Budget Storage Strategy

Posted on 2014-03-29
Last Modified: 2014-04-18
Almost a month ago, I had some disk failures. The 96% full 2TB N:\ drive lost its partition table rendering the files inaccessible. Windows wanted to format it and Disk Management saw it as raw.

Prior to the failures, my data was stored on the 2TB N:\ drive (1843GB). To prevent data loss in the event that the disk suffered a physical failure, I wanted to use another disk to 'back up' to (not really a backup solution as both disks are in the same physical location - one meteor strike and both would be lost).  I found 3TB Seagate expansion drives for the same cost as a replacement 2GB drive. Though this not a true mirror, RAID 1, I partitioned it as if it were (you cant make RAID sets using external drives). I made the O:\ drive the same size as the 1845GB N:\ drive. I made the R:\ partition for the remaining 940GB. Since it is not protected, I use it to store "replaceable" files the loss of which would not be the end of the world.  I use Free File Sync to copy data from N:\ to O:\. It is open source and its capabilities are impressive. You can make batch files for various backup jobs and I think it can even be scheduled which I havent gotten to yet, so I synch the drives manually. It had been sometime since I last synced. Once the N:\ drive failed, I couldnt compare the two to see how up to date the O:\ drive was since the files were unreadable.

storage and redundancy
Blah blah blah. So the recovery steps and the new scheme I plan to use are illustrated in the diagram.

1. Using GetDataBack, I have started copying the N drive's files to the new  Seagate  3TB expansion drive.
2. Because of the way N:\ failed, I suspect that there is nothing physically wrong with it. I plan to reformat it and then test the shirt out of it.
3. If I am satisfied it's integrity is good, I will copy the files from R:\ to it.
4. Delete the R:\ partition
5. Expand O:\ to the full 3TB.
5. Set up FFS to mirror P:\ to O:\
6. Save all future data to P:\
7. Copy data from various thumb, flash, stick and pickle drives used to store new data (subsequent to failure) until I had a solution to this debacle with what I had to work with, to P:\.

Harebrained or decent solution?
Question by:disciple_of_chim-chim
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LVL 22

Accepted Solution

Rick Hobbs earned 250 total points
ID: 39964569
Excellent solution.  And, the way you describe the failure, I believe GetDataBack should recover everything.  I have the same general setup in use using external USB3 drives and it works great.  My major difference is that I use robocopy rather than  Free File Sync.  I also use Clonezillia once a week on the OS drive and put it on one of the drives that get copied (I have more than one), so that I can be back up and running ASAP. I think you got it covered.
LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 39964599
what model is the N drive?  use the manufacturer's diag on it (eg WD for WD drive)
then, if it says Ok; run HDDRegenerator on it      
that's how i check all my drives
you can expand the 3 TB drive right away - i never had data loss with Bootit-BM (free for this)       
how : make the CD and boot from it
do NOT install it on a disk - hit cancel
select partition work -  your partition and choose resize; put in all available space
that's it

Author Comment

ID: 39976987
UPDATE: GetDataBack recovered all the files on the N drive and copied them to the P drive.  HDDRegenerator is running now. I had to move some hardware around so I had to stop it and start again.  Its chugging along again. I wish I had another SATA port to scan it as an internal drive. When HDDRegenerator is done and depending on the results, I will format the N drive, copy the R drive to it then resize the O drive.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 39977350
seems you're getting on; keep us posted

Author Comment

ID: 39979742
The HDDR results showed no bad sectors but over 100 delays.  This is not necessarily as bad as it sounds because HDDR says it can fix them.
HDD Regenerator's Delays Detected

    If you see delays under Windows, it is recommended to rescan the drive from a bootable regenerating CD or flash.
    If your hard drive is external, it is recommended that you connect it as an internal drive.
    Generally, 1-2 delays are not a problem.

Permanent delays mean that the hard drive has sectors with long access time. A drive with permanent delays is actually a failing drive and may cause data losses. You can try to regenerate such sectors using the "Regenerate all sectors in a range" option. Also, the delays can be regenerated in the “scan and repair” mode, if both the following  conditions are met:

    The hard drive has been completely scanned at least 1 time.
    The hard drive does not contain bad sectors.

These are the results from that pass:
HDDR resultsI am running it again in Repair Mode and it looks like it is just doing the same thing, counting delays. AND it is 88% done and now it says that there are 248 delays! Such a huge discrepancy doesnt inspire a lot of confidence. Without another SATA port, I cant connect the drive internally and it is not a system drive so using the boot from CD/flash drive option wont help. I will let it finish this pass and go from there.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 39979985
i agree it does not look well
just to be complete - run the manufacturer's diag on the drive also - to show if it sees problems; long test
we'll continue from there

Author Comment

ID: 39984971
It passed all tests Seagate's Sea Tools for Windows threw at it. Maybe I should just format it and see what happens.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 39985199
agreed - that's the next thing to do

Author Comment

ID: 39996956
Formatted it without issue. Full space available, I copied 257GB to it. Checked some files randomly. I moved and copied from it. Passed all SMART tests. I dont know if when it writes farther in will make a difference. I guess the lost partition theory was correct. Between that and the fact that all data was intact and recovered, for all intents and purposes, its as good as any of the other working disks I have.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 39996995
could be the delays were the cause.
and rewriting sectors may have fixed it.

Author Comment

ID: 40008561
I cleared the data on the R drive, deleted it and extended the O drive to 3TB with the MiniTool Partition wizard,  E is the 'primary' drive and the O drive mirrors the E drive.

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