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Thread: Tell me all is not lost. Help needed.

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    Tell me all is not lost. Help needed.

    I purchased a Seagate "Expansion External Drive" 2 TB about 3 to 4 weeks ago, brand new.

    Over the last couple of days I've transfered all but a few images to the new drive,

    Turn Laptop on tonight, plug the HD into said USB Port and blow me down, I get an error message stating that my laptop doesn't recognise the HD, "The usb attached has MALFUNCTIONED"

    Has anyboby come across this before?

    Have tried all the USB slots, other HD's will work. Green light on HD is on, fan running????

    Has anybody in Perth used or can recommend a shop that can retrieve all my pictures/data? Or has anybody had to send a warrantable HD back and had success with retrival of data?

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Most of the small 'corner store' computer shops (ie not the chains) have recovery utilities. Best of luck with it.
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    Have you tried to ring the manufacturers or a help line? I bought a samsung one not long ago and for some reason it wouldn't let me transfer. I was vivid....rang them and somehow it has started to do an automatic transfer of EVERYTHING on my computer, not just my photos.

    Yes, this isn't as bad as your situation BUT give a helpline a call, it may help or they may tell you where to go (in more polite ways than sounds LOL)!
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    have you tried the HD with any other computer ? That would at least identify if its that HD that has the issue.
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    Did you try more than one cord? I've had a couple of cords go faulty - use one you KNOW is working to test
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    Member sdenness's Avatar
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    Could you try taking the actual hard drive out of the unit and putting it in another unit - the hard drive may be fine, it may just be the unit.

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    Hard drives are great at keeping stuff you need now, but for archiving, I think it's a lot safer to put the stuff onto a blu-ray disk.

    Blu-Rays should last over 100 years and won't fail like HDD do.
    I've lost a number of HDD over the years and have learned how to back-up the hard way!

    DVD's are Ok too, but they only hold around 4 gigs, whereas a Blu-ray will hold around 50 gigs and they read and write much faster than DVD's do.

    The Blu-Ray burners are now quite cheap, and you can get spindle of 50 B-R disks for around $150, so it ends up cheaper than buying a HDD for the same capacity (2.5 Terrabytes).
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    As already suggested, try using another cable that you know works or try the drive in a different computer. It could also be the power supply if it uses and external power cable. Failing that contact the manufacturers tech support for advice as they know their products are are best placed to advise what to do next. If they cant help then the local pc shop may be able to recover the data. If it’s the drive itself, then perform an internet search for ‘data recovery perth’ for specialists that perform this service. Note that this can sometimes be quite expensive so you may want to enquire how much it’s going to cost.

    Hard drives on a pc or external drives need to be viewed as consumables. Sooner or later they will fail. I span my pc backups over 3 removable drives. Overkill maybe, but the $500 cost in drives is cheaper than the trying to retrieve 20 years of accumulated data in the event of failure/fire/flood/theft/other disaster. Distributing my data over multiple devices stored in multiple locations distributes my risk. I keep one at home, one at work and one in my bag that I carry to work and all are password protected in case they get lost.

    As for optical media (CD, DVD, BR) this can also have issues. The media itself my last a long time but I have encountered users who have had problems reading the media back. I suspect that this is a function of the drive doing the burning/reading and in some cases the media itself. Some drives just don’t like some brands of media. Often these drives are cheapest component on a computer with quality to match. If the media is not burned accurately then reading the data back may be problematic. If I am burning to optical media I take the disk to another computer with a different drive and confirm I can read the information off the disc.
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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    Hard drives are great at keeping stuff you need now, but for archiving, I think it's a lot safer to put the stuff onto a blu-ray disk.

    Blu-Rays should last over 100 years and won't fail like HDD do.
    I've lost a number of HDD over the years and have learned how to back-up the hard way!

    DVD's are Ok too, but they only hold around 4 gigs, whereas a Blu-ray will hold around 50 gigs and they read and write much faster than DVD's do.

    The Blu-Ray burners are now quite cheap, and you can get spindle of 50 B-R disks for around $150, so it ends up cheaper than buying a HDD for the same capacity (2.5 Terrabytes).
    I'm on the opposite side of the camp.

    I like using a NAS and set it with RAID 1. Which is essentially mirroring. That way i have 3 sets of backups. 1 on my computer, 1 on the main Nas drive, 1 on the Backup. It's recommended that you get a HDD from a different batch for the NAS. Because it's more likely for both drives to fail around or even at the same time due to a flaw in the manufacturing process for that batch.

    I don't like optical media as the coating does get weak over time and sometimes due to the weakening it is more susceptible to getting scratched. Also if you do write media do spend the time to verify the disk as errors do occur. When i transfer to my NAS i do a checksum verification which reduces the chances of corruption, but still does entirely eliminate it.

