EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES

daveat22

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My external back ups were two LaCie hard drives but the other day both disappeared from the list of drives and I could not access them. 5 years of photographs disappeared just like that. I thought that by duplicating my back ups I was fool proof if one went down, but two going down at the same time must be a million to one.
One of the external LaCie big disc's was less than twelve months old and within its warantee period, so I informed LaCie who replied that they are not responsible for data recovery. I then sent the drive to a data recovery company as the data was not only my photographs but all my correspondence, so it is essential to my business.
It is costing me £464 to recover the data and I still await its return.
LaCie now say that the drive has been opened so it is out of warantee.
It goes without saying that I am distraught with LaCie and the way they dealt with this potential catastrophe.
The lesson to be learned is that two back up hard drives are not necessarily enough and to carefully consider which make of hard drive you buy.
 

sabbath999

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BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE....

Take the drives and try them on a different computer. It may well be your controller, not the drives.

Also, there is virtually no chance that both drives are bad... remember, these are just internal hard drives mounted in a fancy case.

They can always be mounted inside another computer for data recovery

WHATEVER YOU DO do not format these drives or attempt to revive them using Disk Utility if you have a Mac.

If you are not a geek, find one... and don't copy or reformat anything.

The chances of you actually having irrecoverable data loss are very, very small with this setup.

Sounds to me like your USB/Firewire system may be getting funky, because the chances of both drives failing simultaneously are nearly none.
 

Alex_B

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almost impossible that both drives die at the same time ... sounds like it could be a problem with your USB controller.

This happens to me from time to time with my internal usb card reader
, I then have to sqitch off the computer, and disconnect it from all electricity for 20 seconds and then switch it back on again.
 

WolfSpring

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I'm with alex. i"ve had an external for about 5 years now, it survived a year in Iraq and has never ever even had a hicup. My other one is 2 years old and no problems there. It is more likely that the USB went down.

Also I've seen some stup things happen on a computer with external drives, something as simple as a virus, you might want to run a virus scan on your computer and a spyware checker there are many free ones out there. If you can check them on another computer and they work, if you are using windows, try using a restore point you may have installed a program that somehow disabled your USB driver. If it is hardware failure on two, you might be looking at something like your surge protector, but most likeley if they both went down, something else might have too.
 

TCimages

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Remove the drives from the case and buy a new enclosure. Often times the controller in the enclosure will go bad. I agree with the others, VERY weird to have two go at the same time, but a power surge can do this.

Are the drives actually running?

How do you have them connected to your PC (firewire, USB, eSATA)?

This is why I keep a copy on the shelf that isn't running.
 

Alex_B

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true, my backup is usually not even connected to power or the computer.
 

usayit

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almost impossible that both drives die at the same time ... sounds like it could be a problem with your USB controller.

People say this all the time, but I see time and time again proven wrong. I've seen corruption get "replicated" to both drives too...

Sorry dude... if the stuff is really really important, high quality CD-Rs or DVD-Rs with reburns every few years. Another more favorable option is magnetic tape and offsite... the good ol'stuff...

What ever you do, don't format the drives. Other posters have already mentioned good steps to take next.
 

Alex_B

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well, there are controllers which corrupt drives, that is true. but you can also write corrupted CDs or DVDs and only realise years later. happend to a friend of mine.
 

Garbz

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I would grill into LaCie for this, show them the receipt from the data recovery house and tell them if they did their job properly then the thing wouldn't have had to be opened.

I find it very strange that 2 drives die at once. USB controllers are serial. If they break they start spitting out garbage the receiving controller would more likely be confused and generate errors especially if it doesn't receive any error checking data. There's a chance that the controllers in the external HDD were in error then, but both die at the same time? If that was because of a USB error then is sounds like a design flaw.

The biggest problem with your backup strategy is that both drives were online. An offline drive can't fail, especially if it's not in the same location as the online one. The double external backup was good, but one of the drives should be synced with the other once a week or once a month depending on your data and then stored somewhere off site. To many of you it probably sounds paranoid, but to daveat22 this may sound like perfect sense now.
 

sabbath999

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true, my backup is usually not even connected to power or the computer.

My backups are not even stored on the same premises, I have them in my desk at work and rotate them in and out. A fire can wipe out all your pictures if you don't keep at least one good backup off site.
 

Sideburns

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Remove the drives from the case and buy a new enclosure. Often times the controller in the enclosure will go bad. I agree with the others, VERY weird to have two go at the same time, but a power surge can do this.

Are the drives actually running?

How do you have them connected to your PC (firewire, USB, eSATA)?

This is why I keep a copy on the shelf that isn't running.

There is no controller in the enclosure. It's in the drive.

Personally, it seems to me like your USB went bad and screwed em up.

My recommendation for next time.
If you have them backed up to two different drives....never have them connected at the same time.

Backup is BACKUP. use it when you NEED it. Otherwise it's just a storage spot, and it can fail easily.
 

JerryPH

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Over 25 years in the field and I have yet to see more than one drive at a time die unless it was power fluctuation related, in which case I would see motherboards and monitors blow too.

If these were external USB enclosures, and they both went, try them on another computer with a known functioning USB port before sending them off! Chances are very good it is just the USB connector that was damaged on the computer from a power spike or drop.

Failing that, place the drives into another enclosure.

Based on what you are telling us, I doubt you lost the files on the drives... however you have sent the drives to someone now, and unfortunately I am willing to bet that you will run into people that are a little dishonest and will profit from your lack of experience.

Raid, though it does have redundancy and ability to recover from a catastrophic failure, is also not an alternative to a good backup solution.

I've said it many times (and I make a fair extra amount of coin from people that do not listen)... a hard drives of ANY kind is not a reliable long term backup medium. The best affordable medium is a CD or DVD for the masses.
 

usayit

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My backups are not even stored on the same premises, I have them in my desk at work and rotate them in and out. A fire can wipe out all your pictures if you don't keep at least one good backup off site.

thumbs up!!! You doing offsite storage puts you above a chunk of multi-million dollar businesses that I support. They have this sensitive data but protecting it comes at the bottom of priorities and funding.. scarry eh?

I have a locked drawer at work that serves as my offsite storage.

I see drive failures all the time.. more so with consumer level harddrives. Most companies will not take responsibility for any lost data.. they see it as your responsibility. Even software backup corporations have little disclaimers for limited liability.
 

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