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[ARSCLIST] THANK YOU ALL (re disk recovery)

I wish to thank everyone who replied to my plea for assistance regarding the historic site that lost its data.

Briefly, the drive in question was a 40G Seagate 2.5" drive that had been installed in a Seagate router. The file system is some variant (TBD) that one would find under a Linux OS.

The tech who had been called in had sent the drive to CBL in the Greater Toronto Area. They are a reputable, multi-national company. The responses overwhelmingly favoured DriveSavers as the "go-to" place for this type of recovery. Other honourable mentions were OnTrack and DiskDoctor and their affiliates.

I suggest to potential clients with audio tapes: be careful you can damage the tape by trying to play it -- especially on an eBay machine -- these disk recovery places make the same warning. I did receive many helpful suggestions on do-it-yourself and I've filed them all for future reference. This drive has severe internal mechanical damage. CBL indicated it was one step above DOA.

DriveSavers said they'd heard this before and sometimes (but not all the time) they can recover when other people say "not likely". They are willing to try with a sliding scale based on percentage of data recovered and no fee for no recovery.

I've been added to the IT Committee and we're going to assess what is on the drive and what other backups we have. Finance and Membership both had thumb-drive backups, and we think that many of the former curator's research files have been printed so scanning with OCR is an option for them.

The critical item is the FileMakerPro database where about 3000 records have been lost describing objects in the collection.

The curator's computer was thought to be writing to this failed drive, but fortunately, it was writing to its own C: drive...but not being backed up. Now it is.

The backup failure was a really odd one. The backup system previously in use created a single file backup of this mini-NAS hard drive. Unfortunately, the backup target USB drive had been formatted FAT32 (this was a Windows XP system) and once the backup file grew larger than 4 GB POOF, the backup failed. This file size increase happened shortly after the system was installed in mid-2006, hence the massive loss of data. This is a hidden trap so beware of it. There was no notification of the failed backup that really warned the users.

Again many thanks for all of the warm and supportive responses and the helpful hints. It may be a few weeks before we know the results as we have to decide whether we are going to proceed and then do it. I was going to reply individually, but the massive outpouring of support has made that impossible. I hope some of you can use this as justification for better backup procedures. We discussed today the need for better backups and, to that end, I'm giving them two more 250 GB USB/FW drives.

Summary of lessons RE-learned:
-Don't ignore backups
-Test backups
-Understand the backup system and its limitations
-Make multiple backups and keep some off-site
-Use drive cases that have excellent heat dissipation, Avoid plastic drive cases
use only heavy aluminum ones or, better yet, well-ventilated NAS RAID Arrays
like Netgear or Thecus. Avoid the "My-book" type of drives.
Heat is a major drive killer.

And, don't forget when planning, you need to plan for both equipment failure and catastrophic disaster recovery. I received several comments from people who had unrecoverable drives from Katrina. DriveSavers even said they were able to recover only about half the drives they got about seven months later, but at least they were able to recover half.

Thanks a lot and Happy Holidays!!!



Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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