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Author Topic: Hard Drive Reliability  (Read 21854 times)
Ray
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« on: January 22, 2007, 12:04:37 PM »
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Well, it's happened! As a result of external hard drive storage becoming affordable, I decided to make a 'hard drive' duplicate of my CDs and DVDs. I bought 2 LaCie 500GB external drives (Big Disk). I spent hours transferring RAW & Tiff inages to them. One of the Big Disks I reserved for the images from my recent trip. I spent hours sorting the RAW files into appropriate folders.140GB of them. Fortunately, I didn't save any processed images to this hard drive, because it has now become corrupted. I seem to have lost access to all those 140GB of RAW images on the drive.

I've tried plugging the drive into the USB socket of other computers, but with the same result. The hard drive is recognised in 'hardware devices'. The driver appears to be working properly. But I can't find the drive in 'my computer', in 'windows explorer', or in Bridge.

I seem to have a drive in perfect working order which is invisible.

Geez! It's fortunate I've got this stuff backed up on DVD. The problem I now have is, this drive is still under warranty. Do I take it back to the store and hand over all my precious images, which might be copied by some unscrupulous employee who takes a fancy to my images and possibly sells them to some third party?

I've got no idea whether the images can be retrieved. However, if they are going to be retrieved, I'd like it to be me who does it.

Any advice would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 06:48:21 PM by Ray » Logged
jjlphoto
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 12:23:47 PM »
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Those LaCie things are really consumer devices. I wouldn't put anything on them that my livelyhood depends on. Your best bet is to buy a multi-bay enclosure that has fans, and outfit it with drives from Seagate, Hitachi, or Western Digital. Connect it as a SATA drive if your computer supports SATA (individual drives need to be SATA as well), and you will have a more robust professional mechanism. SATA does not rely a bridgeboard to convert to Firewire/USB, as the data is piped directly into the HD. The type of RAID configuratipon or redundancy/back-up method is up to you. At least get the proper hardware.

Have you tried running a directory repair utility on your LaCie?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2007, 12:25:09 PM by jjlphoto » Logged

Thanks, John Luke

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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2007, 12:29:30 PM »
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Have you tried running a directory repair utility on your LaCie?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Nope! But I'll investigate. Thanks for the advice.
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RonBoyd
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2007, 09:01:46 AM »
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I've got no idea whether the images can be retrieved. However, if they are going to be retrieved, I'd like it to be me who does it.

Any advice would be appreciated.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Go to [a href=\"http://www.r-tt.com/]http://www.r-tt.com/[/url] and look specifically at "R-Studio." I have found this program to be invaluable when bad (non-mechanical) things happen to good hard drives.

Ron
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2007, 09:56:33 AM »
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Go to http://www.r-tt.com/ and look specifically at "R-Studio." I have found this program to be invaluable when bad (non-mechanical) things happen to good hard drives.

Ron
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97161\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Thanks,
I'm downloading the demo version of R-Studio right now. I wrote in my original post 1.4Gb of data lost. In fact it's 140GB of RAW files that I can't access. It's the time lost in organising those images that makes me angry. The images were taken from DVDs I recorded in the field, day by day. I'd organised all images of 'sunrise at Angkor Wat' (for example) into one folder, and all images of Apsara bas reliefs into another folder and so on.

What amazes me is that I've never lost any images recorded (properly) to CD and DVD over a 10 year period, yet after just 3 or 4 weeks of duplicating images on an external hard drive, I've (maybe) lost 140GB.
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John Sheehy
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2007, 10:09:16 AM »
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But I can't find the drive in 'my computer', in 'windows explorer', or in Bridge.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97011\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What about the disk manager?  Maybe it just needs a drive letter, but somehow wound up without one?

What about disabling the device in Device Manager, and then re-enabling it?

I've had external drives disappear temporarily, only to come back again.

I'd try stuff like this before running any kind of rescue utility.
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2007, 11:04:12 AM »
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What about the disk manager?  Maybe it just needs a drive letter, but somehow wound up without one?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97171\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,
The drive is included in Device Manager and appears in Disk Management as an unallocated disk that has not been initialized. Inititializing the disk will apparently result in the loss of all data. The R-Studio data recovery program also recognises the disk, but doesn't recognise the sectors. A scan of the disk results in a series of 'fails' at each position.

Did I say it was a 300GB drive? It's a 500GB, or more precisely 465.8GB.

