Friday, December 20, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

IMGP2662I like the queen song but not when it applies to my external hard drives. My third Western Digital drive in a row has failed. Apple’s ITunes is definitely not to blame this time. Although there was some audio and video clips on the drive when it failed. It died in a very similar fashion to the other Western Digital drives, it got slower and slower, and slower but this time it failed completely before I could find space and retrieve its contents. Reports of this painful slowness of Western Digital drives seems to be very common among the various user forums on the net and even the Western Digital's own user support (where it remains unanswered!).

A Hard Lesson

I was not using the drive for any specific archives, so lost files can in theory be recovered. I was using the drive as a large scratch working area and convenient transfer place between computers, so many files passed through it.Specifically I held a lot of videos in various stages of editing and review on this scratch drive. I was mirroring this to my Netgear Stora (NAS style network disks) and had assumed that this would ensure a decent backup of the drive. I had not realised what might happen to the “mirror” as the disk began to slowly die. It seems that the mirroring was timing out while looking at files and must have assumed that the files had been deleted, so they where also deleted from my mirror. Some older directories were ok but anything I had recently worked on, just had the skeleton of empty folders on the “mirror” backup. In other words it was a copy of the apparently almost dead disk, not my actual files on the disk. So there is a hard lesson here, mirror” disks are a convenient form of automated backup but they should not be relied on.

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