Dealt with a “backup” problem today.

SpinRite 6 is really worth the moneyI’d like to say it was a backup problem, but see if you can spot the flaw in the customer’s “I make backups” argument, which I’ve condensed down to the essential points of what happened.

  1. I copy “My Documents” to my external hard drive.
  2. To free up space of my computer, I delete files off my computer, including “My Documents”.
  3. I’m getting some disk errors on my external drive.

The sharp-eyed amongst you, or those who have read “Backups with the 3-2-1 rule”, will have realised that at point 2, the customer no longer had a backup.  They now had an original. To explain it in simple words, the only copy they now had was sitting on the external drive, which had faults on it.  I was able to fix the external drive with SpinRite.  And I left the customer much better educated about backups.

If you only have ONE of something, it’s not backed up.

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“… concerned about the heating of external drives …”

“I’m concerned about the heating of external drives because many of these little enclosures provide no active air flow across the drive.”, opines Steve Gibson.

And in the field of hard disk maintenance, he would have to be the expert.  SpinRite is the result of his knowledge in the field.

freeagent_goMy Seagate FreeAgent Classic drive is an example of this heating issue.

The case was getting far too hot for my comfort, so I drilled holes in it.

But I haven’t done this for my other two external drives, as they run cooler.

“Why do they?”, you ask.

Two likely reasons:

  1. The drives turn themselves off when not being used.  This is known as an Idle Sleep.  All three of my external drives do that.
  2. I suspect the drives have heat detection built-in, and they slow themselves down as they get hotter.
    This would explain why my WD Passport drive slows down during heavy prolonged use.

2. isn’t so bad. But 1., the drive shutting itself down, can play havoc with instant-on applications.  Such as satellite TV recording.  The work-around is to find drives which don’t shutdown, such as the LaCie range of external drives.

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“Don’t drop it on the floor.”

On Friday, I blogged about opening the Seagate FreeAgent external drive.

The reason I had to open the drive up, was that I dropped it on the floor, and it had been behaving strangely since.
Not “broken”, just slow.  That might indicate some drive damage.

So, there is only one thing to do in a case like this, and that is SpinRite.

SpinRite is the industry standard system for hard and floppy disk care, maintenance, and data recovery.  SpinRite utilizes deep analysis technology to recover loss and unreadable data to locate and lock unsafe areas from use, to move endangered data to safety, and to repair areas of the drive which have become damaged or bad through use.  SpinRite should be reused periodically to aid in the prevention of hard disk loss.

I’ve been using SpinRite to repair hard drives, since before the Internet.

Now if you take your faulty hard drive to a good PC repair shop, they’ll use SpinRite.  So $89US is cheap, compared to a PC shop doing the same thing, and charging you hundreds of dollars.

When SpinRite is running, it looks like this:
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