Drive Crashes

If your drive fails do not give the drive to someone whom has had no prior experience of recovery. This is a fate worse than death. Drive recovery MUST be performed by someone whom knows the mechanics involved. If you are old enough to remember the old cassette decks from years back you will remember the horrific effects of “wow and flutter” caused in mechanically unstable decks, more often than not caused by a pinch roller or capstan motor.  There is just no room for error in a hard drive – people boast of old gyro compass rotors spinning at 7200 rpm for a year without the need for servicing – think of a hard drive at a fraction of the price doing exactly the same. A hard drive is not designed for servicing – manufacturers rebuild the drive from scratch but in  reality the owner gets a brand new drive. Would you trust a hard drive which has only had the faulty part replaced – neither do the manufacturers.

Make hard drive backups regularly and if possible sequence these backups – in other words do not copy data over data. Most companies backup their data on a daily basis – Monday through to Sunday possible – Monday then rewrites the previous week’s Monday backup. Some companies backup onto DVD or Blu-Ray.  What you do is irrelevant as long as regular backups are made.

Common problems.

Do NOT trust a drive just because it is new, likewise a drive which is of a newer architecture, generation, whatever you want to call it. Newer technologies bring on newer problems. Read forums on hard drive recovery just to see how significant this problem really is. And no, all drive manufacturers run into problems sooner or later, not just the drive you purchased. I read regularly of why Western Dig is better than Seagate or Seagate is better than Western Dig.And no, not all drives are the same. If you use your drives for video rendering you had better buy the best you can afford. And no, external drives are just as prone to failure as the drive in your notebook or PC system, actually more so. Most drives of the external variety fail because of user negligence. Manufacturers are VERY reluctant to swap out drives which have dents or serial numbers removed co-incidentally while it was pushed into a bay. Drive manufacturers spend millions on R&D, much more than the so called experts professing their knowledge on the web. However, this does not mean you must accept everything the manufacturer will tell you when your drive does decide to shuffle the mortal coil – get expert opinion. I was actually told recently by a drive recovery “expert” that Samsung drives are very badly made.  Strange, considering that on a percentage scale of returns to sales I see Samsung sitting in with Seagate, Western Dig and all of them at under 2% or less. Yes Seagate had a problem with their drives three years back where a firmware revision caused issues. This happens.  They did not sit back – they publicised the problem. I have seen drives with burnt chips where the manufacturer has refused to honour the warranty – now that is simple bull. Unless you can prove that the problem was caused by such and such a reason which should be through customer negligence then they should honour the warranty. Try that stint with an electronics engineer. (I say this because people following Return Material Authorisation policies are exactly that – they follow policies).

What to do with a faulty drive.

Take the drive back to the reseller from whom you purchased this drive. They will do a test. If you need to do a drive recovery then the onus is up to you, not the reseller, distributor or manufacturer. Yes, some manufacturers do drive recovery. This may possibly be the best solution if you live close to a manufacturer – in most cases this is not going to happen. The drive should be sent to a reputed company. Manufacturers do NOT warrant the data on their drives. Remember this. Once the data has been recovered it would have in all likelihood been opened and then re-assembled with THEIR seal on it. Once this has happened you may NO LONGER ask for the reseller to replace the drive for you – it has lost it’s warranty.  I see end users often returning drives for exchange with a big seal across it brazenly displaying the fact that it has been in for drive recovery. Don’t get cross with the clerk whom tells you the drive cannot be exchanged – this is a manufacturer policy. Trash the drive, put a drill through it, open it and smash the platters – it’s all yours.

The bottom line is…

You are responsbible for your own data.

All drive manufacturers have a means to check warranty on their website.

Because a drive is under warranty with the manufacturer does not mean it is under warranty with the reseller. Drive warranty begins with your invoice. A typical case is that you have a drive exchanged – you receive a new drive. This may be one year after your recived your original drive. Therefore the drive may indicate an extra one year’s warranty. Ensure that you receive the warranty, in writing from your supplier.

Do not deface the hard drive label, especially the serial number.

Manufacturers will not accept any drive for return or RMA replacement which has physical damage.

If you are not happy with what your supplier tells you consult the manufacturer. Sometimes they will assist – you will have to return ship at your cost. This does not mean that the reseller was wrong!

I hope this article can or will assist those that are sitting with drive issues to resolve them, painlessly.

Ronan

If you liked this article have a look at the ActionFront dilemma. The article is old but makes food for thought.