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File/ Data Recovery for those that Failed to backup or had other problems

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In the last few weeks I have read several posts where someone lost their Sequenced due to HDD failure or deleting.

I also posted where I have been attempting to recover what I consider very important files and pictures of my two little boys growing up from my wifes "backup external drive". The drive crashed 2 or 3 years ago and I have tried sporadically to recover or even view anything on the drive.

Yesterday I took another crack at it and nadda. The more I thought about it the more POd I got. A brand new $300 drive used maybe 10 times and probably an hour and placed in the safe should not fail. Last night I took the plastic cover off and surprise, I purchased said drive 3 years ago well the drive was manufacture in 2010. If I had known I would have never purchased a drive at the end of its expected life expectancy.

So even more PO'd I contacted WD. First they couldn't even find the drives serial number in their system. Second they said the drive is shot and they do not conduct file recovery. I had already downloaded every drive test software that WD provides and got mixed results. One would show drive passed all tests while the very next test would say "too many bad sectors to complete the test".

To make a long story short I finally got out of the WD tech support that free data recovery programs are out there. So that set me off on a tangent. Search and find.

Tonight I downloaded the Seagate File Recovery "free trial".

Upon the first run it discovered 1740 files. I then attempted to restore to a folder on my computer but soon discovered this was not going to be free. I then went to the Seagate site and paid $99 for the license. Better than a couple thousand dollars I had seen online. (turns out you get 24 recoveries for $99)

Upon paying and registering the software I was able to recover 474 files on the first run. That doesn't sound like a lot but 1 of the files was my first sons first attempt at talking- priceless. I then ran the software again and recovered 200 more, note that some are repetitive since there is no way to delete previously recovered files.

I am going to continue this process until my 24 attempts are exhausted in hopes I can recover most of what is "lost". At that time it will go back into the safe until maybe 1 day a more affordable way to recover all on the disks is offered.

BLUF- Bottom line up front

If you lost your sequences try the Seagate File Recovery software out. $99 is less than what youd pay for 4-5 of your hard earned sequences, but at least the free trial will show you if anything is found before you shell out the $99.

PS- I also just discovered that if you know the folder or file name you can search for it as well, I am now experimenting with that option since the software didn't seem to look deep enough or those sectors are just that bad.

Best of luck

JR

  

Edited by dibblejr
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I backed up my (beginners level) Sequences to a Small SD card as well as the text file of the  email with my License Key.

That (in its plastic case) is now taped inside my controller box

 

Most of my drives have lasted 10 year+ whith frequent use. But I have had drives fail with out warning.  One second they are running and the next they are screaming gone

 

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8 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I backed up my (beginners level) Sequences to a Small SD card as well as the text file of the  email with my License Key.

That (in its plastic case) is now taped inside my controller box

 

Most of my drives have lasted 10 year+ whith frequent use. But I have had drives fail with out warning.  One second they are running and the next they are screaming gone

 

That is how it works, good now and gone in a split second. my major problem is mfgr passing their old drives off, concealed in a case, cant find the serial number in their system and then saying "well the drive was mfgd in 2010, what do you expect". I about came unglued. HTF am I sup to know that what is underneath that plastic cover was mfgd in 2015?

My wife learned her lesson and I will never buyan enclosed HDD as a backup unless 1) it has a fan, 2) I can be guaranteed the mfg date 3) opening the cover will not void the warranty.

 

To your point, the laptop I am using to type this is an old Windows ME installed laptop over 13 years old and I have only upgraded software and memory. But it is on its final legs.

Don't worry about your License Key, just yesterday Mike DevMike from LOR went back over 6 years and retrieved a key. they have your record.

JR

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OK, shameless self promotion.  Read this thread (or at least the first post):

 

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5 hours ago, k6ccc said:

OK, shameless self promotion.  Read this thread (or at least the first post):

 

My info was reaching out to those that had a backup plan such as my wife that just didn't work.

i always keep backups but will never put them on an external drive such as that WD mypassport. I feel the lack of a fan is what will cause an HDD failure quicker.

