dr.'s (or similar) be enough.

And I don't suppose there's any hurry on this... I'm ordering my 3 new drives tonight and the old broke one can literally sit on a shelf for the next 10 years until there's some Star Trek **** on the market and I can just beam the data off.

I think I'm gonna buy a 1tb for work, and 2x500's for home... and have all my home **** backed up 2 places, plus I'm getting a stack of DVD's and burning all my pics. DVD's are 8gb, right?
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:32 PM   #19
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Sucks to hear man. Back that data up! Thats hwy my new machine will have 2x 640GB (one for backup storage), a 150GB 10k RPM drive for gaming, and a 1TB external SSD for backup of the backup. As cheap as HDD's are getting, its hard to not justify the cost for security.
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Well, at USB 2.0 speed, I don't think a couple minutes is gonna be enough to grab all of the pics on it... we're talking about 35gb total.

I know I have the skill to remove the 4 screws, take the drive out, and re-install it into a separate enclosure... but if I **** something up or the dog grabs it out of my hand because it's shiny or something I can't even imagine happens... it's ALL of our baby pictures.

However, I can't ******* stomach paying somebody $500 for "data recovery" and discover all they had to do was a 5minute re-install into a $20 case.

Do I have to mail the thing off to some hi-dollar online place, or will any of the local Computer Dr.'s (or similar) be enough.

And I don't suppose there's any hurry on this... I'm ordering my 3 new drives tonight and the old broke one can literally sit on a shelf for the next 10 years until there's some Star Trek **** on the market and I can just beam the data off.

I think I'm gonna buy a 1tb for work, and 2x500's for home... and have all my home **** backed up 2 places, plus I'm getting a stack of DVD's and burning all my pics. DVD's are 8gb, right?

So send me the drive and let me try. Ill try to get the data off, if im successful ill throw it on DVDs for you or even a new hard drive if you want. If I cant, then ill send it back to you, other then data recovery services or a new enclosure not much you can try really.

Any mom/pop shop can do the drive swap for you, just try to have them do it in front of you. I wouldnt leave that kinda data to just anyone. You never know what they will do with the drive when you are gone, at least you have the data in some form even if you cant access it.

DVD's are 4.5 gigs, unless you get Double Layer which are 9 gigs.

If you can stomach the price of Blu-Ray its 20 gigs. But will require a 200 dollar burner, and the DVD's arent cheap either.

In the future. You maintain one drive as the usable drive on a daily basis, and you use an identical drive for a complete backup. Get Synctoy for windows, and run it with the second drive plugged in whenever you make big changes to your data.

I recommend going with Seagate or Western Digital for an external drive.

-----
Sam, is the external enclosure USB powered?

Last edited by Saml01; 04-27-2009 at 04:45 PM.
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