    I've prolly been through 20+ dead HDDs since i had my first computer when i was 7. Ermm my first computer which was a 286 didn't have a hdd... lol.. but you get the point. They definitely die. But if you're fastidious about moving data around to new hdds and such (i typically do so every 2 years). It won't be a problem

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    + 1 for the longevity of hard drives here too.
    One thing I'll never trust ever again are plastic circular disks with dye based data retention. Yep that means CD's DVD's and (now) Blu Ray's too.

    I have basically a zero retention rate for burned discs over the past 15 or so years.

    Never had any of my hard drives fail, even tho I've had to recover other people's hard drive issues over the years.

    I can simply be a controller issue too. Each hard drive isn't simply a hard drive in a case, there is a small circuit board inside the enclosure, that the hard drive connects too. If it's a USB drive, then the controller chip will be a SATA to USB controller chip. This may be causing an issue too(could be causing an issue with your PC setup).

    The reason I mention this, is that I recently purchased a USB3 docking station. I love the speed of USB3, as it's as fast as SATA at transfer speeds when it's working at full tilt. a 1Tb transfer only takes about 3 hours, as opposed to 9 hours at USB2 transfer speeds.
    The controller chip on the docking station is made by JMicron (but the actual chip model I cant' remember) but needless to say that JMicron is possibly the worst product to have as the interface for your storage devices!! They manufacture cheap products, suited to cheap end devices, (such as USB drives, docking stations, etc).
    So this new USB3 docking stations can't sustain a USB3 transfer for more than about 5-10mins.. it then renders the hdd(which is always recognised at start up) as inactive, or not a device, or not found in any hardware list/device manager. It simply vanishes from the PC for no reason.
    That's in USB3 mode! USB3 mode is simply when connected into a USB3 port, USB2 mode is connected into a USB2 port instead.
    The same disk in the same docking station, but in USB2 mode instead transfers for hour after hour, after hour.. at which point I give up, and stop the transfer, disconnect the drive from the docking station and plug it into a SATA port and do the transfer this way. That takes about 3 hours.

    The docking station is a two port Vantec unit, which I highly recommend anyone to avoid due to the nature of the JMicron controller chip.
    I updated the firmware for it a few times, and for a while it then started to transfer for about 15mins and I thought beauty .. but that was short lived too.

    ie. the data may still be ok, intact and safe, and it could be a controller issue.
    That is, the company that made the USB drive may(or may not) be aware of an issue with the drive and have issued a firmware fix for it.
    If the controller is a JMicro(very likely if it's a USB3 drive apparently), then the basic story is to get rid of the enclosure itself and replace it with an enclosure with a more reliable electronics system, and your troubles may be forever gone.

    Check the manufacturers website for any hardware issues.
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    I hope that you dont have all your eggs in the one basket mate ?
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I hope that you dont have all your eggs in the one basket mate ?
    Roostas don't lay eggs.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Roostas don't lay eggs.
    So they obviously take photos of eggs then .... but hopefully still not place all their photos of eggs in the one basket!
    Last edited by arthurking83; 13-10-2011 at 11:37pm.

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    Don't put faith in RAID arrays on their own either - if the RAID controller shats itself then likely both, or all, drives in the array will not be readable, and will probably require specialist recovery with no guarantee of reasonable recovery. Multiple backup strategies, incorporating off-site backups, are the way to go.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    weirdly enough, I've had one of those raid array controllers do roughly the equivalent of this on me, but didn't require specialist recovery tho.
    I suppose that if the raid controller died AND killed or corrupted any of the data on the drives, then yes you may need a specialist approach to data recovery.. never been there never done that.

    But I stupidly once ran an old PC with the onboard raid controller in RAID0 to speed things up, and it did help a little according to a few transfer tests I did.

    Settled on this for a very long time, until the motherboard did cause me grief.

    Sil3114(I think .. something like that ) was the onboard raid controlling device, and I then decided that RAID0 was not a good idea. With a regular controller, you simply place the unaffected hard drive into another PC and the data is all good.. easy!
    With a RAID controlled system, the data is not good... well unless you connect those drives to another controller card of the same type.

    So in effect the solution can be as simple as that(which it turned out for me).
    I added an addon Sil3114 controller card to my next PC, even tho it didn't need any more SATA ports, set up the raid as per the last time on the motherboard onboard controller chip, connected the two drives to the addon board, and the Windows then instantly had the RAID0 array back on line as of nothing had happened.
    Yeah! cost me $60 for a useless add on hard drive card, but the card then went into the ex missues older PC with no SATA ports and she then had a slightly up specced machine for a longer period of time.

    RAID is definitely the way to go tho especially for large massive uber big storage setups, I'd prefer to risk a controller that is readily replaceable(unless it corrupts the data whilst in it's death throes), rather than a dead drive.

