Days of Dead Disks

So I had to recover data from my mom’s iBook a week ago. That took a while, and was a pain in the butt.

Sunday, around 9am, my wife tells me that my mail service isn’t working – so I have to go into the city to fix it. And cancel a U-Haul truck ($50 fee) which was going to haul crap from my old place to my new place. I go in, and my server is reporting both drives (RAID) are gone. I reboot, and it says one is gone. Fine, I put in another disk and let the RAID rebuild.

45 minutes to an hour or so later, I look at the server – and the new disk is dead! WTF!? So luckily, I have another, and I put that in. That fails the rebuild after just a few minutes. I called in reinforcements. Another rebuild attempt on another drive – failed. What the hell is going on?! In a fit of desperation, I decide to move the drives out of that chassis into another. Put in a new disk, the rebuild starts…and…no disk errors! It was a bad chassis.

Next day, I have to do data recovery for a client (his home disk had died, whereas his work disk was dying a few weeks prior, but I think my boss did the fix for that one). I use my time-honored technique (next blog posting, better title for it) to get the data off, and fsck the image, and it looks good. Ready to do the restore, just waiting on a new drive.

My boss shows up with a drive at 5pm (thanks, boss). I try to use asr to copy the data and…failure!

At this point, I’m beginning to doubt myself.

I try several different methods – the image file I just created won’t mount anymore. as a ‘crazy thing to try’ I move the image file off of the firewire disk, and onto the new disk, and figure I can try an in-place recovery. As soon as the data is copied, BLAM, the disk image is mountable again. So the firewire disk was failing.

Disks suck. Fucking suck. I’m surprised we trust our data to such awful, spinning, magnetic demonic devices. and I think my own personal good luck with disks has run its course, and I’m getting payback.

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