All of my fanned HDD's far outlast the garbage my wife stored the pictures and videos on

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I have a network drive and a USB HD off my sequencing computer, once a week I backup my sequences to both.

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I guess I am a little anal about my data, being in the IT world for several years.  I work up my sequences on one machine, back them up to a USB drive each night (wrote a short batch file to accomplish this) and then transfer them to my show PC downstairs in the shop for the seasons shows.  That gives me three copies.  After the season I back up everything to an external HD and also my server.

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IMO, file recovery software is just a bandaid for poor file backup protocal.  It's not rockety science, make sequence copies to another PC or removable storage media.  

As you work on sequences, save often and also make backups of current work, just not when the sequences is "completed".

 

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1 hour ago, mpageler said:

 

IMO, file recovery software is just a bandaid for poor file backup protocal.  It's not rockety science, make sequence copies to another PC or removable storage media.  

As you work on sequences, save often and also make backups of current work, just not when the sequences is "completed".

 

If you read my post, that's not the case in my wifes scenario. I guess if you purchase a brand new drive to use as a BACKUP DRIVE only and uploaded or used it maybe 10 times in 2 years that's a "bandaid for poor file backup protocol. So you would just do as WD suggest and trash the drive and buy a new without attempting everything possible.

That falls under the category of shiot happens not poor backup protocol.

If I was stupid enough to back up my sequences after the event with her files then yes, that would be a failure on my part. But because a mfg pushes products out to distributors that are way past the expected life that is just messed up. Knowing that opening the product up and discovering that fact would void the warranty.

My sequences are saved every time I adjust them in papagayo, way to many hours to sync to lose it all at any give time. Every sentence or phrase after sync is saved. I made that mistake once on a sequence and never made it again.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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IMO, file recovery software is just a bandaid for poor file backup protocal.  It's not rockety science, make sequence copies to another PC or removable storage media.  
As you work on sequences, save often and also make backups of current work, just not when the sequences is "completed".
 

Nah man, file recovery software is for when your backup solutions fail. The copies were on removable media (a USB hard drive), but some of those are total crap.

Me personally, I used to do data recovery professionally. It's amazing to see some really old drives last so long and then you have the ones that failed within a week.

Now I work for a large software company. I'm. Not saying who, but more than likely your operating system was made by us.

I use a folder in OneDrive to save my sequences. That is replicated to several computers every time a change is made.

I also backup my entire OneDrive account to an external hard drive at least once a week. The most important files are also backed up to Dropbox real time.

Yes, I know I am overly paranoid. It comes from seeing so many failures.

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Would that company have a large campus in MTV by the Hwy 85 ramp?  :P

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5 Terbite external hard drive have the hole compter backup on it when ever I do a sequence save to both systems

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Would that company have a large campus in MTV by the Hwy 85 ramp? 

I'm not sure where that is. I work at a remote site but our main campus is in Washington state. Just off hwy 520.

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29 minutes ago, EdNetman said:


I'm not sure where that is. I work at a remote site but our main campus is in Washington state. Just off hwy 520.

Yep.  MTV is the abbreviation for Mountain View, CA.  I go a few hundred hours Rack'n & Stack'n in their server rooms

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Ah, I've never seen that campus. I have heard it's nice. I have friends out there.



That was an "acquired" location since that was where Hotmail was before we scooped them up. It's actually not considered a large datacenter campus, the ones we have in less dense areas are much larger.

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Figured I would update my posts. Sorry Ed but I really appreciate the offer.

I ended up recovering about 1500 pics and vids with the Seagate Recovery software.

I then sent it off to Seagate and for $650 they recovered all of the contents (I had a screen shot of all the folders and files before sending). It took them 1 month and I got a new drive with everything on it.

Now I need to figure out a cloud service that I can TRUST. This made my day/ life when I got the new drive. Precious memories!

Thanks

JR

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6 hours ago, james morris said:

5 Terbite external hard drive have the hole compter backup on it when ever I do a sequence save to both systems

Do you keep the external hard drive off-site?  A fire or burglar can easily take a backup disk that is sitting next to the computer that it's backing up.  A forum member here had that exact thing happen a year or two ago - a thief took both the computer and his backups that were in the same room.  In my case, I back up the important stuff to Google Drive almost immediately, and my external hard drives that are used to backup the server every week are taken to work 26 miles from home and stored there.

