perfect storm of lost data, need advice

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by brobson, May 3, 2019.

  1. brobson, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019

    brobson macrumors 6502

    brobson

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #1
    If I weren’t in shock I’d probably cry. I have learned to have three backups for my teaching files. I unfortunately lost two backup drives within two days of each other and had temporally removed the important ones I had on a laptop as my 3rd storage. (Last month, I removed the laptop files to make room for iPad files so I could load movies for a long overseas flight)

    So two days ago my Seagate T5 got very hot and now does not show up on either Mac with different USB cords. It has an extremely dim light and the regular whirring noise if very faint.
    I went to my old Hitachi T3 and found my most crucial files are not there and it’s likely failing as well. It is having trouble showing up on either computer even with a new cord and different ISOs. The light blinks rapidly and the cord is very touchy. I tried to use Disk Utility but I get the message: "
    Disk Utility cannot repair Hitatchi Back up Drive. You can still open or copy files on the disk, but you can’t save changes to files on the disk. Back up the disk and reformat it as soon as you can".

    I must’ve had my most important teaching files on the laptop. I could recreate them if the T3 doesn’t die. I’ve followed these suggestions (except the freezer) and see that I need a professional service.
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/cataclysmic-external-hard-drive-fail.2165581/#post-27011638

    Does anyone recommend a particular service? I don’t like having my data looked at by others, like credit card info, but I cannot think of another way.

    I am off of Seagate for good. (I do have to carry my drive between home and school so I know that is probably rough on the cords, etc). But this has happened too many times. I am a teacher without a lot of money to pay for cloud storage and don’t really understand what iCloud will and will not store, like movies and music, so I need a recommendation there as well for a new brand and remote storage. Of course, that’s if 7 years of lesson plans are even recoverable. (I don’t even want to think about old family pictures)

    So in a nutshell: 1. who can recover my data professionally that is trustworthy (I live in Dallas but could send it off). 2. what’s the best external HD to purchase ASAP that I can transfer over data before the 2nd one crashes. 3. what remote data storage is recommended?
     
  2. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #2
  3. brobson thread starter macrumors 6502

    brobson

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #3
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #4
    Backblaze is very good (I use it) but consider paid Dropbox. I use the 1 TB version for $99/year.

    When you install it, it creates a folder on your Mac that's mirrored on Dropbox's servers.

    When you're working, you simply make sure you're using a folder within the Dropbox folder. You create those folders as needed, with Finder, exactly as you're used to doing.

    You don't have to do anything beyond setting it up and being connected to the internet.

    And although you don't say what kind of computer you have at work, if it's a Mac and it's secure enough for you, you can simply install Dropbox on that work computer. Then, your home Mac's Dropbox folder will be synched with your work Mac's Dropbox folder. This could mean that you won't have to carry drives back and forth.
     
  5. brobson thread starter macrumors 6502

    brobson

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #5
    I love dropbox, good idea. I was able to get the second drive working at work so I upped my cloud storage and am putting everything there for now. But my students use Dropbox with me so I may consider that. Is it better than cloud?
     
  6. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #6
    I prefer Dropbox because I find it much more intuitive. There's the folder on my Mac, there are the folders I've put in it, and I have no need whatsoever to distinguish between what I've got on Dropbox and what I have elsewhere on my Mac.

    For whatever reason, I've always found iCloud to be very hard to use, to issue what seem extremely obscure messages -- to me, the whole setup seem shaky. I hasten to say that I'm sure it doesn't seem that way to people who've been using it for a long time.

    Here's an example. My partner, without meaning to, put her Documents folder in iCloud. She didn't want it there any more, but when I went to remove it from iCloud and have it only on her Macbook, I got a warning that I simply could not understand. I've been heavily involved in computing since 1981, so I'm not a novice. But I couldn't work out what I was being told, meaning what the consequences would be.

    None that with Dropbox.

    Also with Dropbox I find the ability to pass along a link to something in Dropbox extremely convenient (and straightfoward). I often need to share with my clients what I'm working on for them, and with Dropbox that's trivially easy.

    If your students are already using it, then I'd say that's a powerful reason to go for it.
     
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #7
    I've used the paid Dropbox for years and recommend it as well
    I have accounts for iCloud, Google Drive, One Drive, Box... but I only use the Dropbox account
     
  8. MisterSavage macrumors 6502a

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #8
  9. brobson thread starter macrumors 6502

    brobson

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #9
    I appreciate the feedback very much. I can search folders on the cloud with files from my phone but how to search on the mac? And I now have all kinds of messages about my computer being full as I move files over. I have 1.8T available but it is taking 42G of space. I thought the idea was that things were in the cloud, not on my computer?
    Dropbox has a similar system I am guessing even if I upgrade? I have 8G on this 2015 computer. Would backblaze be similar?
    I cloud automatically updates as I work as well right? Sorry for my ignorance but it has cost me so I'm just going to ask!
    My new HD is on its way, thanks MisterSavage.
     
