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usb drive failure

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Nigel Ward, 17th Apr, 2007.

  1. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

    Joined:
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    My usb thumb drive died last night :( :mad:

    I'm going to drop it off tomorrow at a data recovery company to see if they can salvage some of the data...

    I back up my laptop about every 2 months or so to an external hard-drive...but I only have scattered and out of date copies of many of the documents which were on this thumb drive...

    Whilst none of the data was mission critical it's just very frustrating to get that sinking feeling at 1am when your drive suddenly stops responding... :(

    I think this is going to be one of those valuable "learning experiences".

    All the data recovery people I've spoken to have admonished me like a naughty school boy for not being aware that flash drives are "notoriously unreliable" and "fail regularly".

    So that some good comes of this...

    a) what method do you use to back up data you need to port around with them between different computers?
    b) does anybody use windows briefcase thingy?
    c) any products especially good (I know there's a variety of fairly small hard drives available now...but I need something that can fit in my pocket. I assume all the products of that size use flash memory... (but geeks please tell me otherwise)

    Thanks
    N.
     
  2. Simon

    Simon Well-Known Member

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    I have an external hard drive that plugs into any USB.

    I use it to back up my internal hard drive.
     
  3. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

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    Thanks Simon...that's what I've got as well. About 10cm x 5cm x 1cm. But what failed was my little thumb drive.

    I'm wondering whether I should just run two duplicate thumbdrives or whether there's something not too much bigger (i.e. smaller than my Lacie portable hard drive) but which uses more reliable technology.

    Cheers
    N.
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    If reliability is critical while maintaining your flexibility to easily move data between machines, your only choices are either to use two thumb drives as previously mentioned, or to get a slightly larger external drive that has two hard drives inside and uses data mirroring to store copies on both drives (if one dies, the other should still be in tact).

    Maxtor have some of these devices and they work well, but they are not that portable (quite a bit larger than your portable hard drive).

    The only other suggestion is to use some form of online data storage mechanism. A backup service isn't necessarily what you need - if your goal is to be able to move files easily between machines.

    There are other bulk-storage facilities available online though ... Free Secure Online Storage—Xdrive and Unlimited Online Storage and Backup - Allmydata are two I came across in the past ... and I'm sure there are some Australian services out there too. I haven't used any of these services, so I can't recommend one.

    FYI:

    • for temporary storage I use flash drives - I don't tend to rely on these for long term storage though (1 - 2GB)
    • for longer term portable storage, I use 2.5" USB drives (powered from laptop - no external power required) ... but these also tend to fail at the worst time, so I don't rely on them (40GB - 120GB)
    • bulk semi-portable storage I use Maxtor OneTouch drives (3.5", mains powered) ... they have been pretty reliable, I use these to back up my home machines. Not that portable - heavy too. (250 - 300GB)
    • my main home data storage (non-portable) I use a Thecus N2100 RAID NAS box with twin 3.5" drives in them mirrored for data redundancy. These are network attached storage, so they just sit on my network and can be accessed from any computer on my LAN (or across the net too if I poke a hole in my firewall - which I don't). I have two of these boxes, one with two 200GB drives mirrored and a second with two 500GB drives mirrored. They have proven to be excellent - extremely fast and reliable ... mine have been running now for 6 months without a reboot. I back up my critical data from one drive to the other, and then those backups get archived to one of my Maxtor drives. Every so often, I'll burn some DVDs and send them to a family member for safe keeping.
     
  5. Dunsborough

    Dunsborough Active Member

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    Location:
    Bunbury WA
    Hi Guys

    Can i recomend a "synchronizing" program which there are many around, i use a free one that has served me well "allwaysync"
    Allway Sync: Free File Synchronization, Backup, Data Replication, PC Sync Software, Freeware, File Sync, Data Synchronization Software

    It is mainly intended as a vastly improved option to briefcase where you can set it to recognise and synchronise automatically things such as Pc to laptop, usb drives, external drives or just a cd/dvd burner.

    I recently set up a friends (teacher)laptop and PC on a network, when she comes home allwaysync automatically scyncronises her pc and laptop data as the same.

    I also personaly use it to backup automatically to a rewritable dvd that is always in the burner in conjunction with a program from nero called "Incd" which makes pc treat rewritable dvd exactly like a spare hardrive.

    I make a change to any documents or my quicken and a minute later i hear my burner backing up, its great.
    I also use a fully encrypted 2gb free online backup program named Mozy
    https://mozy.com/?code=YFPFF0
    This ensures my data is always offsite and easily downloadable if the worst ever happened.

    I have restored from both services when i have had dramas, so know they both work

    Happy to help anyone further

    cheers
     
  6. Glebe

    Glebe Well-Known Member

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    Nigel,

    Another option is Google Mail: www.gmail.com

    You can store nearly 3gb, more than enough for documents.

    Just email then to yourself and you can grab them from anywhere in the world.
     
  7. Dunsborough

    Dunsborough Active Member

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  8. myarhidia

    myarhidia Member

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    Personally I believe this approach is wrong. A backup should be a copy of a file that is used to restore the original should the original become lost, damaged or unusable. What you use as a backup and what you use to move data between multiple computers should be treated as separate items.

    A few people have mentioned using on-line service providers for backup. Before you do this make sure you read the fine print & disclosures, what you will find is many would be "all care but no responsibility accepted". As an example, I recently read where a person had to pay Yahoo $30usd to fix their "free" e-mail account b/c it had become corrupted.

    My suggestions:
    a) use a 'thumb' drive as it was intended, temporary storage only
    b) have 2 USB hard drives, keep one with your computer, one elsewhere, everytime you update the backup, swap them around.
     
  9. Nigel Ward

    Nigel Ward Team InvestEd

    Joined:
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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Well it seems the story will have a happy ending after all!

    After doing the rounds of data recovery companies (and getting sternly lectured by all and sundry on how flash drives are really unstable and what a naughty boy I'd been to even think about relying on one...) I was told by all and sundry that "nah, you're st#ffed mate - it's a hardware problem".

    I finally came across Data Recovery Services in Sydney , Melbourne and Australia wide by PAYAM who cheerfully said "sounds like a hardware problem...send it in and we'll try to recover your data. No recovery no fee!"

    So with nothing to lose and low expectations I sent the usb key to them. Hey presto after a very modest sum I've now got a CD with ALL my data back and they even emailed me some files I wanted urgently!

    Well done to Paolo, Mark G and the team at Payam!

    Cheers
    N

    ps. I've also invested in a credit card sized 10GB hard disk which should be more stable than flash memory...and will also double save...lesson learnt.

    Just need to figure out if I'll use windows briefcase or try out Dunsborough's suggestion of allwayssync.
     
  10. Dunsborough

    Dunsborough Active Member

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    Location:
    Bunbury WA
    Gee congratulations on the persistance Nigel. I know how sick to the stomach i have felt when i ever truly lost data.
    I go overboard with backups/copies nowadays but i sleep well. Mozy is my favourite.