The question is, if I initialize the hard drive, which might result in my being able to use the drive again (although I'm not sure I even want to if this sort of thing can happen) is there then any possibility of recovering the data with a program like R-Studio?
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John.Murray
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2007, 01:57:40 PM »
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Hi Ray!  You mentioned you've had this drive attached to several systems:

What system was the drive originally "stuffed" on?  What O/S is it running?  Do you know what filesystem is on the drive?  Fat32 / NTFS / Other?

Regards - John
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feppe
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 05:21:37 PM »
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Did I say it was a 300GB drive? It's a 500GB, or more precisely 465.8GB.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That reminded me: have you enabled large disk support or 48-bit LBA in your BIOS?

More info (scroll down to 2. - Windows can only see 137GB of my 250GB IDE hard drive):
[a href=\"http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/HDDProblems.htm#common]http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/HDDProblems.htm#common[/url]
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Box Brownie
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 05:32:26 PM »
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Just a thought?

Spinrite has a good 'press' here is the site http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

HTH
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A collection of mine here http://500px.com/engramphotography
Ray
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 05:44:44 PM »
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Hi Ray! You mentioned you've had this drive attached to several systems:

What system was the drive originally "stuffed" on? What O/S is it running? Do you know what filesystem is on the drive? Fat32 / NTFS / Other?

Regards - John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97202\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi! John,
The drive came preformatted with the NTFS system and was plug & play for Windows 2000/XP. I'd used it in a couple of different locations and computers without any trouble until just recently. I was initially very impressed with it's ease of use. It can sit vertically on the desk top, takes up little space and is easily transportable. The only disadvantage I saw was the fact that the drive does not automatically switch off with the computer since it has its own power source. There has been more than one occasion when I forgot to switch the drive off, after turning the computer off, and have left the drive running all night. But that shouldn't harm it. Hard drives are designed to run all day or all night, aren't they.

The only thing I can think of that might have been the cause of this corruption of some necessary file (whatever file that is), is a removal of the drive from the system by inadvertantly pulling its power cord out. There's an icon at the bottom of my screen for 'safely removing hardware'. I presume there's some hazard if this facility is not used before removing a drive from a running system.  I should add, however, there was no immediate problem after this occurrence. It was sometime later the disintegration began, first with Bridge refusing to respond, then with the drive not appearing in Windows Explorer, then briefly appearing with great difficulty after rebooting the computer several times, but not allowing me to copy the folders, then a warning message that Microsoft could not copy file M$/** whatever (I should have written it down but I was panicking   ), and then finally no directory or folders.

I have another of these 500GB LaCie BigDisks holding about 400GB of data. The data is also on DVD, but once again, it's the time spent oranizing the images that would be lost if something eventually happens to this drive.

The drive was originally stuffed on my XP64 edition OS.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 05:58:25 PM by Ray » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 06:08:26 PM »
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That reminded me: have you enabled large disk support or 48-bit LBA in your BIOS?

More info (scroll down to 2. - Windows can only see 137GB of my 250GB IDE hard drive):
http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/HDDProblems.htm#common
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97233\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I must have because I've been using 2x200GB internal drives initially installed when this XP64 bit system was new and I've been using the LaCie 500GB BigDisk for several days without problem.
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John.Murray
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2007, 06:42:05 PM »
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Thanks for the info Ray!  Let me do a bit of checking - you should be able to recover the drive, assuming we're not dealing with a physical problem.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn.../c28621675.mspx

You *should* use the remove hardware applet, especially for block (storage) devices.  NTFS is a true journalled filesystem - so an interrupted write should not corrupt the filesystem, using the remove hardware ensures that all pending writes have been performed . .

take care - John
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 08:28:07 PM by Joh.Murray » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2007, 06:52:11 PM »
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Let me do a bit of checking - you should be able to recover the drive, assuming we're not dealing with a physical problem.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97244\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks. In the meantime I should not attempt to initialize the drive, right?
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John.Murray
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2007, 08:52:51 PM »
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Ray:  I seemingly simple question, that I have yet to find an answer for  

My gut tells me, yes it *is* destructive - but Microsoft's terminology is often at odd's with others.  

Try this:

Open a  command prompt:  Start Button | Run | type "cmd"  (without the quotes)

In the "dos box" type  "diskpart" (again without the quotes).  In the following, I'm putting my CF card "online".  In your case use whatever disk # corresponds to your situation . . .

