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Old 26th Mar 2012, 10:30 PM   #1
Jedi2016
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Default Computer fragility

So I came home today to find that one of my hard drives has failed, in apparently spectacular fashion. Near as I can tell, it's not even spinning up. I'm going to take it into the office tomorrow, but I don't have high hopes.

The good news is, this was my secondary storage drive, and contained a lot of crap that I really don't feel that bad about losing. Sort of a "Hm.. that sucks. Oh, well."

The scary part is that it could have been my primary storage drive. Which has everything, including all of my LW content. The two drives were bought and installed together, so really it was fifty/fifty as to which one would fail first. I do have most of my non-replaceable content backed up on disc, but not all of it, especially the more recent stuff.

It's odd how I have this sense of my computer being exceptionally fragile right now, and I'm wary to do much of anything with it, even though it's probably perfectly fine to game and render and stream all night long.

I have another drive on the way already, but it's not going as an extra storage drive this time.. it will become a redundant copy of my primary data drive through a mirrored RAID setup. So I'm losing some storage space, but gaining some peace of mind. And if I find myself in need of more space later, I'll just up the size of both drives.

Just a reminder to back up your stuff! I didn't lose anything important, but I could have, and my day would have been a lot worse.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 05:15 AM   #2
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My primary hard drive failed last September and my computer didn't even see the hard drive existing on the system in any shape or form. I was in the middle of an edit and the deadline for producing the video was only a couple of days away but I was lucky as the problem was actually that the cable connecting the drive to the motherboard came a little loose and I got it up and running a few hours later. (It didn't occur to me that a loose cable might have been the problem till much later at night.) It did however take me a couple of weeks to realise that the computer was fine and that it wouldn't break if I booted it up so I do know what you mean about the fragility. You pour a huge amount of your life into your PC/Mac and you don't want to lose that time for any reason. I agree with you on backing up your HD and then back that up as well. Better that than the sick feeling you get in your gut when the computer doesn't boot up.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 06:51 AM   #3
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I've been really lucky - had so many very narrow escapes where I was only just able to get the data off of an overheating noisy hard drive, just before it became 100% unusable.

These days I am multi layered, with all media and key files copied off twice to large detachable USB drives, which I do not keep plugged in.

Last year I got myself a heavy duty fault tolerant Drobo box, with 5 x 2Tb drives in it. This after a scary bit of bad timing where I cleared down on large USB drive for a new backup, and the other started to fail while I was copying from it!

I'm using Acronis backup, which I find very easy and powerfui.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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Always best to invest in a proper backup system. My drives are backed up to a 4x 2TB RAID 6 file server every night.

I'm not paranoid, honest.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 10:47 AM   #5
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'm not paranoid, honest.
You should be - Murphy's Law trumps Moore's Law every time in my experience...
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Lightbulb

One of the drives on my RAID just died. I'm going to try to get another drive as soon as I can, but money is tight.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 12:30 PM   #7
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Hard drives (traditional ones anyway) are mechanical devices. So they are 100% guaranteed to fail at some point in time. So if the data is in any way important, build in redundancy
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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I fear data loss too, and I'm sorry you're going through it. :/

I recently put one of my old computers into service as a server. All my data is stored on it. I have two external drives that, by the end of this week, will be automatically backing up the server drive. Additionally, I'm using TruCrypt on all the drives. If the machine is stolen (or the drive has to be sent in for repair) I don't have to worry about NDA's being violated because it's all encrypted. In the event of a fire or tsunami or something I can grab one of the external drives and bolt.
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Old 13th Apr 2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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Oh that sucks, only happened to me once. But it was my main harddrive and I did not have any backup

What about using USB thumb drives for backup? Are they safer?
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Old 13th Apr 2012, 01:59 PM   #10
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I couldn't tell you, but I bought a buncha 16 gig sticks for like $15 each. Very tiny, too. I have one permanently stationed in my laptop for quick emergency backups.
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Old 13th Apr 2012, 02:17 PM   #11
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1st of April is backup day, don't want to be a fool. I've got data that can be lost if a drive dies, important losses if ALL drives die in one machine, but some data is copied in multiple places and multiple ways (SD, USB, HDD).

