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Hard Drive Recovery

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by jive1, Feb 24, 2006.


  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Since alot of folks ask PC questions on TB, I thought I'd add this.

    My hard drive crashed on Tuesday, and I finally retrieved the data from it today. I was inches away from putting the hard drive in the freezer to see if I can retrieve something from it. But luckily, someone at the office had a copy of OnTrack EasyRecovery that saved my arse.

    I know I should have made backups, and I did. Unfortunately they were done in December, and a lot has gone on since then. Now, I'm considering a RAID configuration to save my data. I'm also going away from little Biostar IDEQ case I was using, and going back to a standard mid-tower. I think the heat build up in the case led to the failure. Couple in the fact that I have a Prescott CPU that seems to love to run hot.

    Here's lessons learned that I'd like to share:
    1) MAKE REGULAR BACKUPS!!!!! If you're using windows, that includes a recovery diskette.
    2) The Knoppix Linux Distro is great in that it can read windows partitions, and runs entirely on CD Rom.
    3) BartPE is a great app that will run a mini windows environment off the CD ROM.
    4) Things run much faster if you slave the bad drive on a functioning system, rather than working through DOS on your failed system. DOS is awful for memory management. CHKDSK can take days to run if you have a huge drive.
    5) If traditional methods of recovery don't work, I suggest OnTrack EasyRecovery or Stellar Phoenix for recovering files. SpinRite might work, but it just takes so d@mn long to do it's thing.
    6) If all else fails, many techs have suggested putting the hard drive in a zip-lock bag and then putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Take it out, and immediately hook it up to the PC. I don't know the physics of it, but many times it will let a HD run long enough to copy files from it.

    Now it's time to build a new PC. This time I'm adding a bunch of fans to the case.
     
  2. +1 on all of that
     
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I don't know about the freezer thing. I have never been in a situation that desperate.

    If you schedule backups weekly, you don't have to think about it. I schedule those types of processes since they can be easy to forget.

    -Mike
     
  4. DaftCat

    DaftCat

    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I hope you are going RAID 1, aren't you? ;)

    Myself, I have no sympathy anymore for people(in my circles) who lose data. It is a cakewalk nowadays to run a daily backup scheme....even offline!

    Glad you are taking steps to avoid losing critical data.

    DCat,
     
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I am actually considering going RAID 5. I want the performance as well as the redundancy. But RAID 5 seems too extreme and expensive for my purposes. Probably gonna go RAID 1, but little apprehensive about the system doing two writes each time and thus affecting overall performance.

    Honestly, I don't have sympathy for me for losing data. I'm a former techie and network nazi, so I should know better. Until I decide what RAID config I'm gonna use, I'm writing a batch-file that will copy over critical folders to my server on a daily basis.
     
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    What kind of system are you going to build where you will be concerned with losing performance with RAID 1? We use RAID 1 on all of our distributed voicemail servers with no problems. Yeah, it isn't a high performance application I am talking about, but it isn't like the system is bogging down. You'll have some performance issues doing all of that writing if you go RAID 5 ya know. The more writing you do, the more your performance will degrade with RAID 5. OTOH, your read performance will smoke!

    Heck, I feel sorry for you. I guess I'm the only one.

    -Mike
     
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Hehehe, Jive is a true programming geek at heart. Instead of using some of the great free utilities, he has to go out and write his own batch file. :rolleyes: :D

    -Mike
     
  8. Wow. The freezer concept is really interesting. I can't say I've ever heard of anything like that. I'd love to know the idea behind it. I'm assuming it must be related to a metal's tendancy to contract some in cold temps? If anyone knows, please share.

    On a side (semi-related) note, when I was quite a bit younger nd raced dirtbikes, I did my own engine rebuilds once a season. Well, on 2-stroke engines, the crank bearings are pressed to the crank, and the crank assembly is pressed inthe case halves. When I was re-assembling everything, the crank case would get thrown in the freezer, while the cases were tossed in the ovenfor a while. Made reassembly WORLDS easier, yet made my mom meaner than a snake!!!

    Sorry for the derailment, now back to your regularly scheduled programming. :ninja:
     
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    +1 on Stellar Phoenix. I've used it on several HDs that went bad in poorly constructed Firewire enclosures and generally recovered every little bit of data that had previously been on a drive that would no longer show on any of the many systems and programs I have, PLUS a bunch if data that I had thought was long gone to the trash healp and damage of partial overwrites.

    If only it were a bit faster, it can take a LONG time to scan and recover 2-400 gigs of stuff.
     
  10. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    i had thought the freezer thing was a joke the first time i heard but i googled it and it appeared to be an actual technique. i never gave it a try, but thought to myself "what the heck, as a last resort i'll try anything"

    i still need to come out and see your shop sometime Jive1. :)

    i'm afraid i wont leave though :ninja:
     
  11. Knoppix is great - I've used it to recover both windows and linux partitions and change boot loader parameters. Even if you're not a linux user it's a great CD just to have lying around. Plus it's free.
     
  12. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Different situation to the nightmare of a hard drive failure, but I salvaged everything I needed off a dead PC (power supply went, too old to be worth fixing) by taking the hard drive out and connecting it to another PC with an IDE-USB lead (needed a mains adapter to power the drive, of course), dead easy.

    When I got a new PC I wiped it clean and built my installation from scratch the way I wanted it. Now I use the old hard drive for backing up on pretty much a daily basis with Norton Ghost 10 - works a treat for me so far (crosses fingers...)
     
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    My Mac(s) have crashed twice in the last 18 years. Both times I was able to recover everything with little problem. Sorrry, had to toss a Mac thing in the mix. :)

    The moral of the story is backup often. How often depends on what you do adnhow much things change for you.
     
  14. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Honestly, it's faster for me to write a batch file and use Scheduler than it is to scour through all the freeware software, read reviews, and check for spyware/adware.

    It's just NET USE and XCOPY.
     
  15. jkritchey

    jkritchey

    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    When I bought a new External USB Hardrive, it came with Retrospect back up software on it. It now runs a job on it's own 7 days a week at 5:30 am. It's more than I need by a lot, but it's there should I need it. (I hope...:meh: )

    What does Mac or PC have to do with hardware failure?
     
  16. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Who does that anymore, sheesh! Just download the first one that comes up on KaZaa. :eek: :D

    -Mike
     
  17. If an OS freezes then there is more chance of data corruption (not necessarily a physical failure, but still data loss). Therefore the more often an OS freezes or 'crashes' (technically a crash is physical, but the term is increasingly misused to mean a hang or freeze) the more chance of data loss. Macs and Linux crash less often than windows, therefore have less chance of data loss.
     
  18. jkritchey

    jkritchey

    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    I have little experience with Linux, and I harbor no ill will towards Macs. But I am just not aware of PC's crashing more than Macs, other than there's 10 times more PC's.

    I started in the Tech Support business in an all mac shop using Mac OS 7.x. Those machines crashed more than any Windows release I've ever experienced, save original Win 95 (which was probably it's equivalent.)
     
  19. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Similar experience here. Even though Win95 was buggy, MacOS wasn't much better back then. Every try to configure an AppleTalk network? or integrate it into the rest of the LAN?

    My theory is that Macs crash less because there are less third party apps and hardware available for them. More PC, more peripherals, more software, means more likely to crash. I mean how often do you a crash a system running Quark?:smug:
     
  20. I also have no mac experience, but I have LOTS of linux experience, and my computer crashes almost never and certainly less than it did in my Windows2000 days. I think you'll get similar responses from most linux users.