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Ouch! Hardware Caution - HD Backup


Ouch! Hardware Caution - HD Backup

I think we need a hardware or off-topic forum.

I don't know of a more appropriate place to post this. If you've had issues with HD backups, please post your tales of woe. I need a new drive and would like to avoid this in the future. Please see below about my unfortunate incident.

When I upgraded my CAD I was careful to have a full time backup utility running. I was hoping everything I did was being captured.

Well, yesterday the backup drive just -quit-. The drive got a small error that was resolved with the Windows checkdisk utility and it was out of space.

I cleaned up the external drive and proceeded with 24 hours of backing up my internal drive (both the Windows backup and the Seagate Memeo backup).

Not an hour after I finished with the Memeo backup, the drive started making noises. OUCH!

The drive is dead as a doornail! Probably a heat related failure or simply worn out. This drive has sat there quietly for only a 1-1/2 years.

No more Seagate branded products for me!

Drive: Seagate GoFlex 1T (FreeAgent) with USB 2.0.

Being a backup drive for my active computer makes this loss less painful, except for the Windows backup I had from another computer. Fortunately, I also had a backup of that computer on a different drive so my data loss is minimal. Are you ready for a backup catastrophe?


On another note about Windows 8 to 8.1; You might need to know this if you upgraded your system from Windows 7.

I updated a spare laptop with Windows 8 when Microsoft was pushing it out for $15. On the install, it offered to save all my previous Windows 7 data, which is did. And you could access your folder structure if you wanted to with a little difficulty as Libraries sometimes got confused.

However, and this is the WARNING! ...when you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you loose that Windows 7 backup. It is overwritten with the Windows 8.0 backup!

You can now go back to your regularly scheduled programming

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For a real backup I use disk cloning. Drives are pretty cheap and it makes for a fast recovery. The drive my laptop came with is in a box awaiting the day the replacement drive dies so badly the Windows backups no longer work. There was some update MS pushed out that made it so the laptop could not find the drive it was booting from. That reminds me - pick up another point-version backup drive.

I've also found synctoy to be helpful for the data portion of the backup, mostly to keep a working version of a Wiki ready to run.

Every manufacturer of hard-drives has a series of drive that is terrible. Quantum, Seagate, Western Digital, Bernoulli, the jerks with the removeable media click-of-death drives. I'm sure that Samsung, Toshiba, and whoever bought the IBM drive business have all had some disaster. A good drive lasts a long time; a bad one, not so much. There's only so much that accelerated testing can pick up and only so much design can cope with. The bad-cap fiasco that damaged Dell computer's reputation (and showed up in my old Samsung monitor,) for example.

So, do your backups as if someone is going to break into your business or house, steal your computer and set fire to the place, then fill it with 6 feet of water. If you have all that covered, you'll do OK. PS: It's that last part with the fire resistant safe filling with water that really makes the day bad. Read ACM Risks, but don't blame me if you can't sleep afterwards.

I never got that cloning thing down.

But I will certainly reconsider the full time connection and go to a backup schedule routine.

Ouch. Sorry to hear that. 7 years ago I lost several months of family photos because of a hard drive failure and my laziness to move them over to the normal, backed up location before it happened. I learned my lesson and ended up changing my backup/storage methods to a file server that has a RAID backup. A further offsite backup of the RAID data (spare HDD) protects against most natural disasters and theft except for perhaps a giant asteroid strike or alien invasion.

I use a disk station (multiple disks) from Synology but there are plenty of other manufacturers out there that will work as well or you can build your own. With me, my wife, and kids, there are multiple users and everyone accesses the network storage with permissions that keep them from accessing stuff they shouldn't which is controlled by their windows logins. Nothing but temporary files get saved on the local computers so everybody works off of the network...there's never a problem with speed. It's also our media server for music, videos, pictures, etc. for the TV, and any device connected to the network (phones, etc.). The device is located in a safe place via a long ethernet cable in the house where kids and thieves are unlikely to get to but I still have easy access for offsite backups.

I've since had three hard drives fail on me (one in the NAS and two in different computers) but no data has ever been lost. It was a little pricey for my budget at the time but well worth it in the long run considering what could have been lost in the disk failures over the years. The media server functionality has also been enjoyable. For all hard drives, it's not a matter of if, but when they will fail.

I've worked for corporate giants that didn't have that much protection.

Kudos to you for looking out for the family data interests.

Well, that includes all my CAD data too. So maybe a little bit of self preservation was involved.


Like Eric I run a Synology NAS, currently with 2 2tb WD Reds in mirror raid, eventually will go to raid5 with 4 drives (I have a 4 bay unit as the 5 bay was almost double the cost). Synology is awesome and I highly recommend them. I also run mirror raid on my CAD machine (2 2tb Seagates).

The thing with HDs is, it doesnt matter which one you get (from lifespan standpoint), they will all fail eventually. Some do last longer than others. But if you have any HD running older than 3 years, make sure it's backed up for sure (my experience).

Next year some time I will be running offsite backup in a local data center. I also researched long term storage and I think it was Amazon Glacier (or one of the Amazon back up services) had pretty cheap long term storage.

For short term stuff, my business ops stuff (not cad data) I use Google Drive.

Man, I'm sorry to hear it bro. Best of luck getting it all fixed!

Fixed! heck, I finally get to tear a HD apart! Already savaged the case intact. Just need to break the seal to the drive.

Again, nothing serious lost. Already backed up all business files and my image library on another drive (Western Digital!). My windows 8 machine is an "experimental" laptop so nothing goes on there that needs saving. I have everything from the Windows 7 install from that laptop saved.

If I regularly had to maintain important data on a high volume basis, you are all correct that I would have to invest in a more robust system. But for the most part, my work is done when it is done. The data is saved for quick reference more than continued work. Most clients prefer their data be removed from my workstation. I normally provide them with a DVD with all their data cataloged in case more effort is required at a later date. To me, that makes for the best offsite storage and limits my liability.

However, nothing that I know of will bring you back "online" when you change hardware. There is still a lot of manual work in case of system upgrades. From what I understand, cloning will only work on the hardware you have right now or an "identical" system. Licenses tied to CPU, hard drives, or NIC addresses will fail if you change out any of these.


We have actually recovered a lot of "lost" HD data by opening them up and plug them back in and when it starts to click, which is usually the head slapping, bump it with your finger and oddly they sometimes start reading again. And then rinse and repeat finger bumping it while you sit there trying to get data off it, until a few pieces of dust float in there or you accidently bump it too hard.