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Author Topic: External Drive Failure  (Read 3827 times)
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Etshinn

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« on: Mar 10, 2013, 08:25PM »

I just had my 1.5 TB external hard drive fail on me.  Literally just came home one day and the computer wouldn't recognize it and it's making a lot of clicking noises.  Emailed the manufacturer (Seagate) and they refered me to their data recovery team that I can contact M-F.  I have to send the drive in and pay $50 for the diagnosis and from what I've read online, recovery can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

The drive is about 2/3 - 3/4 full, mostly with my carefully organized iTunes library that I've built my whole life.  Has anyone had this happen to them or know of a reliable data recovery service that wouldn't deplete my whole savings to repair?  Like many here, music is my life and I was devastated when this happened.  If I do ever get the music back, I'll be keeping it on two drives, but I'm a poor graduate student and things like that usually get a low priority.
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 10, 2013, 09:01PM »

I have to send the drive in and pay $50 for the diagnosis and from what I've read online, recovery can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 


Based on my previous inquiries that is fairly typical for cost, maybe slightly low. Their prices are geared for people who stand to suffer some serious financial life or death calamity because of a data loss.

I don't know too much about the specifics of Itunes licenses.  I suppose I thought your online account would have a record of everything you bought and let you download it again, but that's not the case?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 10, 2013, 09:51PM »

There is a high probability that you can recover your data off of that drive without using their expensive recovery costs. I would attempt the following:

1 - take the hard drive out of the pc it is in and put it in an external usb drive enclosure
2 - Download a copy of 'getdataback' from the internet and install it on the pc that you will use to recover the data from: getdataback for ntfs
3 - plug the external hard drive (the one you're trying to recover the data from) into the pc that you installed the getdataback program on
4 - I would plug an additional external hard drive at least as big as the one in recovery into the same pc
5 - run the getdataback program to recover the data and save it onto the other external hard drive

If getdataback can't recover your itunes, then your only other option is to use their services and pay their prices. However, I believe that the probability is very high for this to succeed.

Good luck!
 
 
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Thomas Matta

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« Reply #3 on: Mar 10, 2013, 09:58PM »

I just had my 1.5 TB external hard drive fail on me..

The drive that failed is external.

Minus your step 1, will your process still work?
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 10, 2013, 10:12PM »

Sounds like the clicking noise can be caused by the hard drive itself not spinning. Just a guess.

I hope you find a recovery service that's worth it.

I recommend getting western digital hard drives for your next drive. You can't go wrong with WD drives. If you get your data back, get 2 drives, double back-up. Never trust electronics, especially with a music collection so dear to your heart.   
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Etshinn

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« Reply #5 on: Mar 10, 2013, 10:20PM »

When I plug it in, the drive will spin with a couple short bursts of clicking noises.  I'm guess that the drive is trying to start-up, but can't.  After about 10-15 seconds of this, you can hear the disk stop spinning.

Device manager recognizes the drive, but it won't appear under "my computer".
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Erik Shinn, DM
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Matt K

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« Reply #6 on: Mar 11, 2013, 05:12AM »

Did you remove it from the usb port without ejecting it first?

What flavor of Windows are you using?
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 11, 2013, 05:28AM »

The drive that failed is external.

Minus your step 1, will your process still work?

Thanks for the correction. Yes, it should work. I think that the plates are still spinning, especially since he said that setup is recognizing the hard drive during bootup.
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Etshinn

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« Reply #8 on: Mar 11, 2013, 05:51AM »

Did you remove it from the usb port without ejecting it first?

What flavor of Windows are you using?

I have done that many times in the past with no ill effects.  The drive was set for quick removal, which specifically says that you don't have to go through the ejection process.

I'm running Windows 7.
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Erik Shinn, DM
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Etshinn

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« Reply #9 on: Mar 11, 2013, 06:02AM »

Thanks for the correction. Yes, it should work. I think that the plates are still spinning, especially since he said that setup is recognizing the hard drive during bootup.

Just downloaded and ran GetDataBack.  The program did not recognize my external hard drive.
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Erik Shinn, DM
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 11, 2013, 06:16AM »

Just downloaded and ran GetDataBack.  The program did not recognize my external hard drive.

You say that device manager recognizes the drive and getdataback doesn't? well, if getdataback doesn't recognize the drive, then you will have to go for the more expensive option. That's not good. Sorry to hear that.
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 11, 2013, 06:22AM »

Moving this to Technology.  Please hang on.

Incidentally, the clicking is because the drive heads cannot recognize their "home" position and therefore can't find the important map tracks that tell them where to look for data.

Drives can fail for any number of reasons, mostly if you use it very heavily and the heads need to jump around a lot (this is called "thrashing") which can happen if you have a drive that his heavily fragmented (i.e. files have data stored in a lot of odd places).  Lesson: there is a nice Windows utility called Defrag that will minimize this effect.  In fact, sometimes it may take two or even three passes to do the whole job.  This takes a few hours on a 100 Gig drive, so if you have a Terabyte drive you should let it run overnight.

Lesson 2:  Computers are things that can fail without warning.  Back up, back up, back up.  Don't put too much trust in them.

