Hard drives do die

Hard drives are made cheap but with lots of storage. They are not made to last forever but when hard drives seem so reliable, a dead hard drive can catch many people (including myself) off guard. Hard drives will die and being prepared for their death is important. While setting up a RAID system would be ideal, not everyone has the budget, knowledge, and time to set it up. I thought buying a swappable RAID hard drive system would be cheap but they were in the hundreds.

After searching around for good ways to ensure your data is safe, here are my best tips:

  • Have a backup of your backup
  • RAID 1 is reliable and cheap, but RAID 5 or RAID 10 is more practical and used more in industry.
  • Incremental backups prevent data corruption.
  • Have an off-site (on-line service or hard drive stored at a friend’s house)
  • On-line services can fail and typically are have direct access to the original data.

So, when my hard drive died, I emailed Cavalry (the hard drive manufacturer) and received the below email. It shows that hard drives are cheap and will die. The last line is great and hits home.

Cavalry Email from customer support:

We feel very sad whenever a drive dies in the field. It looks like your drive has failed. We recommend you to search for “data recovery” online if that is what you desire to do. There are many companies offering this type of service. If you want to try to read the data, the following describe the basics of any external HD.

There are two parts in an External HD. One is the bare drive, and the other is the PCBA bridge in the enclosure. If the bare drive is good, you can still use the bare drive. We recommend you to obtain a HD bridge which will allow you to use any bare drive as external without installation. Example of a HD bridge: http://www.amazon.com/Cavalry-CABD3BRP-Y-Bulldog-Docking-Protector/dp/B003UT91B2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326562501&sr=8-1

Hard drives are made cheap and with a limited lifetime. Your data can be priceless, please keep your data in multiple drives.

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