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bobocel says

Yes, it does happen to all of us sooner or later. :-)

Right now I’m in the process of recovering around 400GB of data. Hope it will work. I’m currently using DiskWarrior. Don’t even want to say how I spent the last 4 days..

The reason for this post is different. I wanted to ask what you guys use for (MAC?) preventing HDD failure, to address issues such as:

1. Being notified upfront that the HDD is going to to fail.

2. Monitoring and increasing the lifespan

3. Back-up solutions

4. Anything else you can recommend? (defrag, verify and repair, etc)

Are SSD reliable? I think these are a bit too pricey. My 2TB hdd that I was using part for timemachine and part for storage failed. It was a WD.

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quickandeasy Volunteer moderator says

Damn, sorry to here that dude, it’s real frustration!

I don’t know much about ‘recovery’ but -

My HD recently failed, it contained half my GR stuff, so I started from scratch.

I took the opportunity to reorganize my whole laptop, update my GR items and have everything safely stored on a new HD – which I then double backed up to another HD, and I also have it backed up to Time machine too.

Oh, and some item back ups on my server too.

I decided holding my whole ‘business’ on one single HD was definitely not a wise move.

I would recommend having several back up HD’s + maybe some back ups on your server too.

After all, your digital content is your business. Taking the time to store the information on multiple devices whilst sounding a lengthy task, is definitely a sound decision.

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duotive says

Are SSD reliable?

No, as far as i know they fail too. You should use a raid without parity, so mirror. RAID 1 or if you really want to pump it up, RAID 10 ( but this one if 2 our of 4 drivers fail you loose everything ). :) Study this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nested_RAID_levels . Also an external backup has it’s issues too. My partner bought a very expensive and very good reviewed backup system, with professional hard drivers and the box failed. I would not go for that. That is what i would do. Also as a friendly advice…. i do not know what PSU come with MACs but you should buy a professional PSU , because it can burn drives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_mirroring PSU – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_unit_%28computer%29 [ sorry if you knew this but just wanted to be sure that i am understood ]
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scottwills Staff says

Hello Andrei,

Not saying this is the best way to backup at all, just sharing what I do: I use Time Machine and an external hard drive to backup everything on my Mac. I had all my backups on Time Machine when I experienced hard drive failure on my Mac a year or so ago and restoring everything on my new hard drive was super simple and pretty quick. I now have two external hard drives that I use to back up via Time Machine – I rotate them every so often so I effectively have a backup of the backup. It’s not perfect and there are probably better solutions out there, but it’s working for me so far as it’s simple to use – you just leave it running and it takes care of itself. :) I have tried things like Mozy and JungleDisk + Amazon S3 in the past which backs up files online/via the cloud but I personally had a horrible experience because it was extremely slow despite having a fast internet connection/upload speed, so that didn’t work out for me. If you don’t have a lot of files/data to backup then those online solutions may be better.

I know what a headache data loss can be, I remember when I first switched from a PC to a Mac and I lost a LOT of my work from not understanding how hard drives mount and unmount differently on a Mac, so I hope you’ll manage to recover the data you lost. I totally empathize with you, good luck! :)

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CodeFusion says

The cause of HD failure will determine how to recover the HD or if it’s even possible. How did the HD “fail” not bootable? Not recognized by the comp? Tried hooking it up to a different comp? Is it internal or external? If external, take it out of its external enclosure and use a usb to HDD cable to try and read the drive – sometimes the external case circuit board takes a crap – rendering the drive “failed” until you take it out of the case and hook it directly to a computer.

Increasing Lifespan: Turn the HDD OFF when not using it. Unless you tweak your setup, HDD continually spin and puts extra wear and tear on them. If external, unplug wall-wart (brick) from wall when you’re not using it. Don’t leave USB plugged in unless you are using it. If external and not a primary drive – do not include the drive in virus scans. Scan it once in a while to ensure nothing slipped by, but do not continually scan the drive if its only for storage. Scanning, just like defragging adds extra/unneeded read/writes on the drive.

Defrag: While it can be helpful (in the right situations) – typically it’s a waste of time and a waste of read/writes. When defragging, the computer reads files “bits” and rearranges the HD so all the file bits can be next to one another instead of skewed across the entire drive. The performance increase from defrag is hardly (if even) noticeable – the wear and tear on the drive is “dramatic” especially if done often. If you have external scratch disks, and you do lots of downloading, tell your browser to save directly to your scratch disc instead of your primary. This will help keep you from getting fragmented files on your primary disc.

A tradition (mechanical) HDD is just like the motor on your car. The more you use it, the less its expected life span will be.

6 Years ago I had a partial HDD failure. Random BSOD , accessing some files caused reboot, etc. I came up with a game plan. Every year I go and buy a new (trusted – name brand) HDD . I do a clean install and reinstall all my software. Copy files over that need to be copied, and then retire the old drive as a “backup drive”. I do a full backup of new drive (post install) to an external drive. I partition last year’s drive and use the “empty space” as a sandbox – leaving last year’s files untouched in standby mode. If I have to, I can always boot to disk no.2 and have all my software at my fingertips. Take the drive from two years ago and use it as a scratch disc for your software – this keeps from beating up your new disc!

I have been doing this for 5 years now and I have never had a HDD failure since. I sleep better at night knowing my HDD is less than a year old. I have 5 TB in my machine and another 4 TB of external backup. It would take an eon to try to backup all my info to my off site servers – so that is never really an option.

like duotive said; check out RAID

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flashedge says

I do a double backup on two different HDD . Once a day in one and once a week to the other, this way I’m never screwed as I got a third live copy on my rig too. Be careful. Too much write/read might stress your HDD . You should use a software that does incremental copies.

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redfactory says

We have a 50GB payed acount on dropbox. Solved all our problems :) We store all company related filed on there, and I have a 2TB NAS in raid 1 at home for my personal files. Since dropbox syncs all files to your computer we always have our company files in 4 different locations (laptop, macbook, pc, cloud).

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pezflash says

I do a double backup on two different HDD . Once a day in one and once a week to the other, this way I’m never screwed as I got a third live copy on my rig too. Be careful. Too much write/read might stress your HDD . You should use a software that does incremental copies.

I’ve more or less the same configuration. I recommend (for pc users, not sure if it’s available for mac) Second Copy for backups. Pretty quick. I do a daily backup into one external HD, then once a month a full backup of that HD in another one.

Planning to make this second backup on Dropbox soon, if i’m not too lazy, more than i’m normally, i mean. :)

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bobocel says

Thanks, I will look into RAID . This HDD that failed, has two hdd of 1 TB each, so I think it will be good to go with for RAID .

The HDD is seen by disk utility, only a partition isn’t recognized, but repair does not work.

At the moment I’m using disk warrior to try and recover the data. I’ll see how that goes.

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OhmLab says

I always, always, always maintain at least one backup drive and one clone for every computer. This is the only sure system I know of.

Yeah. I have a lot of drives. ;)

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