  10. MisterSavage macrumors 6502a

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #10
    Think of Backblaze like a mirror. You tell it what NOT to back up and then it makes a backup of everything it sees on your computer. If your house burns down and you lose your computer and backup drives you can still get back all of the files that were on your computer.


    "Backblaze will keep versions of a file that changes for up to 30 days. However, Backblaze is not designed as an additional storage system when you run out of space. Backblaze mirrors your drive. If you delete your data, it will be deleted from Backblaze after 30 days."

    https://www.backblaze.com/remote-backup-everything.html
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #11
    With Dropbox, your files exist in the Dropbox folder on your computer's disk and on Dropbox's servers (and on any other Mac that you're synched up to). There is a way to have a form of off-line storage with Dropbox, I think, but I've never used it.

    When I'm working on a project (I do free-lance book design) I keep all the files in Dropbox. None anywhere else. So when I save something, Dropbox will back it up to the cloud at that time. So will iCloud, I'm sure.

    Dropbox will also synch to your iPhone, which can be handy.

    Backblaze is different in the sense that can mirror your entire computer, plus any external drives you've asked it to. Everything! Dropbox only mirrors what you tell it to mirror, and only what's in the Dropbox folder.

    As MisterSavage says, if you literally lose your computer -- stolen, burned up, whatever -- you can get a new one and restore it from Backblaze, and when that's complete the new computer will be identical to the old one you lost. So that's pretty cool, and that's why I have it -- to guard again catastrophic loss. It will guard against disk loss, too -- at one point I had an external SSD go belly-up, but it was being backed up with Backblaze. So I replaced the drive and restored to it, and all was well.
     
  12. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    #12
    You can also use Office365. For 69$ you get 1TB and the full office suite. Or the family plan for 99$ which gets you six 1TB accounts (Windows/Mac/iOS/Android) of the Office suite.

    So you're paying for storage and getting Office for free that you can share with others.

    --

    One solution for you and your family across all your devices. Includes premium Office applications for up to 6 users on PC or Mac.

    https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?activetab=tab:primaryr1
     
  13. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #13
    This is not good. You need at least 20% free disk space for system overhead. As that number diminishes you can get disk thrashing which makes your system more prone to failures. I would address that issue as soon as you can.

    Disk reliability (particularly for Seagate and Western Digital) is improving a lot. See the latest Backblaze disk reliability report:

    https://www.backblaze.com/b2/hard-drive-test-data.html

    There are disk recovery software tools, but if the drive is failing they might not work or might make things worse.

    If you have a multiple disk/location (including cloud) backup strategy you could pick up a couple of disks at Costco or it's equivalent for not much, something like $119.99 for a 5 TB drive. I just would make sure your two local backup drives' (if that's what you chose to use) disks are from different vendors. CrashPlan Business is also an inexpensive cloud backup service.

    Have never used any disk recover services. Maybe someone else has and can report their experiences. Otherwise I'd just google it and look at customer reviews.
     
  14. MisterSavage macrumors 6502a

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #14
    I haven't either but I remember reading about DriverSavers in this (not recent) article.

    https://www.wired.com/2012/08/mat-honan-data-recovery/
     
  15. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #15
    Synchronizing is powerful because you have multiple versions of files that live in multiple places, and can be sync'd very close to live (depending on internet connections, and file size).

    But:

    This also mean eating tons of space. If you have 1TB of data that is essential, and you sync it with most popular tools (dropbox, box, OneDrive, etc) , typically that means:

    1 TB on computer #1
    1 TB on server
    1 TB on computer #2

    ....and so on.

    And it gets worse....space wise. Many sync tools will save versions of files, so you can roll back if you need a older version. Great! But more versions can mean alot more space needed, depending on the system/software . And with most sync tools, you pay for space, monthly...forever. And that spaces get used up automatically on 3 devices (in the scenario above)!

    A traditional backup usually means copies to another location. Some backup tools have compression, so the space used is not a 1:1 relationship. Good backup tools can also automate some things, like version numbers to keep, how long to keep deleted versions of files, etc.

    To be fair (and to be confused) sync tools are catching up on the feature set, blurring the line between sync'd files and backed up files.

    Generally speaking (and there are exceptions) think of sync tools as the best way to share and collaborate with others, and to easily grab a single file easily. Great for current projects, stuff in progress, etc.

