Backup Drive Failure

Discussion in 'iMac' started by beebarb, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. beebarb macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2015
    I am suddenly in a bit of a panic situation.
    My backup drive, the disk meant to keep my data safe, is failing.

    Files I still have on my main disk, as well as a few files that only exist on the external disk due to a need to manage things like a bloated iTunes library, are now corrupted or just zeroed out.

    I am in a rush to get everything that's still intact, onto the main disk, and then on to DVDs if possible.
    I'll literally have no real backup until I can replace the disk.

    This happening so close to the official launch date of El Capitan worries me, because I was hoping to have important files duplicated on the backup disk before I upgraded.

    How screwed am I?
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Go to the nearest electronics shop and buy another one, back up as much data as you can from the external you have and then try doing a disk repair to get the rest back on the original before copying as much as you can retrieve.

    Or you could just take it to a professional and ask them to get back everything and pay the price, if it's still sort of working they'll probably get it all for couple of hundred bucks.
  3. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    I have an external TimeMachine and every so often it comes back saying that it failed. What I would recommend is that you start another backup but don't walk away from the mac, rather keep it from falling asleep and let the backup fully finish.

    The warning message is really deceiving as it doens't really tell you what or where it failed. it will give you that message if the mac falls into sleep at the wrong time and locks out a non critical system file. All your data is fine but you get the message anyways.
  4. Buerkletucson macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2015
    I agree, purchase another drive ASAP and get your data on it....

    I would think this would be a good reason to use a RAID1 drive for backups........
    A drive fails and you still have another mirror-image duplicate drive to get your data.
  5. beebarb thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2015
    I have never used Time Machine, as I don't trust automation to backup what I know to be important.
    I do what I have always done since I got a CD burner on my old Windows 95 PC (kept working until Early 2006 when I got my first mac).

    I make manual backups. I know what's important, and what's not to me, automation doesn't.
    This is a case of the early signs of drive failure.

    I'm getting I/O errors, the drive occasionally won't be recognised as readable, and OS X will sometimes prompt me whether I want to format it (obviously I say no).
  6. beebarb thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2015
    I appreciate the advice, but I don't know if I can even afford to get a RAID1 setup.
  7. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    I have worked in the IT field for too many years to want to admit. There are several truths that I have found over the years.

    1. Most people don't backup their files regularly enough to protect themselves from data loss. It generally doesn't become a habit until they have lost critical data 2-3 times. You don't know what is critical until you lost it.

    2. Loosing data is not just from hardware failure. More often than not it's stupid user mistakes like deleting the files without realizing it, or overwriting something that is needed and not knowing until it's too late. A single backup just doesn't cut it.

    3. It is not a question of if my hard drive will fail, but when my hard drive is going to fail. Quite often you get what you paid for, and inexpensive drives are just that. If you ever wonder why enterprise class drives are generally 2x the cost of consumer. it's not supply/demand/volume, enterprise companies buy far more drives than consumers do.. it's totally build quality and reliability in extreem conditions.

    4. Along the enterprise line of working, most consumers try to get every last ounce of time out of their hardware then are surprised when it conks out on them. They don't seem to get it can be far cheeper to replace before it breaks rather than having to replace NOW after it has functionally failed.

    5. Most people have no clue to the value of their data integrity. How much would you loose if your drive failed with all the photo's you have? Think not only the loss if you didn't back up, but the time effort involved with restoring everything from backups if you have them (and most things don't end up on a single backup).
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    My suggestions:

    Buy another external drive, or...
    ... put one together yourself using an HDD of your choice and an enclosure of your choice

    Or... pick up a USB3/SATA docking station and one or two "bare drives".

    Then use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a bootable backup clone of your "main" (internal) drive.

    If you have a second backup drive, create a second backup clone and store it in a different building than the computer is in. If you don't have anywhere else, store it in a small fireproof box in the basement.

    Now you have two backups which you can "rotate" for "freshness"...
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well automated back ups have been very good for at least 10 years they pretty much back up everything so it's difficult to lose anything, but hey do yours however you wish thats always your choice.

    Get what you can off of it and try to do a disk repair using disk utility this may get the rest of what you want. Then throw it away and replace it.

    If stuff is missing that you can't access it may be that at the only course you have is professional retrieval (it's not cheap).
  10. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    There are some fantastic parts to TimeMachine that make it worth while. I don't know how you use your iMac. I have a 512gb SSD that I have used about 20% of. The time machine is running on a RAID1 NAS with 3tb drives. TimeMachine does make a full backup (but really only the files that have changed). So for the 9 months I have had this iMac, I have used up about 450gb of drive space in backups. But I can go back in time to any of the files as I have modified so if I changed something on a file a month ago, there is a backup copy sitting there of the original, and every version change since. That is priceless.

    But as I have said in prior posts.. I have long since realized the cost and value of all of my data. So I go out of my way to protect it and am more than willing to pay what it takes to keep it good. CD/DVD/Bluray recordable media is a good start but the backup is very finite as the media recorded to doesn't last all that long. Have you ever tried reading a DVD+/-r that is 3 years old? you will be surprised how little is actually readable.

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