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Disk Warrior / failed hard drive

Discussion in 'Technology' started by MikeZ_NJ, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    Once again, I've had a laptop hard drive fail on my Macbook Pro.

    I'm a power user and work in tech, so I do a TON with it. I was doing work Sunday morning, and the next thing I know, everything froze up. Tried a hard reboot - wouldn't get past the apple screen. Tried to boot into single user mode - that was the oh s&*^ moment. I/O errors left and right. Booted to the Snow Leopard CD to run disk utility - no luck. Went to a Terminal, tried fsck_hfs - nothing. Tried regular fsck - it ran for about a half hour and kept finding a bunch of bad blocks... and couldn't fix anything.

    Prior to upgrading to Snow Leopard, when I was on Tiger, I used SuperDuper for backups and a full, bootable backup on an external drive. I booted to that and tried running Disk Warrior. It ran for a day and a half, then told me that the rebuild failed and to change the options and run it again. That's where I'm at now.

    Has Disk Warrior EVER saved anyone? Do I have any hope whatsoever in recovering data?

    I normally wouldn't worry so much, but Time Machine hasn't run in about a month and a half... right before a trip I took. I have some HD video of a Safari I was on in South Africa and I don't want to lose it. I also don't look forward to redoing all my 2010 tax documents this weekend.

    (One other thing I tried: mounting the hfs volume read-only and trying to copy files off. This worked for a few things, but it also grinded the laptop to a halt until I umounted it.)

    Given everything that has happened, I had to buy a new drive. I'm pretty excited at what I ordered: a 500 GB Seagate SSD Hybrid. It has 4GB solid state, and adaptive memory that apparently reduces disk spin on the main drive to 1.5-10pct of the time for an average user. I'll take that. I also bought a 2TB external for Time Machine backups. I'll use my 500GB external for SuperDuper bootable backups, so in the event of another failure, I can boot to a CURRENT version of my MBP.

    Anyone ever use the SS Hybrids? I'm assuming performance is at least twice as good as a regular drive? Any other suggestions on backup schemes? I know I should probably use AWS for some things - haven't got around to it yet. Any recommendations for cloud-based backup programs for the Mac?
     
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  3. Billy10mm

    Billy10mm Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    643
    Westchester
    Full Name:
    Billy Ng
    My setup for my 27" iMac:

    I leave the built-in drive for all applications and general day to day stuff (music [not a lot], documents, downloaded crap, etc).

    I have a 500GB external (USB2.0) drive I store all of my Photos on (I'm an avid photographer).

    The 1TB internal iMac drive and the external drive are both TimeMachine backed up to a 2TB external drive.

    On top of that I pay $5 per month for unlimited backup storage with BackBlaze (http://www.backblaze.com). I was a Mozy user but they very recently switched up to a tiered model that priced me out of their service (I'm backing up approximately 270GB worth of data - almost all of that photos).

    BackBlaze has been nice. Took about a week to do the initial upload (I'm on Verizon FiOS) but subsequent updates have been very quick. I did do a file restore shortly after getting the service to make sure it all worked and it did. Ironically, during the week that I was doing the upload, my 500GB Photo drive lost it's master boot record some how. Drive appeared to the OS as though it wasn't formatted and nothing built into the Mac could get it back. TimeMachine to the rescue on that one. I had all the data back in two hours or so. I'm content now with my double-backup solution.
     
  4. Billy10mm

    Billy10mm Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    643
    Westchester
    Full Name:
    Billy Ng
    Almost forgot ... I've never tried the hybrids, but solid-state hard drives, especially compared to your typically under-performing 5600rpm laptop drives ... is night and day. A 17" Macbook Pro is next on my list of computer purchases (when my 15.6" HP finally shats the bed) and I will definitely order it with the 128GB SS drive (or hopefully my HP lasts me another year or two and I get a higher capacity drive for lower price ... I love technology that way).
     
  5. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    You can back up externals via Time Machine as well?! Wow... I have a 200GB usb that I use for archiving music and other stuff that I don't need readily available. I'll definitely add that to the Time Machine queue.

    I'll check out BackBlaze - $5 unlimited storage sounds great; I still want to do a price comparison with backing up to Amazon S3.

    Thanks for the insight.
     
  6. Billy10mm

    Billy10mm Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    643
    Westchester
    Full Name:
    Billy Ng
    Amazon S3 isn't really geared as a backup solution. It's a cloud storage solution for accessing your files from anywhere. I just priced out what it would take to store 300GB worth of data in the S3 cloud along with making 20 Put/Copy/Post/List requests per month and the bill is around $41/month. And anyone with your ID/pword can access it from anywhere.

    BackBlaze, like Mozy, is geared specifically towards data backup. You select which folders/drives you want to back up and how often you want to do it and that's it, BackBlaze software takes over the rest. Files are only accessible by computers you've authorized under your account.

