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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Gah...external hard drive failed. Recovery?

Gah...external hard drive failed. Recovery?
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Posting Junkie
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Jan 14, 2014, 11:29 AM
I've been good about running Time Machine to keep my computer backed up to a local 3TB drive. I have a second 3TB drive (2 hfs+ partitions, 2.8TB + 200GB) for storage of weird stuff I don't use much...things like previous versions of old software, ISOs of CDs and DVDs I've long since tossed, gigs and gigs of GoPro footage from motorcycle trips, that sort of thing - stuff too big to store online. Except that drive failed on me. Disk Utility says it had issues and I need to reformat. I scanned it with Data Rescue 3 and it was able to locate my files but the demo version only allows previewing 10 files and recovering 1 file>10MB.

Before I shell out $100 for Data Rescue, DiskWarrior, or the like, is there anything else I can try to get my data back?

I was able to install and compile ddrescue, but the problem is that even though I only have about 1TB of data stored, the partition is 2.8TB (hfs+). I was able to ddrescue the partition to my 3TB Time Machine drive, but of course that image has "no mountable file systems" and the internet isn't sure what to do about that error - the only suggestion was to dd that image onto another drive, but I don't have any more 3TB drives available. I may have to try doing a ddrescue from the dead drive directly onto the Time Machine drive.

Is there anything else I can try before the proper solution of shelling out $$$ for the necessary software? I have access to OS X, Ubuntu, and Windows 7 boxes. Ubuntu was able to read the "good" 400GB partition but failed to mount the 2.8TB bad partition.
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
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Jan 14, 2014, 03:06 PM
Read the thread title and composed a post wherein I tell you to shell out $100 for Spinrite.
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Jan 14, 2014, 03:17 PM
If you want to mail me the shit, I'll run it for you.

100% serious.
Managing Editor
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Jan 14, 2014, 04:25 PM
Also, if you want to shuck the drive out and try another enclosure before the mailing, its worth a shot.
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
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Jan 14, 2014, 06:56 PM
The only software that has worked for me is DataRescue. Moreover, Data Rescue is the only piece of software which won't make it worse, because it will only read from the damaged drive.

Essentially, you have to ask yourself: is your data worth $100? In my case, back then, the answer was a resounding »Yes!«
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
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Jan 14, 2014, 11:32 PM
It sounds like you are sacrificing your Time Machine backup volume to recover the archival 3 TB drive. So if your main drive happened to fail around now, you might be left with no data at all. Main, backup, and archive all gone.

Pick up something bigger, like a 4 TB drive, and copy your Time Machine archive over - if you haven't overwritten/reformatted it yet. Then I'd suggest Data Rescue and recover to the other 3TB drive. Once it no longer is your backup.

In future, I'd suggest backing up all data you aren't willing to lose. Drives (even SSD) eventually fail. And it's never at a convenient time.
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Jan 15, 2014, 12:16 PM
Time for me to do another CrashPlan ad...

I think it's like $60/year unlimited. Network drives too.

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