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External hard drive failure, quote to recover

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[OP]
Member
Dec 26, 2011
348 posts
105 upvotes
Ottawa

External hard drive failure, quote to recover

Hi:

My Seagate Barracuda 3Tb failed and could not be read by my computer.

I took it to a data recovery company and they determined the following:

- Intermittent read/write head assembly.
- Degraded platter surface area
- Damage of the drive’s firmware. Manual firmware
reconstruction is required

They are quoting me $1200 to recover. They're an extremely reputable recovery company.

Is this standard for recovering important files?

He suggested WD BLACK OR RED with a SYNOLOGY NAS in the future.
24 replies
Sr. Member
Nov 18, 2008
744 posts
306 upvotes
Toronto
Just setup crashplan couple days ago to backup my hard drive to the cloud as well as to another external drive. I've had WD drives failed many times, not sure about the Black or the Red. You should at least have a back up of your external drives, they go just like that.
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Jul 22, 2006
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Is the $1200 including parts and labour? If so, $1200 is not bad for a major repair

I always recommend these guys to my clients (https://www.recoveryforce.com/) but they're in Guelph Ontario.
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Feb 14, 2009
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I remember somebody paid 900 several years ago.
But there is no "right" or "wrong" price for such things.

only 2 options you have:

* pay as quoted

* call 2-3 other companies and compare price and "expected quality of service" (from google).

As for HDD advice -- they all the same sh.t -- get any and have two backups for all
valuable data.

shanjam wrote: Hi:

My Seagate Barracuda 3Tb failed and could not be read by my computer.

I took it to a data recovery company and they determined the following:

- Intermittent read/write head assembly.
- Degraded platter surface area
- Damage of the drive’s firmware. Manual firmware
reconstruction is required

They are quoting me $1200 to recover. They're an extremely reputable recovery company.

Is this standard for recovering important files?

He suggested WD BLACK OR RED with a SYNOLOGY NAS in the future.
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Jul 22, 2006
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tequilla wrote: I
As for HDD advice -- they all the same sh.t -- get any and have two backups for all
valuable data.
No they are not all the same sh8t... Stop buying consumer grade hard drives and use ones actually DESIGNED for the task.

Personal story

I have enterprise grade SCSI drives from the 1990s that cost my parents a good chunk of money.. It's older than me but it's still readable and there's still a ton of data. On the other hand, I had a 2TB hdd die just in time for RMA. It was used bi-weekly and it was a backup of the live VM images / changes & it was tested as healthy before it died...

The 2TB drive had the color of a APPLE, the color of the Canadian flag...
Deal Fanatic
Nov 11, 2008
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It's about right.

However, I used thia guy before and they got the data for half the price.

Not sure how he does it.
http://www.a-data.com/
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Mar 25, 2003
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in the future
have a back up of a back up.
96TB Mediasonic H82-SU3S2 / 72TB Raid 50 on Mediasonic H8R2-SU3S2
48TB Node 304 / i5-3570 / Server 2016 Essentials
12TB HP Mediasmart EX 495 (E8400, 3.0GHZ, 4GB Mushkin), with Server 2016 Essentials
16TB Qnap TS-459 Pro
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
4534 posts
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Vancouver
I suggest getting a quote from ReStoringData.

http://www.restoringdata.ca/index.html

They have some expertise in data recovery that is not commonly found with respect to memory cards and seem to know what they are doing with hard drives. They did some work for me in the past 4 months that I was satisfied with.

The amount charged is somewhat proportional to the size of the drive and how much of the data is recovered.
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Feb 14, 2009
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george__ wrote: No they are not all the same sh8t... Stop buying consumer grade hard drives and use ones actually DESIGNED for the task.

Personal story

I have enterprise grade SCSI drives from the 1990s that cost my parents a good chunk of money.. It's older than me but it's still readable and there's still a ton of data. On the other hand, I had a 2TB hdd die just in time for RMA. It was used bi-weekly and it was a backup of the live VM images / changes & it was tested as healthy before it died...

The 2TB drive had the color of a APPLE, the color of the Canadian flag...
Yes, this drive has 1% per year failure rate and that has 3%...
but they are the same "unreliable" storage...

...personal stories... SCSI was good , no objections.
But lets go back to ground level.

I have Vertext-2 60G and 120G from OCZ.
both working ok after >5 years. People say it is most unreliable
brand and definitely far from "enterprise". My PC ecosystem
has >10y good old Barracuda 10.1 and bad recent WD Black and bad supposedly good SG drive ,
long-working Hitachi, WDs and Samsungs...

