Hard Drive Hell

As some of you may, or may not, know I had multiple hard drive failures. I have a backup drive, another backup drive and my Mac HD. One of the back-up drives had a header failure and iMac HD had some other kind of failure hdthat is either too boring or too geeky for my mind to process.

Anyway, after trying Diskwarrior (which wouldn’t even see the disk), Disk First Aid (that just wanted to reformat the bloody thing) and then an xcode compiled utility called DDRescue and a sata to usb cable – the last option, however, was right at the edge of my technical universe – I still didn’t get it to work.

Anyway, I sent the iMac back to Apple – more of that in a minute – and the external drive to CBLwho scratched their heads and eventually pronounced my drive to be totally, finally and technically shafted.

Apple, upon receiving my stricken iMac, declared that the HD was utterly blown and they would replace the HD and the logic board (also broken – there is really nothing left of my original iMac apart from the foot…). I wanted to do data recovery and asked them for the knackered HD only to hear them say that they could not repair the iMac until I had returned the old HD.

Now, here’s a little background on what happens when you recover a disk. HDs are little more sophisticated than old LPs and are just a bunch of disks with a needle that scratches data onto them (man, we are just cave men aren’t we?). In order for this process to work they have to be in a sealed enclosure so when data recovery happens they take the disks off an old enclosure and pop them onto another and hopefully say, ‘ta-da!’ as all your old data appears, as if by magic. They do this in an airtight environment. It’s all very C.S.I.

Anyway, Apple said that I could buy the faulty drive off of them. What? Buy something broken and then pay £500-600 to get the data off it and then another £100 for a new drive and…what? It took me an hour but I eventually explained that they were, in fact, lunatics and that it would be folly for me to send back a jumble of bits for them to just discard them.

Moral of this (slightly boring, reading back on it) story is:

  1. If in doubt back up and then back up some more or do what I do now and backup in three different locations and use time machine. Which, by the way, rocks. Though the interface animation is kind of cheap, early Channel 5 quiz show.
  2. Don’t ever – even for a bet – use anything made by Western Digital. I didn’t know this, but they have a reputation on a par with a serial killer. I was shocked to find that the internal drive of my iMac used a Western Digital drive. That’s like popping the hood on your brand new BMW 5 Series and discovering the engine of a Renault Clio bubbling away.
  3. Live in a city. We get so many power cuts it’s like living in an Eastern Bloc enclave. All we’re missing is Clint Eastwood flying above thinking in Russian… I reckon that my computer and my drives power down – unexpectedly – so much that it must fuck them up, surely?

Anyway, that’s that. I’m starting to bore myself and I have to get on and do some work.


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