When, oh when, will I learn to take proper backups?

This content is 16 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Apparently (according to my wife), I’ve been a bit stressy today. Justifiably, I’d say: I have an exam tomorrow that I haven’t finished preparing for; one or both of my kids has woken me up at least once a night (or early in the morning) since I-can’t-remember-when; and this morning I walked into the office to see that the nice blue light on my external hard disk (the one with my digital photos and my iTunes library) was red.

The disk was still spinning and the Mac that it was attached to still appeared to have a volume called “External HD” but any application that attempted to access the volume locked up. So I shut down the computer, switched off the external hard disk, turned it all back on again and… saw the familiar blue light appear but without any sign of the disk spinning up. Arghhh!

Toshiba PX1223E-1G32 320GB External Hard DiskThis was the second time this had happened to me with this model of external hard disk. “Bloody Western Digital disks”, I thought… but I didn’t have time to investigate further – I had three practice exams to do today, a conference call about the Windows Server 2008 launch and the usually deluge of e-mail to process – so, I turned the disk enclosure off again and left it until, once the kids were in bed, I took the disk out of the enclosure and put it into another PC.

Imagine my relief when it spun up – and, after installing MacDrive on the PC (the disk is formatted with HFS+) and rebooting, I could see my data. Woohoo!

I’m currently in the process of copying all of the data to the only volume I have left with enough free space. Unfortunately the machine I’m using for recovery only has a 100Mbps NIC and seeing as Windows Server 2008 says I’m getting 10.5MB/sec (i.e. around 84Mbps) then I think the network’s doing pretty well but the process of copying almost 300GB of data will take most of the night. Then, once everything is safely recovered, I’ll run some diagnostics on the disk and work out whether it’s the disk or the enclosure that gone belly-up. In the meantime, I’m withdrawing my earlier recommendations for the Toshiba PX1223E-1G32 (320GB 7200 RPM external USB 2.0 hard drive with 8MB data buffer).

Does anybody know where I can get an iSCSI storage device with decent RAID capabilities for not too much cash?

2 thoughts on “When, oh when, will I learn to take proper backups?

  1. In the last two days, I’ve lost a 250GB Western Digital hard drive, AND an 8GB flash stick that was holding all of my work documents… I sincerely feel your pain!

  2. Hi Kevin – thanks for the empathy – it looks as though I got all of my data back as (the drive has been fine since I took it out of the enclosure and moved it to another PC) – hope you manage to recover yours too. Mark

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