    Backup tools are often best at building an archive that is well suited for disaster recovery....for recovering to a point in time (the last scheduled backup) for disaster recovery: fire, flood, theft...and complete hardware failure. It can take much longer to get everything (especially with off site or compressed backups), with the trade off of being lower cost, and/or using less space.
     
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    There seems to be a few cloud files/storage as a service models out there and all are pretty good for what they do. I would tend to also suggest you look at backblaze as a way to not only get your files out there but also to gain experience in the process - learning to deal with 3rd party storage and all* of their offerings, learning how to manage your files/data in a systematic approach and some software/hardware tools in your hands to keep the wheel oiled.

    1) Invest in a cloud storage service designed with features that you can use at a price you can handle. There are plenty of reviews out there to discern differences and of course, you have plenty here of those who want you to succeed.
    2) There are multiple ways to achieve backups locally such as external drives, RAID DAS and NAS. You should investigate the use of perhaps in addition to cloud services, an inexpensive RAID set up. Perhaps a visit to smallnetbuilder 's site is in order.
    3) As you mentioned teaching, investigate if any of the services, software and hardware can be "written off" on your taxes (potentially amortized as well).

    As for me, cloud and external drives including NAS has done well by me. I have personal and business related that includes tiny files on up to files well over a few gigs (media). My NAS is the heart with key files on cloud storage and for day to day, I'll keep a couple of portable drives with me to create redundancy on new important files until they can be place also on the NAS then cloud. Everyone had a different system, perhaps your time to get your feet wet.
     
  17. brobson thread starter macrumors 6502

    brobson

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #17
    OK, that was the scariest most helpful article I’ve ever read! I have been living in a cave I suppose thinking that my info was safe. I think of myself as sort of text savvy but I realize I have absolutely no idea how vulnerable my information is. I’m going to research this and take steps to not only not lose my data but also not get hacked.
    So here’s a dumb question: which I tell my students are not dumb and less it is not asked.
    Could a hacker melt my hard drive? I know that sounds paranoid but it was less than a year old and it just started heating up and died. So please believe me when I say I know that’s an insane question to ask but you never know.
    This has been a very illuminating experience. I now have two hard drives on my cloud service and I’m going to take steps to try and prevent the cloud from being hacked as this article suggests. I know dropbox has been hacked and this proves that the cloud can be too.
    Thanks a million everyone!
     
  18. MisterSavage macrumors 6502a

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #18
    Keep in mind that article is several years old and changes were made because of it. He's a tech writer and really should have had two factor authentication enabled.
     
  19. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #19
    Unlikely. Could it be possible that somehow one could, at the hardware level, crank down fans and cause an overheating problem? Hypothetically....probably.

    But Intruders are rarely vandals. They are there for $. Info that has value...personal info, account info, bank info, etc. Vandalism pays zero.

    Most likely the drive simply failed. Hard drives keep getting bigger, faster, and cheaper. They have not gotten more reliable. In recent years it has hung out around 1-4% on average, but certain brand/models can go up into the 8-10% range. Occasionally as high as 13%!

    And that is mostly charted servers in controlled data centers, with good cooling, not getting bounced around like laptops or external drives do.

    1-5% failure rate might sound pretty reasonable....unless you are one of those 5 in 100 that it happens to: 1 in 20 sounds really bad.
     
  20. HDFan, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #20
    Certainly that was the case in the past. But the latest Backblaze data seems to show a lot of improvement. The worse performing drive failure rate was 2.2%. 7 of the 15 drives have failure rates in the 0.* % range.

    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-hard-drive-stats-q1-2019/

    But drives do fail. If I remember correctly the Backblaze folks indicated that failure rates spiked when a disk was first installed, then dropped, then rose again as the drive reached the end of its lifespan. I purchased a very expensive HGST helium enterprise drive. It failed. They sent me a replacement. That failed too ...
     
  21. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #21
    Yep. That info was in a chart...fairly far down on my link.

    And yes, the good drives are in the 1-3% failure rate. But that is not all drives...there are usually a few bad eggs each year or two, and those do occasionally spike to over 10%.

    And yes....infant mortality rate in hardware is a real thing.

    Much new consumer hardware (including consumer HDs) is not tested.

    Last I read, SATA drives are simply spot tested: A sample drive is pulled and tested at a specified frequency.

    So...(making up numbers) 1 out of every 100 SATA drives gets tested. The rest we buy, and we test it as the first one to spin it up and format it. Some are not right and are DOA, some have a flaw and are coughing up blood in the first days/weeks of use.

    There is a reason enterprise RAID arrays can take days to write zeros to an entire new array before they are mounted and available for use: drive testing and verification!

    Enterprise drives (SAS and SCSI before them) are individually tested last I heard....part of why they cost more.

    No idea about SSD manufacturer testing.

    [​IMG]
     

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20 May 3, 2019