    Let me know if you figure out a way to make the cloud work though, I'm intrigued.
     
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  8. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    I've had a few people recommend JungleDisk to me. It uses S3 or Rackspace for storage, and compresses/encrypts/de-dupes the backups. It shows up as a regular drive on your machine (I'm guessing it's similar to Dropbox in that regard). $3/mo, 5GB free, $.15/GB after.

    https://www.jungledisk.com/personal/desktop/pricing/

    You're right, in terms of cost, 300GB would be super cost prohibitive. I'm not sure how much I'd actually need in the cloud, though. Documents, mostly. Not too worried about media: I'd have it on an external, backed up through Time Machine to a second external, and most of it sync'd to either my iPod(s) or iPad.

    On a side note, Newegg is amazing. I ordered my new drive and backup drive yesterday at around noon (with regular shipping), and it arrived at 11:00am today.
     
  9. atomstrange

    atomstrange Formula Junior

    Jun 3, 2005
    845
    Lenexa KS
    Full Name:
    Nathan
    #7 atomstrange, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
    Let me know how you like the seagate ssd. I have used five or six different ones so far. I definitely prefer the ocz agility 2's. I almost got an ibis but it was cost prohibitive. Getting a preferred account with newegg always results in free rush processing and shipping. :)

    I always just buy two drives that are identical and copy vital info to both of them. Two hard drives are not going to fail simultaneously. They are the storage drives and I always have a third that runs my os. Usually smaller and always SSD.
     
  10. Korr

    Korr F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 7, 2003
    16,519
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    J3L2404
    As far as software data recovery goes (Mac, Windows, Linux etc), it generally only works on small time file system shags. Anything worse then that and your drive goes off to a data recovery joint to have any chance at recovering anything.

    A much easier solution is to BACK UP EVERY WEEK and to have multiple spots to back up to. A single external drive is better than nothing, but it's still not good enough. Start with several different externals and move on to having at least two web-based back up solutions. Don't worry about backing up your porn collection because restoring it manually via http is a good passer of time, and your wedding photos will be deleted the day the divorce is finalized so don't fret about them.

    Also, if you are backing up to an offsite storage, encrypt your stuff with http://www.truecrypt.org/ and no one will get your data. They can brute force it, but good luck using my credit card number in the year 32014 (use a very strong password). :)

    The Seagate hybrid is a pretty decent drive...and more of these should be popping up in the near future as 4-16 GB read caches on spindle drives that marry 50% of the speed of an SSD with cheaper capacity of a spindle drive.

    Adaptive memory looks at your usage pattern and caches that to the flash based storage on the drive; flash memory is many, many times faster at access time than a spindle which makes them feel so fast to begin with. Top it off with reads that are easily 2x faster than a spindle and a 320 GB capacity (or more) and all for $100 and it's good device. Also, the Adaptive Memory takes time to learn what your OS and what you use the most, so it actually gets faster the more you use it.

    It's not an SSD, though. If the data isn't in the cache, then the OS is going to pull it off the spindle which is very very slow in reads, (sometimes) writes and especially access times.

    For a first gen hybrid, the Seagate is a decent buy. It largely removes the feeling of running through 50 yards of warm fresh rhino pucky while wearing snowshoes that most laptop drives offer.

    Not to mention, it's the only thing big enough to hold your "Excel" spreadsheet collection.
     
  11. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    Just wanted to update, since I have my laptop up and running with the new drive.

    Here's what my set up is/will be:
    * 500 GB internal drive (so far so good - not noticing the speed difference yet, but as noted earlier, it's adaptive and gets better with time).
    * 2TB USB External - split into a 500GB partition and 1.5TB partition.
    * SuperDuper is going to maintain a bootable mirror on the 500GB partition, scheduled update nightly or whenever the drive is plugged in.
    * Time Machine will do its thing on the 1.5TB partition.
    * 500GB USB External - using SuperDuper on this too. I'll probably set this up only to run when the drive's plugged in, and plug the drive in every so often. Dunno.

    Still trying to decide on an online backup.

    Questions: I mentioned that I would add my media archive drive (200GB) to Time Machine. Is 1.5TB enough for 700GB of data (500GB internal + 200GB external)? Do I need a second partition for the second Time Machine backup?

    Re: encryption. All my sensitive stuff - financial and military - I have built sparse image, AES-encrypted drives for on my laptop. I only access/save the sensitive stuff on those drives. I'd still like to keep the rest of my stuff locked up, but I do have some measures in place already.
     
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  13. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    1,533
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    I decided that there's no reason to take up space by putting the archive drive in Time Machine. I'll simply keep a mirror of that. My main backup drive will be 3 partitions: 500GB Main Mirror - 200GB Archive Mirror - 1.3TB Main Time Machine.
     

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