So, big picture -- it is hit and miss for any individual drive.
There is no silver bullet -- even best enterprise drive.
And I repeat after everybody above: backup-backup-backup...
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Aug 22, 2006
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george__ wrote: No they are not all the same sh8t... Stop buying consumer grade hard drives and use ones actually DESIGNED for the task.
Ah yes, because I've never had an enterprise drive fail. :facepalm:
I'm literally looking at 2 of them right now.
Only reason I haven't replaced them is because I'm moving that server soon so I'm hoping that 2 others don't fail.
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Mar 20, 2009
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george__ wrote: No they are not all the same sh8t... Stop buying consumer grade hard drives and use ones actually DESIGNED for the task.
Actually many of the WD drives are the same, with only the firmware different between versions. For example the "Red" NAS drives have firmware that allows the heads to settle longer because there are more vibrations from other drives physically grouped together in a NAS enclosure.

There are enterprise drives with physical difference, but it's buyer beware: you might not be getting what you think you're paying for.
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Oct 6, 2005
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shanjam wrote: They are quoting me $1200 to recover. They're an extremely reputable recovery company.

Is this standard for recovering important files?

He suggested WD BLACK OR RED with a SYNOLOGY NAS in the future.
Yes, that's about right. You're lucky it's even recoverable, sometimes the platters get damaged (head crash) and there's no way to recover your data.
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Jul 22, 2006
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death_hawk wrote: Ah yes, because I've never had an enterprise drive fail. :facepalm:
I'm literally looking at 2 of them right now.
Only reason I haven't replaced them is because I'm moving that server soon so I'm hoping that 2 others don't fail.
I never said they wouldn't fail & they're likely built better than their consumer counterparts. Is this worth it? Up to you.

I use WD RE & HGST Ultrastar drives in my primary NAS because

-- I get a longer warranty so if drive fails I'm more likely to make my money back
-- Better vibration tolerance which I think is important because I'm using a case not designed to house so many drives
-- Better quality internals (common sense, why would they provide longer warranty and use lower quality internals)
-- Upfront cost is worth tiny when spread out over warranty period

Say I had a RAIDZ2 pool go wonky because one of the disk decided to fail at four years old...

-- I would be one year too late for a WD Red but the WD Re would still be under warranty (3 vs 5 years)

Two options
1) I can turn off the NAS... The downtime doesn't have to be a bad thing, it could be used to test all the other drives

2) Hedge my bets on the NAS not losing another drive. I would feel more likely to gamble doing this since I wouldn't be out paying for two drives if another failed. And if the pool failed who cares I have my data backed up elsewhere too so I'm out some downtime but at least not downtime + hardware

Regardless
-- File RMA with express option and get a hard drive that week
-- Test the RMA replacement
-- Pop it in
-- Rebuild the ZFS pool

I'm out no money, no data lost (hopefully even if I keep the server running), no scrambling looking for money for 2-10+ drives, no scrambling trying to find the disk size etc

Price difference

HGST Ultrastar 4TB SAS - $362.52 (ncix) - 5 year warranty is costing me $72.50/year
WD Re 4TB SAS - $361.12 (ncix) - 5 year warranty is costing me $72.22/year
WD Red 4TB - $189.99 (ncix) - 3 year warranty is costing me $63.33/year

I bet you could knock the price on the WD Re down a bit by offering to bulk purchase, making the up-front cost negligible.
Member
Dec 23, 2015
353 posts
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Kingston, ON
Check Kroll Ontrack. They're in North York. Bestbuy uses them for their recoveries. Get an estimate from them, it may be cheaper then what bestbuy would charge (which would be 1.6k).
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death_hawk wrote: Ah yes, because I've never had an enterprise drive fail. :facepalm:
I'm literally looking at 2 of them right now.
Only reason I haven't replaced them is because I'm moving that server soon so I'm hoping that 2 others don't fail.
Can I ask what you use all this hard drive space for? You have a ton of hard drives!
[OP]
Member
Dec 26, 2011
348 posts
105 upvotes
Ottawa
Thanks for replies.

What do you recommend to backup data for an average person. I see that newegg has the WD Black 5TB on for $234. Would buying 2, and mirroring on a NAS be sufficient or overkill?

I was thinking of buying one WD Black, and a couple Seagate 2Tb portable drives (at the Source for $75) to backup the 5Tb.

I really would never need more than 2Tb.

Essentially a WD Black with a backup on each Seagate.
Sr. Member
Nov 14, 2008
813 posts
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Depending on how much you have to backup, I would pay for cloud storage such as google and have 1 local external backup.
or

Buy a HDD sata dock and x2 desktop WD drives green , red or blue - they wont be running very often as they will sit in x2 Hard Drive HDD Storage Protection Boxes /Cases (they should not be stored in the same location, eg one work, one home)

There is no need to buy black, they are designed for speed and would be overkill.