    I'm looking at a NAS storage centre myself too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushbikie View Post
    Don't put faith in RAID arrays on their own either - if the RAID controller shats itself then likely both, or all, drives in the array will not be readable, and will probably require specialist recovery with no guarantee of reasonable recovery. Multiple backup strategies, incorporating off-site backups, are the way to go.
    That's why i use RAID 1 and not a combination of 1/0 , 0/1, 5 etc. RAID 1 basically just mirrors and will work stand alone should any 1 of the drive fail. In the event the RAID driver does shit itself, only the drive mirroring the main drive will be corrupted. So that essentially means i still have 2 copies of my data intact.

    I learnt it the hardway when i ran a hosting business and thought stripping, which will give a little more performance, will be quick to rebuild. Man was i wrong. It's not hard and typically does not need specialists... just very time consuming. Having cross mirrored with another box which saved my ass... the other box had too much load and customers were complaining.

    Arthur: Have you narrowed it down to anything? I'm ccurrently using a cheap setup with a D-link DNS-320. Does it job but it's not that great of a NAS. I used to have a Acer EasyStore H-340 (4 bays). Microsoft software that came with it is crap so i changed it to freenas (Awesome sofware btw). As it does "not" come with a vga port you can either buy a pci card or custom make some molex connectors and solder it to a vga out as the hardware has a built in display chip. There are schematics online. Funny why they didn't bother adding a vga port since the hardware is all there. The H340 worked beautifully but my auntie wanted a server for her small office so i gave it to her thinking i'll pick up a new bigger and better NAS. In the end i decided to cheap it and bought the DNS-320 which only has 2 bays. Decent for what it is, but not fantastic. I paid $140 without any drive from Harvey normal.
    Last edited by KeeFy; 14-10-2011 at 1:47am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I run a 12GB RAID 5 array, and two stand alone backup external drives. At any one time, my photos and other important files are in at least 3 places, usually 4. Internal hard drive, both external drives and on RAID 5 array. One of these external drives lives at a friends place, except about once a fortnight when it comes home to be updated.

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    Hmmm - I agree with others, try all other options, especially another cable. I have three seagate 1 Tb drives and all have been good. There is some firmware management in the drives that you can download software for from seagate site which I think also has some fault checking in it from memory.
    In my experience DVD drives are more problematic than Hd and less accessible when cataloging. HD drives are pretty reliable and I still have drives 6 yes old serving me well. I also spam my data across three drives, too in a mirror on the pc and one held in the office which I take home one a week and backup.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFy View Post
    .....
    Arthur: Have you narrowed it down to anything? ......
    My three candidates are:
    and old PC box just sitting in the junk room looking for a purpose. Cheapest solution as I already have all the bits required(incl gigabit eth) and an army of hard drives all waiting for a purpose, BUT!! power consumption is the main sticking point with that one. It'll chew through power and as it;s going to be close to an always on device,the biggest factor is power consumption. it needs to be accessible from the web when I'm out of the house .. so on all day, and only off at bed time(my bed time that is).
    I've looked at FreeNAS .. don't understand it, but I'm willing to learn to set it all up as the environment.

    The two products I'm looking as off the shelf are the QNAP TS-419P+ and the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Ultra (400U).
    I'm thinking that 4 drives are almost certain to be enough, and that if I need more storage down the track, acquiring larger drives down the track is probably going to be an easy way to expand, rather than simply adding drives(eg. to a six bay box).
    I want it to lasts me 5 years, then I'm thinking in 5 years a 10Tb hard drive will most likely be a cheap and easy solution(at say $60-70 a pop) for updating the NAS capacity, so for $250 I can triple the capacity quite easily.
    I like the idea of the Netgear's Linux based OS, and the x64 based systems too(as opposed to the SPARC system). Haven't dug into the guts of the QNAP box and it's operating manners yet, only found that as a competitor to the Netgear box.
    The Netgear box is easy because I can get it locally from a relatively cheap supplier, the QNAP is harder to source tho .. and hence a bit more expensive(locally) by comparison.

    Been delving into the respective community forums for the two products, more so the Netgear than the QNAP, just for a bit of research before I buy.
    I hate getting to a particular point where I buy something, only to realise that I need 'that feature' on the competing product .. but more importantly is there any inherent device faults, such as with this annoying Vantec docking station, which is still working but at the reduced USB2 speed, instead of the much faster USB3 speed.

    Sorry for going a bit OT there Roosta. Have you sorted the issue?

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    Sorry to not get back sooner, have been on a flight to sunny work, oh well.

    I tried THREE bloody USB 2 cords/leads last night, and low and behold, the last one worked and the HD released all my files, So releaved is an understatement.

    Can anybody provide a good back up method>>

    AK83, This is one Roosta, that'll never lay all it's eggs in the on bloody basket again.

    Thanks so much so all your input.

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