Keeping data safe? Hard drives keep failing!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by whit8725, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. whit8725 macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Hi there,

    I've managed to lose a succession of important data over the years through hard drive failures. I once lost 300 gigs of music because of a nasty Maxtor Hard drive. Recently I've managed to lose some work related data when my Seagate Barracuda hard drive failed.

    I'm getting pretty damn sick of this. Is there a sure fire method that will keep my data safe for an extended period of time? I'm tried burning cds and dvds, they also fail over time. Infact I have discs burnt way back in 2003 that no longer work.

    I understand that online storage places also just use regular hard drives? So whats stopping them failing and me losing data again?
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    There is nothing that is 100% fail-proof. In general, you should always have more then one copy, if you do that the chances of both failing at the same time don't seem very high, considering it's not just two partitions.
  3. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    You could use archival CD and DVD's
    the gold ones you burn at 1X
    i have a few over 10 years old and they are still solid.
    are supposed to be good for 100 years.

    Cloud Storage is also another possibility if you have a lot of data.
  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I use Time Machine with my iMac. I figure the chances of my the iMac's harddrive and the external harddrive going bad at the same time are pretty slim.
  5. whit8725 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. I've just googled up Archival CDs. There is one particular golden CD that caught my eye. 300 years guaranteed lifetime. They aren't exactly cheap but I think I shall have to invest in a few for my data.
  6. AppleMatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2003
    There's no point having everything backed up to CD when your house burns down - you'll lose the computer and the backups. Additionally, as you've discovered, writable CD's fail.

    Try; cheap, encrypted, can access your files from anywhere, plays very nicely with Macs. But the killer feature is that it's always on, always watching. The second you create a new document, import a photo from your camera etc it immediately backs it up. Invaluable, even if only for those times you accidentally delete something.

    They have massive redundancy; think of them like a Drobo. The data is mirrored across a number of drives which are monitored. When one fails, another takes over for it.

  7. lamina macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2006
    The only surefire way to backup your data is offline storage. Strangely, I've had the hard drive fail on every single Apple computer I've owned. That's a PowerBook, a MacBook, and an iMac.

    I keep triplicate backups, and when I go back to Canada each year, I make a backup there as well. So far one of my externals has died.
  8. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    First of all, just keep this in mind: Data that is only backed up in one place isn't backed up. All hard drives will fail. It's just a matter of when, not if. DVDs aren't an option, either. When CDs and DVDs first came onto the scene, there were promises they would last "decades", which has proven false.

    Truthfully, you need multiple backups, and one of the backups needs to be offsite. This can either be through one of the online services like Carbonite, Mozy, etc, or something as simple as an external HD that you take to the office, friend/relatives house, etc. Keep one external HD at home, and take another offsite.

    As for the online services: I have one word for you: SAN, or Storage Area Network. This is different from a NAS, which is just some hard drives on a network. A SAN is designed for redundancy. At one job where I was a SAN administrator, we had 4 shelves of 14 hard drives, which was mirrored to an identical array. All of that was then backed up to a different SAN. We then backed THAT up to tapes, which were taken off-site. We once lost 3 hard drives in one day, and our users never noticed a thing. That is what a good backup service should be doing.
  9. Bobdude161 macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2006
    N'Albany, Indiana
    You can do three of these things at the same time for some good data redundancy

    -RAID 1 - for quick complete recovery when one hard drive fails
    -Time Machine - when your RAID array screws up
    -Offsite - could be that you have another external hard drive and you keep it at your friend's house when you're not backing up or using an online backup service or you can do both!
  10. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    1. Backblaze
    2. Netgear ReadyNAS Pro

    Any questions?
  11. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Yeah, the ReadyNAS is really good. I've never tried Backblaze, though.

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