[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\']Microsoft DiskPart version 6.0.6000
Copyright 1999-2007 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: OFFICE

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       202 GB   835 KB
  Disk 1    Online       977 MB      0 B
  Disk 2    No Media        0 B      0 B
  Disk 3    No Media        0 B      0 B

DISKPART> select disk 1

Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> online

DiskPart successfully onlined the selected disk's pack.

DISKPART>exit[/span]

close the windows, then re-open disk management (Start | Run | "diskmgmt.msc").  Let us know what you see . . .
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 08:58:59 PM by Joh.Murray » Logged

K.C.
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2007, 08:53:18 PM »
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Those LaCie things are really consumer devices. At least get the proper hardware.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Or better yet learn who makes the hardware.

LaCie does NOT make hard drives. Inside of a LaCie enclosure you will find hard drives from the various manufacturers, IBM/Hitachi, WD or Seagate/Maxtor.

How these drives are connected doesn't matter when it comes to reliability. So advice on using a SATA card vs. USB or whatever is really a topic for another thread.
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2007, 09:54:56 PM »
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Ray:  I seemingly simple question, that I have yet to find an answer for   

My gut tells me, yes it *is* destructive - but Microsoft's terminology is often at odd's with others. 

Try this:

Open a  command prompt:  Start Button | Run | type "cmd"  (without the quotes)

In the "dos box" type  "diskpart" (again without the quotes).  In the following, I'm putting my CF card "online".  In your case use whatever disk # corresponds to your situation . . .

[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\']Microsoft DiskPart version 6.0.6000
Copyright 1999-2007 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: OFFICE

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       202 GB   835 KB
  Disk 1    Online       977 MB      0 B
  Disk 2    No Media        0 B      0 B
  Disk 3    No Media        0 B      0 B

DISKPART> select disk 1

Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> online

DiskPart successfully onlined the selected disk's pack.

DISKPART>exit[/span]

close the windows, then re-open disk management (Start | Run | "diskmgmt.msc").  Let us know what you see . . .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97248\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,
I also get a list of disks from 0 to 3 when I follow this procedure. However, the LaCie BigDisk is number 4, as shown under disk management, unknown and unallocated. It doesn't appear on this DOS page.

I've sent an email to LaCie technical support, mainly to ask them how this sort of thing could have happened. I'm reluctant to continue using external drives without identifying the cause of this apparent directory destruction. I mean, was it something I did?
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jjlphoto
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2007, 09:47:36 AM »
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Or better yet learn who makes the hardware.

LaCie does NOT make hard drives. Inside of a LaCie enclosure you will find hard drives from the various manufacturers, IBM/Hitachi, WD or Seagate/Maxtor.

How these drives are connected doesn't matter when it comes to reliability. So advice on using a SATA card vs. USB or whatever is really a topic for another thread.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97249\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Most LaCies use Maxtors, and Maxtor has had one of the worst ratings up until Seagate bought them. But with LaCie merely buying components from the cheapest vendor, it only goes to follow that the bridgeboard reliability needs to be considered as well. Their products are designed, assembled, and marketed to fit into the mass marketer realm of things. IOW, the look and color of the case and the cool looking knobs seems to take precendence over how it really works. My multi-bay tower is made out of stamped metal, not much design aesthetic, but it is only designed to house drives in a fan cooled enclosure. If I wanted to use ATA drives, then I can choose whatever vendors bridgeboard I want with regard soley to that vendors reliability.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 09:48:22 AM by jjlphoto » Logged

Thanks, John Luke

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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2007, 01:37:19 PM »
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Have you taken the drive out of the enclosure and tried to access it connected directly?  Sometimes the interface in the enclosure fails as well.
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2007, 02:22:56 PM »
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Have you taken the drive out of the enclosure and tried to access it connected directly?  Sometimes the interface in the enclosure fails as well.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97680\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


No, I haven't tried that. The drive is still under warranty. I've already started re-transferring the lost data, from the original DVDs and a pocket hard drive, to a cleared internal drive. Untill I try initializing the LaCie drive in 'disk management', I won't know if the hardware is faulty. I've been holding off doing this, waiting for a reply from LaCie Technical Support, hopefully with some helpfull suggestions.

The issue now for me is, if the drive initializes okay and is useable again, should I be using it without understanding what caused this corruption of the directory? Once bitten, twice shy.
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