External Hard Drive Recovery

     If you are like most people, you probably back up your data to an external hard drive. It's obviously good to have a backup, but what do you do if your external hard drive crashes? Do you have a backup copy of your backup hard drive should it crash?

Everyday we hear from customers who have been backing up their data just like they were told to do. They are taking their important data and saving it to their external hard drive. The bad part is, in many of these cases the data is backed up, but then deleted from the source hard drive. This means the data is not really backed up, it's simply moved to another location.

External hard drives can be some of the most difficult devices to recover data from. Not just because they can have such a high capacity in Gigabytes, but also because they are usually much more intricate in their configuration and design. It's not uncommon to actually have multiple hard drives in a single enclosure that are run as a RAID or JBOD. When you start spanning data over multiple hard drives you run into a myriad of potential problems.

Some of the issues that can arise in a multi-drive RAID array is that if one drive fails it brings the entire array down. With RAID 0 the problem is even more pronounced since you cannot recover data from a RAID 0 array if one of the drives is completely unrecoverable. This is due to data being striped. This means a single file has part of itself stored on each hard drive. Take a picture file for example, the file might be 3MB in size, but you could have 128K of the file on one drive, the next 128K on the following drive, etc. etc. The file continues being partially written back and forth to each drive until it is completely saved. So if you have a single drive drop out of the array, and lets say the heads have crashed and damaged the platter surface, no matter how good the data might be in the remaining drives, you'll only have data fragments. The file will not be complete.

Another issue we see with external drives is mishandling. External drives get dropped, they get bumped, they get knocked over. There are instances where the damage is not too severe, where maybe the heads just become unparked and seize to the platter. This is still a serious issue, but not as bad as it could be. In more serious cases the spindle bearing itself is damaged, and the motor becomes permanently seized. This occurs quite often in Seagate hard drives. The only audible sound is the buzzing you hear. When this happens a full platter swap is the only real option. There are some rare instances where you can free up the bearing so that the drive will spin up again, but it's not often. Swapping the platters is no easy task, even for the most seasoned data recovery engineer. You cannot lose the alignment between the platters on either the vertical or horizontal axis. You have nearly ZERO room for error here. Any shift in the alignment will cause permanent data loss. You also have issues with eccentricity of the rotation when the platters are transferred. You will end up with a slight wobble if the platters are centered to the hub properly. This will throw the alignment of the heads and tracks off, which means the data cannot be read, and in most cases the drive won't even initialize.

Now you can see that if you don't backup your data properly, you can run into even bigger problems if your only source of the data is an external hard drive that has failed. The solution is to be redundant. Keep multiple backups of your data over multiple drives, and if possible keep at least one copy in a separate location. It's only when you have a solid backup solution that you can finally rest easy and know that your data is safe.

Article Source : http://www.abcarticledirectory.com

Greg Duffield is the President of ACS Data Recovery. With clients worldwide, they have been a leading provider of data recovery for over a decade.

Posted on 2013-02-04, By: *

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