Personally I only backup family pictures 200 Gigs and docs (everything else can be reinstalled) have multiple computers which are regularly copied, a backup on an external drive and a backup stored off site updated every few months or after large changes.


shanjam wrote: Thanks for replies.

What do you recommend to backup data for an average person. I see that newegg has the WD Black 5TB on for $234. Would buying 2, and mirroring on a NAS be sufficient or overkill?

I was thinking of buying one WD Black, and a couple Seagate 2Tb portable drives (at the Source for $75) to backup the 5Tb.

I really would never need more than 2Tb.

Essentially a WD Black with a backup on each Seagate.
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Aug 22, 2006
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george__ wrote: I never said they wouldn't fail & they're likely built better than their consumer counterparts. Is this worth it? Up to you.
It's not. I've determined that. Backblaze has determined that.
I'd be surprised if others haven't figured it out pretty quick too.
-- I get a longer warranty so if drive fails I'm more likely to make my money back
Couldn't care less about warranty. When enterprise drives are literally double or more I'd rather buy 2:1 consumer drives.
Warranty takes time. Cold spares don't.
-- Better vibration tolerance which I think is important because I'm using a case not designed to house so many drives
I'd bet against this.
Backblaze agrees with me. Even using consumer drives in an enterprise way, they're looking at like 4-5% failure rates over the life of their drives.
-- Better quality internals (common sense, why would they provide longer warranty and use lower quality internals)
I'd bet against this too.
I'll give you as long of a warranty as you want if you pay me twice the price.
-- Upfront cost is worth tiny when spread out over warranty period
I'd rather have 2 drives and gamble that they both won't fail in the same warranty.
Spread over a bunch of drives, I'm easily winning that bet.
Two options
1) I can turn off the NAS... The downtime doesn't have to be a bad thing, it could be used to test all the other drives
Why would you turn off the NAS? Pull the drive, dump in a new one, tell the zpool where it is, resliver, call it a day.
2) Hedge my bets on the NAS not losing another drive. I would feel more likely to gamble doing this since I wouldn't be out paying for two drives if another failed. And if the pool failed who cares I have my data backed up elsewhere too so I'm out some downtime but at least not downtime + hardware
Assuming you're doing your scrubs regularly, I highly doubt another one will drop.
The only reason it happens in RAID arrays is because scrubs don't exist. The added stress of 24/7 operation for a week causes an already weak drive to give up the ghost.

-- File RMA with express option and get a hard drive that week
Or put in a cold spare and have it done within 60 seconds.
-- Test the RMA replacement
Same
-- Pop it in
Same
-- Rebuild the ZFS pool
Same except I'm done a week earlier.
I'm out no money, no data lost (hopefully even if I keep the server running), no scrambling looking for money for 2-10+ drives, no scrambling trying to find the disk size etc
Same. If anything I'm up money since i'm paying 1/2 price for my drives and am not paying for out of warranty replacements because I've already used my 1/2 price drives to budget in 30% cold spares and am not stressing because I have identical disks on my shelf ready to go instead of trying to find something that's similar in 5 years.

HGST Ultrastar 4TB SAS - $362.52 (ncix) - 5 year warranty is costing me $72.50/year
WD Re 4TB SAS - $361.12 (ncix) - 5 year warranty is costing me $72.22/year
WD Red 4TB - $189.99 (ncix) - 3 year warranty is costing me $63.33/year
4TB Seagate - $120 (at its lowest, $150ish now) 0 warranty (mostly due to shucking)
I'd rather have 3 Seagates than one HGST.
If you're buying Reds, you may as well be buying any other consumer drive.
I'd still be willing to bet that the $50 price difference (based on $130, aka the price point where I buy my 4TBs) on Seagate through shear numbers.
I get one drive free for every 4 drives purchased. That means as long as I maintain a less than 25% failure rate, I'm ahead of the game.

EDIT: Even you think Reds are a joke:
george__ wrote: But people who think the WD Red are that special bahahaha, it's a consumer drive with modified firmware.
So why should anyone buy them?
I bought into them when they first launched, thought about it, and realized they were stupid.
So I sold 16 of them to a friend of mine that wanted matching drives to his current 8.
I took a bath and he got a real good deal.

SickBeast wrote: Can I ask what you use all this hard drive space for? You have a ton of hard drives!
Some people collect stamps, I collect data.
That's kind of a lie since I've stopped collecting data in the last 8 months since I've had zero hard drive space.
You'd think someone with 300TB of space would have some free? Nah.

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