 

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We back up to our server in two different forms.  Form 1-  show files and sequences are uploaded to the main server storage area, with the folder they reside in set to duplicate.  This puts a copy of the files on every hard drive in the server that is in the drive pool (currently 7 drives).  Even if the server craps out, I can just take one of the drives and place it in an external case and get my files.  Form 2 - Each computer in our home network is backed up entirely every night and saved to a client backup drive, seperate from the drive pool.  If the computer crashes, can recreate the entire hard drive in a couple of hours from the server client backup.  That server has saved our butts several times over the years, as it quietly hums along in the stairwell closet.  It is what works for us,  Your milage may vary!!

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1 hour ago, bdwillie said:

We back up to our server in two different forms.  Form 1-  show files and sequences are uploaded to the main server storage area, with the folder they reside in set to duplicate.  This puts a copy of the files on every hard drive in the server that is in the drive pool (currently 7 drives).  Even if the server craps out, I can just take one of the drives and place it in an external case and get my files.  Form 2 - Each computer in our home network is backed up entirely every night and saved to a client backup drive, seperate from the drive pool.  If the computer crashes, can recreate the entire hard drive in a couple of hours from the server client backup.  That server has saved our butts several times over the years, as it quietly hums along in the stairwell closet.  It is what works for us,  Your milage may vary!!

OK, since I am not H.R.C. I do not know anything about servers. I thought they are just for internet websites and forums. 

Do you care to elaborate a little? Even if in PM. Someone was selling several servers on CL local to me last week, I just happen to remember them but was thinking of corporate stuff.

How elaborate do I need to get?

I am just thankful that we got everything back. 

No sequences were on it just baby pics and family pics that can't be replaced.

Thanks for reply

JR

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2 hours ago, dibblejr said:

OK, since I am not H.R.C. I do not know anything about servers. I thought they are just for internet websites and forums. 

Do you care to elaborate a little? Even if in PM. Someone was selling several servers on CL local to me last week, I just happen to remember them but was thinking of corporate stuff.

How elaborate do I need to get?

I am just thankful that we got everything back. 

No sequences were on it just baby pics and family pics that can't be replaced.

There is really two parts to what is a server.  There is the hardware and the software - and they are not necessarily tied to each other.  First is the hardware part.  Almost any computer can function as a server, but generally when people think of servers, they are thinking of a rack mount computer that has lots of CPU power, gobs of disk space and RAM, and generally lots of redundancy built in.  By lots of redundancy, I mean redundant power supplies, LAN connections, CPUs and cooling fans.  I have had four computers in the last 20 years or so that functioned as a server at my house.  The first two were just Dell desktop computers with nothing special about them.  When the second one died a few years ago I was given an old Dell server that I knew was only a stopgap until I could replace it with something better.  It had redundant power supplies, CPUs and fans (14 of them) in a two rack unit case (3.5 inches tall).  One of the biggest disadvantages of it was those 14 fans were NOISY!!!!  It forced me to build the garage data cabinet that I had wanted to do for years in order to get it out of the house.  That one was used for only 18 months before a planned replacement with my current Dell R710 rack-mount server.  It has dual CPUs, 48 GB of RAM, eight drive bays (five currently populated) a hardware RAID controller, four LAN ports and redundant power supplies, and a few other things that are beyond this discussion.  The hardware for a server is generally beefier under the assumption that it will run 24 x 7.  Particularly for just backing up data, it does NOT take much.

Now for the software.  Generally a server is running a server version of the operating system.  The first computer that I ran as a server used Windows 2000 (not server version), the second used Windows Server 2000, and the last two used Windows Server 2012 R2.  A lot of servers use Unix variants rather than Windows or Mac OSes.  Server operating systems are optimized for server functionality and are generally not a good choice for end user computer use.  Server OSes have the capabilities for things like being a domain controller, and terminal services.  Server OSes cost more than end user OSes as well.  For just file backup, there is very little need to use a server OS.

