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Thread: Crashed hard drives

  1. #1
    Tony Hansford Guest

    Default Crashed hard drives

    This is really interesting I think and (might) save you some $$$ if one of your drives crashes rather than paying hundreds or thousands for data recovery services

    I had a Western Digital 1TB Sata desktop hard drive fail on Monday. It was used as a backup drive.
    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=260

    The light would come on for a split second and then nothing, dead. So I figured well if it's dead I am going to open it up. The trouble is they seem to be sealed cases. But they aren't A quick youtube search and I found this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCS8ui-6WZY&NR=1

    So after removing the dead drive I bought a cheap $29 external HDD enclosure like this one http://www.computeralliance.com.au/p...x?qryPart=9974
    It was delivered this morning so I fitted the dead drive to it, plugged it in and switched it on.........., and it works perfectly !

    So that means the OEM power board had failed, not the drive itself.

    So that got me thinking maybe this is common. I have an old 320GB IDE Lacie drive that failed a couple of years ago that I have kept in a bedroom cupboard. I tried it again this morning and it was making clicking sounds which they say is a sure sign that the drive is stuffed. Anyway, its case came apart just like the WD one in the youtube video. I fitted it to a really old IDE-USB1 case, plugged it in and switched it on.........., and it works perfectly too !!!!

    So if your HDD fails, even if it's making clicking noises, it is quite possibly just the internal power circuit board that is the problem and buying an external enclosure could solve everything.
    Last edited by Tony Hansford; 20-11-2011 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    A very common problem. The packaged HDDs sold for backups tend to be less reliable than internal drives, primarily due to lack of cooling, if it's Maxtor or Seagate or any one of a number of brands from people who don't make HDDs (i.e. not WD, samsung, fujitsu, Hitachi) it's also quite possible it has a cheap Maxtor drive inside, they have a poor reliability record. But any of the pre-packaged destop HDDs not matter who you buy them from have relatively poor reliability. Note also you should only have the drive powered up when you are actually doing a backup or doing recovery, otherwise teh same event can like a surge can take both drives out. It's not a matter of if but when you will have a HDD failure.

    Best is if you can get a hard drive enclosure with a fan to power it, Officeworks used to stock them but don't seem to anymore, probably more profit in HDDs which fail regularly. This is the one I bought:

    http://www.ht.com.au/part/W0535-Tran...300/detail.hts

    Overpriced at HT but one of the few readily available with a fan, it has a e-sata/USB 2 interface. It's given goo dservice so far with a WD drive inside. I tend to stick to WD drives.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  3. #3
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    Does anyone here use RAID instead of a bunch of separate hard drives?

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    Tony RAID is not a backup solution, it protects against a single failure of a hard drive, but a common failure in the RAID controller or a power surge can still take out everything. You can still use a RAID array on your main machine either for more space or potentially quicker access (only really possible with a hardware RAID card, not software RAID as supplied on many motherboards) . But you still need a seperate external drive and some would argue on offsite backup as well, that is only connected when you are actually backing up.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  5. #5
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    Chris, that's not what I asked. I asked does anyone here use RAID.

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    My main data drive in my PC is a RAID array, 3 discs in RAID 5, if I was doing it again I'd likely use RAID 1 as I think access would be faster, either that or spring for a hardware RAID card. It's software RAID supported from the motherboard.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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  8. #7
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    The reason I asked is I saw in my Mac disk utility that disks can be configured as RAID but I'd have to format all my drives to set it up

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    That's really interesting Tony, I've had a few HDDs die over the years but always physically destroyed them after attempting data recovery.

    so much porn gone to waste

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    There's no great advantage to RAID Tony, I use it, but it's really a nice to have, as I said it's not a backup.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  11. #10
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    No I didn't think of it as a backup solution. I was thinking it might be a more efficient way of maintaining files. What happens if one of the individual drives in the RAID lets go? Does that stuff up the whole array?

  12. #11
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Blyth View Post
    That's really interesting Tony, I've had a few HDDs die over the years but always physically destroyed them after attempting data recovery.
    That's why I posted this, so it might save people some heartache and money. It may not work all the time but I was amazed it worked for both my dead drives.

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    Tony, that's the idea of RAID, there's redundancy in the array, mostly. You have different sorts of RAID:

    RAID 0: Data is striped over 2 or more drives and read simultaneously to increase access speed. No redundancy, if one drive goes the whole array is gone. Capacity = smallest drive capacity x n (n= number of drives)
    RAID 1: Data is mirrored over 2 drives, if one goes the other keeps going. Capacity= smallest single drive capacity.
    RAID 5: Data is spread over multiple drives (min of 3) If one out of 3 goes, the data is still OK. Capacity = smallest drive capacity x (n-1)
    RAID 10 = RAID 0 + RAID 1

    So it really isn't efficient you need more drives to store the same amount of data.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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  15. #13
    Tony Hansford Guest

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    Right now I'm salvaging files from another crashed 1TB western digital drive. Geez, it must be something in the air at my house.

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    I just got these babies for nicks! Thought I'd use them in my aging Opteron server for a bit of a kick. I chucked 'em in on a RAID 0 (onboard nforce 4 RAID). Pretty darn nice I must say, 'specially for the price.

    2x Western Digital VelociRaptor 160GB 10,000RPM
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Access times are half that of a fast HDD, like a WD Caviar Black. Read and write speeds are better than my SSD. Given one of my older PCs a bit more life.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #15
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    Yep, RAID 0 can be very fast, but you lose one drive and all the data is gone. A good use for this sort of array is the PS swap file it will speed up PS when processing large images that require virtual memory to process. Another option is make it your C: drive for faster bootup and program opening times.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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