hard drive woes

I got caught with my pants down...
I got a hard drive that's giving error readings trying to read data off it. The data has a fair amount of value, but it can be replaced for a few (maybe
several if my time is worth anything) hundred dollars.
Any fairly inexpensive data recovery utility that's worth a try?
Karl
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wrote:

I can't help with the utility, but I think I have a good simple backup plan. Both PCs have only the Operating System and programs that didn't have an install path option on C:, all data and most programs are on large external USB drives. I back up the external drive by moving the USB plug to the other PC and copying all the recently changed root- directory folders into \Backup\[date]\ folders. It takes a while but runs unattended. I didn't buy two new PCs for this, just re-purposed the older one when I upgraded.
A USB adapter cable that will operate a bare drive can be very useful.
Jim Wilkins
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Norton Ghost can mirror a hard drive pretty well, but its gonna be hit and miss if the drive is damaged.

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Ghost 2003 failed and reported Disk Error when I tried it on the drive from a Dell laptop that smoked. Windows can copy it without reporting a problem (which doesn't mean there isn't one).
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

I had a drive that one morning complained of problems reading the drive, turned out to be outlook.pst file, the systems was giving CRC errors on that file but the Windows file system checking showed no errors even with a full surface scan. I eventually wrote a small prog to read the data and ignored the bad sector reads and filled them in with crap, then ran the outlook recovery program and it identified 1 bad email record, which was of no consequence in the end, so the data was to all intents restored. Not so confident with the Windows file system checking after that.
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Karl Townsend wrote:

There a a buncha companies which recover data from screwed up hard drives:
http://tinyurl.com/c5qc5h
But I hear they don't do their thing very inexpensively.
I backup critical data "offsite" simply by uploading it to the scads of storage space which comes with my Comcast account. That way gives me protection in the unlikely case of fire or flood where my computer is located.
I've been using WS_FTP LE to move those files to and from my Comcast storage space. It has an easy to use "Windows Explorer" style interface and is still available free at places like:
http://freeware.intrastar.net/ftp.htm
Jeff
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On Sat, 18 Apr 2009 11:23:16 -0500, "Karl Townsend"
You never had them on in the first place, did you? ;-)

I once had great success with GetDataBack (http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm ). At USD79, it may not qualify as inexpensive, but if I remember correctly, they let you download a free test version that will tell you which files are recoverable, but not actually recover them.
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Thanks, just what I was looking for. First, I'd better buy two more 1.5 Tbyte drives.
Karl
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Karl, you really need offsite backup for the most important stuff.
i
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wrote:

He needs a Raid 5 system for that much data storage. That plus a backup will have him never losing data..
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Calif Bill wrote:

Second on both.
For offsite I have two of the little pocket HDs and a designated staging area on one of my machines with a big disk. I push zipped and encrypted files to the local staging area periodically during the weeks / month. When the staging area (Vault0) is updated enough I get the pocket HD I keep in the gun safe and update it from Vault0. Then I take this updated HD to the bank and it goes into my safe deposit box and the other pocket HD from there comes back home, gets updated and then put in the gun safe. Pretty cheap, not overly complex and covers most contingencies. I may eventually go to remote mirroring to another site (1,700 miles away) if I have the time and money to set it up.
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You can have any sort of raid and still lose data. There are many scenarios why one could lose data, examples:
1) Disk failure 2) House fire 3) Accidental deletion
Raid does not protect against possibilities 2 and 3. Only versioned offsite backup does.
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Ignoramus10355 wrote:

RAID will also happily protect corrupted data, so if the system pukes and corrupts stuff RAID won't help.
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This can be very insiduous, as you may not realize that your data is corrupted, for a while.
i
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wrote:

But neither of these items, 2&3, are disk failures. And you have to be careful with backups. I worked my way through Engineering school as a main frame computer FE. Customer had a disk read error, so operator moved platters to another unit. No read there, and so got out backup disk, installed in on the same drive. Did not read, so moved to another drive. After getting out the oldest backup and not being able to read it, called for help. When he was done, there were no valid backups, and 56 drive heads were bad. We did not have enough spares in the San Francisco Bay area to get up all the drives. So brought up what we could and flew in more heads. Operator was looking for a new job. These were removable disk platter, 256 Mbytes drives. The drive makers should, but do not, provide disk scan software to recertify the drives, and put any bad sectors in to the drive user defect table.
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    [ ... ]

    Yes -- a *frequent* backup. Raid 5 is good for avoiding corruption of data from a failing drive (I'm using Sun's zfs software RAID with "raidz2" level protection.)
    But -- if you get hit by a virus, or someone breaks in through a security hole, they can corrupt or delete the files and as far as the RAID system is concerned, they are perfect -- they are the version of the file last written to disk. Just because they don't contain what you expect them to contain does not mean that the RAID system failed -- just your anti-virus and other security items.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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I've been using CrashPlan. It looks good so far...
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I use rdiff-backup, personally.
i
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Put it in the freezer for a few hours, pull off data, repeat.
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Why does freezing work? Do you run into problems with condensation on the cold drive?
RWL
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