For file storage, any Windows computer has the ability to share a hard drive across the LAN, and any Windows computer can map a network drive as a drive letter.  In other words, on one computer you share a hard drive or folder, and on another you map that remote drive as a drive letter on your computer.  For example, on both my sequencing computer and primary family room computer, I have an L: drive that is actually a folder on my server.  You could do the same functionality on any old computer.  There are readily available external hard drives that are either LAN or generally USB connected.  This is what I use to backup my server.  I have several external hard drives and I backup the server every weekend to one of the drive and drive it into work.  Then an older backup drive is brought back home and it is used for the weekly backup.  I just rotate between several hard drives.  The most recent drive is the drive kept at work.  Another option is what's called Network Attached Storage.  NAS is a stand alone box with one or more LAN connections, and a simple Operating System and generally a large amount of disk space (usually with disk redundancy).  Another option for data storage backup is one of many cloud based storage offerings.  These include offerings that automatically back up whatever changes you make to your local computer to the cloud, or appear as a drive letter on your computer and you simply copy desired files to the cloud drive.  Lastly there are cloud options that are web based and you copy or drop files to the cloud - I use Google Drive this way.

I mentioned earlier RAID and also redundant drives.  Let me briefly explain that.  RAID is short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  There are several different levels of RAID, but the general concept is that multiple physical disks are used to store the data generally in a way that allows for one or more drives to fail without losing any data because of redundancy.  You can do an internet search for RAID to learn more.  My server is using RAID 1 which means that all data is written to two separate disks so that if a disk fails, none of the data is lost.  The RAID controller in the server will notify me if there is a disk failure, and I have a hot standby disk that will take over for the failed disk automatically.

On many occasions on this forum, I have harped on the importance of backups, off-site backups, and multiple backups.  As all of us become more dependent on computer data, it becomes more important that such data is protected.  Even if it's not something that that you can't live without (financial and tax records for example), as JR had happen, you don't really want to lose all the photos of your kids growing up.  Those may not be financially or life critical, but most of us REALLY don't want to lose those files.

And JR, I'm more than happy to chat on the phone for details on this stuff if you want to.

 

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2 hours ago, k6ccc said:

There is really two parts to what is a server.  There is the hardware and the software - and they are not necessarily tied to each other.  First is the hardware part.  Almost any computer can function as a server, but generally when people think of servers, they are thinking of a rack mount computer that has lots of CPU power, gobs of disk space and RAM, and generally lots of redundancy built in.  By lots of redundancy, I mean redundant power supplies, LAN connections, CPUs and cooling fans.  I have had four computers in the last 20 years or so that functioned as a server at my house.  The first two were just Dell desktop computers with nothing special about them.  When the second one died a few years ago I was given an old Dell server that I knew was only a stopgap until I could replace it with something better.  It had redundant power supplies, CPUs and fans (14 of them) in a two rack unit case (3.5 inches tall).  One of the biggest disadvantages of it was those 14 fans were NOISY!!!!  It forced me to build the garage data cabinet that I had wanted to do for years in order to get it out of the house.  That one was used for only 18 months before a planned replacement with my current Dell R710 rack-mount server.  It has dual CPUs, 48 GB of RAM, eight drive bays (five currently populated) a hardware RAID controller, four LAN ports and redundant power supplies, and a few other things that are beyond this discussion.  The hardware for a server is generally beefier under the assumption that it will run 24 x 7.  Particularly for just backing up data, it does NOT take much.

Now for the software.  Generally a server is running a server version of the operating system.  The first computer that I ran as a server used Windows 2000 (not server version), the second used Windows Server 2000, and the last two used Windows Server 2012 R2.  A lot of servers use Unix variants rather than Windows or Mac OSes.  Server operating systems are optimized for server functionality and are generally not a good choice for end user computer use.  Server OSes have the capabilities for things like being a domain controller, and terminal services.  Server OSes cost more than end user OSes as well.  For just file backup, there is very little need to use a server OS.

