When you life depends on a HDD being detected

My whole life crashed on me again.

No, my wife is safe and she’s still enjoying her weekend at Batu Pahat, and I still have a job and aspirations and family and stuff.

It’s only, the single piece of fragile hardware that I depend for almost everything in my life has given way. I have no one to blame, it’s my indecisive actions that led to this.

My 2nd hard disk drive failed to be start :'(

All my life’s work, my identity, my collections, etc. in it, now awaits the rescue of either the supernatural, or data recoverers. I’m still hoping the former will happen before I picked up the phone.

All because of my “excellent” choice of Seagate Barracuda, not 1 but 2 _exactly_ similar models with _exactly_ the same firmware problem.

The only good news in all these was that, while rummaging through the pile of hardware receipts I learned that I bought the drive on 13 September 08, and it comes with 5 year warranty, which buys me 1 more year in case I really need to activate the warranty.

But warranties doesn’t give data.

It was already setup the smart way – RAID and all. 2 500GB disk storing 500GB of data.

Last year this happened, and by some weird luck, after replacing the power component and randomly pushing cables in and out of slots, I managed to get ONE of the disk to boot.

That must have been the greatest hint that I need to get everything out and move to a new set of RAID. I half heartedly started searching for a NAS, but the search didn’t get anywhere, and I forgotten about it after a while.

Night after night I simply clicked away the warning that my RAID broke.

I even knew the problem about this 7200.11 HDD bricking itself by locking itself up. And I even found the firmware upgrade I needed to do to the disk to prevent this from happening. What more, the last tragedy gave me a chance to fix the surviving disk.

And I passed it up!

How many other things in my life needs fixing, and generating huge amounts of warnings, and yet I’m sitting on it, to one day watch it blow at my face?

A lonely night to reflect. I hope you can reflect as well, if not, at least do a backup. My idiotic backups are done on the same disk different partitions (so smart for a CS grad from the greatest schools in the universe) because it was convenient.

How many other things in my life is going to break without recourse because of some unwarranted laziness on my part?

Especially I have 2 other laptops sitting around, and a paid hosting space with vast amount of unused online space!

Maybe that’s how wake up calls are given. The hard way. Maybe my life really needs fixing.

What do I need to give for the PC to work again when the sun rises tomorrow? A call to the experts.

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5 Responses

  1. I know how that feels. Mine is “dying” as well. Any recommendation for a reliable but affordable model?

  2. Story so far:

    – Messaged a few nice people who can fix the firmware, but didn’t feel secure. Nice to know that there are people who don’t mind doing this, for a fee of course.

    – Messaged AceCom which is my “warranty supplier” or RMA (the disk has 5 years warranty – love it) and they are happy to take back to replace, but charges a lot more for “data recovery”, which isn’t what I need.

    – Messaged Seagate. Apart from being slow (well takes 2 days to reply most of the time), I’m actually quite happy that after all these years they still continue to provide the much talked about free pickup and firmware upgrade.

    So I guess the logical steps now are:
    1. Seagate tries to upgrade firmware first.
    2. If Seagate fails, send to no-brand SMEs to try their capability (hopefully without voiding any warranty…)
    3. If everyone fails, see if warranty is still intact and send to AceCom.

    Really hope that Seagate can solve the issue with some “backdoor” firmware installation capability.

  3. I live day to day expecting the worst that could happen to my data.

    Backing up has been my main concerns over the years as my data accumulates. I am surprised that Singtel offer the service you mentioned to me yesterday but not popularised to common level.


    Why is Singtel only targetting only business application for a SGD5.90 per mth service? It could have been for everyone. Most photographers (even amateur) would welcome this service as great backup service.

    And why aren’t you using it? Staff benefits?

    I am using BackBlaze (http://www.backblaze.com) after reading an recommendation article from a US photographer. I did some comparisons.

    Pricing wise, the one I am using is still cheaper, USD3.96 per mth (for 2 years contract) vs Singtel’s SGD5.90 per mth (for minimum how long?)

    Important point though, Singtel doesn’t backup removable media like external hard drives. That’s a big turn off, since most people tend to store important files separately on external HD in terms of terabytes these day.

    BackBlaze backs up everything except Network drive (NAS). It works for me though. Primary data on external harddisk, secondary backup on NAS (sync through software time to time) and tertiary offsite cloud storage)

    Not trying to rub salt to wound, but I contemplated RAID as backup measure against HD failure, but I was warned by Yew Nam against the thing that has happened to you exactly.

    Anyway good luck and wish you a speedy recovery.

  4. Ah thanks for the blackblaze link 🙂 and paiseh i got my prices wrong 😀

    For SingTel, there are consumer versions, although you’re right that the SOHO market has traditionally been hard to reach / ignored, due to the heritage of selling business apps as business apps, and consumer apps as consumer apps.

    The consumer version is Store & Share (got size limit though). Sign up broadband and you already got 10GB.


    Cost a buck a month I think. Don’t have the time now, but I will look at what blackblaze have and compare it with store and share first, before comparing it to anything SME (because that brings you to the realm of business broadband, business mobile, which many SOHOs don’t really “get”.

    And more importantly, need to test out this whole concept of recovery with USB/HDD. Sounds really cool but logistically it’s quite mah fan. But if the market likes the idea why not 🙂

    Why no external media? Like everything here, it goes with the biz case lor… some poor manager like me would have went through his cost table, and decided that it’s not worth it.

    And to your question of:
    – why i’m not using? lazy. I didn’t even find time to shop for NAS…
    – why raid etc. actually yew nam set up my raid for me hahahaaa (now you see how lazy i am)
    – contract term – follow your broadband contract usually, otherwise should usually have 1, 2 years type.

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