I still need a more robust solution though. I need a NAS with a good RAID setup really. I'm waiting for the cost of HDD to drop this year before getting one.
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Old 13th Apr 2012, 08:22 PM   #12
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I have 2 x 1tb drives in my computer as system and data. 2 x 1tb drives in the hot swap trays that are mirrors of them. Then an external 2 tb that acronis backs each drive up to twice a week. And I STILL backup critical/irreplaceable things to USB sticks.

Does it show that I've had a crash that took just about everything with it?
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Old 13th Apr 2012, 08:34 PM   #13
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I would hat to imagine what I would have to spend to back up my house. I think atm I am near 30tb of hdds. Best bet is to have all non root drives go into power down and sleep mode. YES it slows life down as you wait for it to spin up and access but it really extends the life span.
For me I guess I live on the ragged edge, I keep an eye on drive errors etc so when a drive starts this "attitude" I just move it to crap storage or cache. I also keep in mind to minimise all write rewrite to specific hdds and avoid this sort of activity on storage drives.

HDD are however more reliable than optical. I have piles of dead dvdrs and these are not the cheapo bootleg chinese/taiwanese dye things.

USB fobs are ok if you can keep track of them and what is on them. Things have become very cheap. Technically as they go bad they loose the write ability not the read. So something drastic like a electrical shock or extreme heat or cold would be the only ways to kill them. Id use them more often if they were not so slow. ( I do back all my painting work to USB keyfobs)
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 03:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillS View Post
I have 2 x 1tb drives in my computer as system and data. 2 x 1tb drives in the hot swap trays that are mirrors of them. Then an external 2 tb that acronis backs each drive up to twice a week. And I STILL backup critical/irreplaceable things to USB sticks.

Does it show that I've had a crash that took just about everything with it?
Either that or you have the rarest of virtues - Common Sense!
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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sims to be happening alot lately
hard drive failures

Ok

Every body do a hard drive S.M.A.R.T. test

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One thing I do love about DeFragger is it tells you how long your HDD has been running in hours. And it gives you lots of information on your HDD..

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Old 14th Apr 2012, 11:05 AM   #16
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I've got backups running now, so I feel better about not losing anything. If one of my storage drives fails now, it just means I'm without redundancy for a few days until the replacement arrives.

I do still want to make a "critical files" off-site backup, once I figure out what I want to put up there. That one will probably be mostly LW stuff, I can replace most of the rest.

Does anyone use one of those cloud-based backup services?
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 04:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillS View Post
Does it show that I've had a crash that took just about everything with it?
It shows you have money to spend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi2016 View Post
Does anyone use one of those cloud-based backup services?
Only for Xbox 360. Read up on it when Apple were going to use it for Lion.. didn't get a good impression from it really. But I seriously prefer physical storage devices, "Never trust a machine" - especially one that relies on an internet connection.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 04:49 PM   #18
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I use dropbox for a lot, but there's not a lot of storage there, but useful for the ultra critical stuff (a few GB). Scenes and objects could go there, no renders. Anyone got recommendations for NAS, drives and configurations for us to look into?

My plan is a quad bay NAS, 4X 2TB or 3TB drives, with one as the parity drive. OK as long as only 1 fails at a time which should be enough, as long as the HDD aren't bought together (to avoid serial number close matches apparently - statistical chance of failing at the same time)

Coupled with the idea that I'll retire all the old HDD when I migrate the data onto these (as I always do when getting a HDD) then I should be covered I guess.

Any more advice? I don't think I'll need more than 6TB or 9TB for a while. Still, this is an expensive bit of kit to get - 4XŁ80 plus the NAS itself - about Ł500 ish I'd say.
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