For file storage, any Windows computer has the ability to share a hard drive across the LAN, and any Windows computer can map a network drive as a drive letter.  In other words, on one computer you share a hard drive or folder, and on another you map that remote drive as a drive letter on your computer.  For example, on both my sequencing computer and primary family room computer, I have an L: drive that is actually a folder on my server.  You could do the same functionality on any old computer.  There are readily available external hard drives that are either LAN or generally USB connected.  This is what I use to backup my server.  I have several external hard drives and I backup the server every weekend to one of the drive and drive it into work.  Then an older backup drive is brought back home and it is used for the weekly backup.  I just rotate between several hard drives.  The most recent drive is the drive kept at work.  Another option is what's called Network Attached Storage.  NAS is a stand alone box with one or more LAN connections, and a simple Operating System and generally a large amount of disk space (usually with disk redundancy).  Another option for data storage backup is one of many cloud based storage offerings.  These include offerings that automatically back up whatever changes you make to your local computer to the cloud, or appear as a drive letter on your computer and you simply copy desired files to the cloud drive.  Lastly there are cloud options that are web based and you copy or drop files to the cloud - I use Google Drive this way.

I mentioned earlier RAID and also redundant drives.  Let me briefly explain that.  RAID is short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  There are several different levels of RAID, but the general concept is that multiple physical disks are used to store the data generally in a way that allows for one or more drives to fail without losing any data because of redundancy.  You can do an internet search for RAID to learn more.  My server is using RAID 1 which means that all data is written to two separate disks so that if a disk fails, none of the data is lost.  The RAID controller in the server will notify me if there is a disk failure, and I have a hot standby disk that will take over for the failed disk automatically.

On many occasions on this forum, I have harped on the importance of backups, off-site backups, and multiple backups.  As all of us become more dependent on computer data, it becomes more important that such data is protected.  Even if it's not something that that you can't live without (financial and tax records for example), as JR had happen, you don't really want to lose all the photos of your kids growing up.  Those may not be financially or life critical, but most of us REALLY don't want to lose those files.

And JR, I'm more than happy to chat on the phone for details on this stuff if you want to.

 

I knew as soon as you posted I would get a plethora of great information! I like it because you give names and part numbers! Thanks again Jim. I am going to have to pull my bootstraps up and make a decision. I def don't want to support a Seagate technician again.

Thank you

JR

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What k6ccc said!  LOL  He explained it better that I would have!

 

 

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Well, I can shamelessly promote my services as a data recovery specialist. Unlike some, who charge for a certain amount of recovered data or recovery tries, I only charge a one time fee and it doesnt matter how big the drive or how much data is recovered.

I can target certain files, if all you want are jpg's or mp3's or lms's.

Been doing this for years for many many people. You can pm me for details. Can discuss over the phone, or if you live close, in person. Im in Florida and have over 20 years of programming experience.

I am also an avid LOR user and active member of this forum.

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6 minutes ago, radarman2000 said:

Well, I can shamelessly promote my services as a data recovery specialist. Unlike some, who charge for a certain amount of recovered data or recovery tries, I only charge a one time fee and it doesnt matter how big the drive or how much data is recovered.

I can target certain files, if all you want are jpg's or mp3's or lms's.

Been doing this for years for many many people. You can pm me for details. Can discuss over the phone, or if you live close, in person. Im in Florida and have over 20 years of programming experience.

I am also an avid LOR user and active member of this forum.

Too late. I also had another great offer a couple days ago by Whitebuck and Ed. Much appreciated, everyone.

Thank you though

JR

"Posted Sunday at 04:59 PM · Report post

Figured I would update my posts. Sorry Ed but I really appreciate the offer.

I ended up recovering about 1500 pics and vids with the Seagate Recovery software.

I then sent it off to Seagate and for $650 they recovered all of the contents (I had a screen shot of all the folders and files before sending). It took them 1 month and I got a new drive with everything on it.

Now I need to figure out a cloud service that I can TRUST. This made my day/ life when I got the new drive. Precious memories!

Thanks

JR

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