Btw, do you actually listen to all your 750 Gig of itunes? ;-) :-P
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 11, 2013, 06:38AM »

For defragmentation, I prefer a freeware, formerly open source program called MyDefrag, it uses the same APIs that the windows utility uses, but then purposefully 'fragments' certain files based on use and size.

If you do manage to get all your data back, you might want to consider a service like Carbonite or one of their competitors, in lieu of multiple hard drives.  I use DropBox myself, but I don't have that many files, I can store all of my important data with the free plan.  My music is either from iTunes (and can be re-downloaded from iTunes) or Amazon (same thing) mostly, so it is already backed up.  For everything else, iTunes will allow you to backup your whole library on DVDs, which I do as well and keep the discs offsite.  This is significantly easier when you only have 30GB of music though.  It takes me ca. 8ish discs to back mine up... it would take you (for 750GB) 160 discs which would take awhile, which is why I suggest carbonite.

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« Reply #13 on: Mar 11, 2013, 10:41AM »

On backup...

Hard drives are so much faster, so much less fragile than DVDs and relatively cheap... just get another hard drive to do your backups to. Plug it in, copy to it. If the worry is that your computer might physically disappear, unplug the drive and hide it in your favorite cubby hole until you want to update your backup.

A 2TB drive is about $100 now.

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #14 on: Mar 11, 2013, 11:24AM »

On backup...

Hard drives are so much faster, so much less fragile than DVDs and relatively cheap... just get another hard drive to do your backups to. Plug it in, copy to it. If the worry is that your computer might physically disappear, unplug the drive and hide it in your favorite cubby hole until you want to update your backup.

A 2TB drive is about $100 now.



Wow, they have fallen in price as of late. I haven't bought one in a few years.. I think I paid $300 for a 1.5TB  :-0
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 11, 2013, 12:34PM »

Here's a current sampling on NewEgg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007603%20600003269&IsNodeId=1&name=1TB%20-%202TB


The "Green" drives are sleepier in terms of response but for backup purposes that's not a big deal and they seem to have more TBs for the $


Of course, none of this helps out the OP.  But, for the future...
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #16 on: Mar 11, 2013, 01:18PM »

I have a USB RAID array backup device (4 TB total/4 1 TB drives) that has an exposed switch on the back (wish I knew that when I bought it). A few years ago I went to take it off the shelf, the switch got bumped, changing the configuration without my knowing it. When the device was started up again the array was no longer readable (even after switching the configuration back to the correct setting). Tried all the software recovery options to no avail. Ultimately had to send it to DriveSavers (http://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com/). Because it was a RAID array, they came back with a quote that was absolutely unimaginable for me to handle ($4k + purchasing drives  to store the recovered data). When I told them to just ship the array back, they bargained the price to a little more than 25% of their initial estimate. I purchased the recovery drives online from Amazon and had them shipped directly to DriveSavers (DriveSavers provided me with the info so that my drives didn't get misplaced by their people). They did great work considering the RAID array is very complex compared to a single drive (95% recovered (100% of important data was recovered, but lost some directory tree data because of the RAID complexity--which meant I had to manually search the file folders for the backup data).

If you can't recover it, DriveSavers does excellent work.

Good luck.

Marc
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 11, 2013, 02:20PM »

Just spoke with people at both Seagate and Drive Savers

Seagate estimated between $599-1300 and Drive Savers' estimate was between $700-2000 and that was after an education discount for being employed by Florida State and them "shaving" off of the top end when I said I couldn't afford it.

I have iTunes/Amazon purchased items on there, but I also have a lot of live broadcast stuff, recordings of myself, and yes, some ripped CDs that I don't own physical copies of.

It's just really going to suck starting back from scratch again.
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 11, 2013, 06:25PM »

I looked at the GetDataBack website, and they have a download for a bootable CD (instead of running as a Windows app).  Would be worth a try, in case the bootable CD OS (probably some Linux variant) is more tolerant of the drive's failure mode than Windows.

When you buy your next external disk, buy two identical units.  It's cheaper than RAID, and you can set up a simple batch file to duplicate the contents of one drive to the other.

The more paranoid you are about disk failures (which are pretty much guaranteed to happen eventually) the better off you will be.  My setup is motherboard mirrored RAID drives, backed up via Norton Ghost to an external drive, whose contents is copied to yet another external drive.  This protects not only against hardware failures but against stupid user errors (which I will make periodically).

I've been involved with computers since 1975.  The only time I ever lost data was when I was working on a mainframe, and the mainframe operators screwed up backups.  Paranoia is good!  I have had multiple hard drive failures on home computers, and never lost a byte.
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 12, 2013, 09:17PM »

There is another possible solution: SpinRite, by Gibson Research. Here is a link: http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

It's got a great reputation for getting data off of recalcitrant drives, and Gibson has been in this business for decades. It's a pretty cheap program ($89) for what it does, and once you buy it, you can use it on all your drives. I would try this before shipping the drive away and spending a lot of money. One possible scenario where this wouldn't work is if the platters just don't spin. Although some recommend chilling a drive in a freezer if it appears to be a mechanical problem. But this is definitely a short-term solution, which, if it makes the drive accessible again, should be used to immediately backup the drive. Good luck.
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