OT: S.M.A.R.T. Status

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    Posted: 08 February 2010 08:49 AM

    Over the weekend, one of my drives (I have 4 in my Mac Pro) started to play up. I tried repairing it but to no avail. Disk Utility and Disk Warrior even barfed when encountering this disk. I tried a Data Rescue 3 deep scan and even that seemed to hang. I have now cloned the disk and am trying a Data Rescue 3 deep scan on the cloned disk.

    My question is this. Have you found a disk’s S.M.A.R.T. sensors warn you before a failure, or do you find that it’s only after the fact that the S.M.A.R.T. status shows that there’s a problem?

    I have Hardware Monitor running all the time and the first sign of trouble was when one of the sensors gave up the ghost. Does anyone have a good way of detecting a drive problem before it gets out of hand?

    [ Edited: 08 February 2010 11:31 AM by wheeles ]

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    Posted: 08 February 2010 09:01 AM #1

    After many, MANY problems with drives, I know one thing. They DIE regularly, no matter what precautions you take.

    Leading me to this conclusion, plan on that happening.

    I have two of these hanging out as my EXTERNALS now.

    FIREWIRE RAIDS

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    Posted: 08 February 2010 09:20 AM #2

    Apparently this drive (a WDC WD1500ADFD Raptor) has a 5 year warranty. I’ve only had it for 3 years. I may well try to get it replaced.

    Mind you, I would rather replace it with an SSD and the failed drive had a lot of personal/sensitive data on it, so it might not be worth it as I doubt I’d be able to scrub it.

    Comments?

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    Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. ? Jesse Livermore

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 09:37 AM #3

    Wheeles, I’ve never had SMART give me any useful data. Might be something Apple related - they don’t implement access to the feature because they consider it “beyond” the average user?

    Anyway, I’ve had drives fail and have sent them back. Never once had an issue or a problem, multiple manufacturers. The only hassle is getting down to the post office for mailing, and the time without the drive. I have my main drive mirrored, with a time machine backup.  Those OWC raid drives are nice, we have a couple of them at work.

    As far as scrapping personal data, you can try overwriting the entire drive with several copies of a large video file if you can’t get the disk utilities to zero it out. I only say this because you said you were able to clone it - so if the file system sees it, you might be able to do this overwrite.  If not, you might need to locate a degaussing pad. We used to have them around for erasing classified videotapes and other magnetic media.  Basically, put the disk on top of the pad, move all credit cards and other sensitive media to the next county, and turn on the power. 10 seconds - done. Here’s what I’m talking about. Not cheap but there may be one at a local financial company office.

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  • Posted: 08 February 2010 10:55 AM #4

    If you’ve cloned the disk, it sounds as if it basically works. Absolutely the safest way to proceed, because you never write on/with the faulty drive, so you don’t make it worse, and you can always start again.

    I think rezonate’s degaussing approach will void your warranty, as it will also destroy servo data. Sledgehammers are good too.

    Drives are extremely temperature sensitive, and incorporate lots of recalibration as temperature changes. Often they’ll work OK if spun up and allowed to warm to a stable temperature before the first access, but usually the drive is immediately spun down when it reports errors, so it never gets warm again, and never works again.

    Although basic UK consumer law says your claim under warranty is to your original supplier (retailer), the EU passed legislation specifically for drive manufacturers, and they have to accept direct warranty returns. Most have some sort of web implementation of serial number checking for this. Note that this only applies where you originally bought a drive. If you bought something else (eg a Mac) incorporating a drive, it does have to go back the way you got it.

    I find the safest thing to do is to replace drives after two years. The new one is usually so much bigger that the loss isn’t too bad. I put the old one in an external enclosure for occasional use, throwing away the old old one taken out of the enclosure.

    If you have four smaller drives instead of one big one, you can expect failures four times as often!

    I haven’t been entirely happy with my flash drive, but it seems stable now (Crucial 256GB in Macbook Pro 13).

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 11:15 AM #5

    I think the drive probably got cooked in my Mac Pro. These Raptors run quite hot. It’s not the first heat related hardware failure I’ve had in this box. Memory and a video card have failed previously. All heat related I believe.

    I had to use Data Rescue 3 to clone the drive. I couldn’t mount the drive at all using Disk Utility. I’ve now deep scanned the clone and am trying to find the data I wanted. It’s surprising how many other files are available even though that partition was practically full. It’s a shame Data Rescue 3 doesn’t have an option to scrub the failed disk.

    I’ve yet to determine the extent of what can be recovered, but even if I lost everything, there wasn’t anything too important or valuable on it.

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    Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. ? Jesse Livermore

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 11:45 AM #6

    wheeles - 08 February 2010 03:15 PM

    I think the drive probably got cooked in my Mac Pro. These Raptors run quite hot. It’s not the first heat related hardware failure I’ve had in this box. Memory and a video card have failed previously. All heat related I believe.

    I use this Temperature Monitor utility to watch my Mac Pros temp.
    And Western Digital has a line of “Green” hard drives that use less power and run cooler and quieter.

     

    :apple:

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 11:55 AM #7

    MacCube - 08 February 2010 03:45 PM
    wheeles - 08 February 2010 03:15 PM

    I think the drive probably got cooked in my Mac Pro. These Raptors run quite hot. It’s not the first heat related hardware failure I’ve had in this box. Memory and a video card have failed previously. All heat related I believe.

    I use this Temperature Monitor utility to watch my Mac Pros temp.
    And Western Digital has a line of “Green” hard drives that use less power and run cooler and quieter.

     

    :apple:

    With Hardware Monitor you can see the temperatures of all the various sensors and monitor power spikes, voltages etc. and set alert thresholds. I usually have the temperature of the hottest memory strip in my menubar. Whenever it goes over 70 degrees Celsius I manually jack up the fan speeds to bring the temperature right down. Whenever Flash video is running the temperature always shoots up.

    One reason for transitioning to an SSD would be to lower the internal temperature of my Mac. Not only do they run faster, but cooler.

    I’ve just noticed that the faulty drive has come available in Disk Utility. I may try to wipe it using that, but only once I’ve pulled any data off the clone drive.

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    Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. ? Jesse Livermore

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 12:54 PM #8

    Time to move to iMac rolleyes.  Change your Mac every two years.  Sell the old one in eBay.

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    Posted: 08 February 2010 01:52 PM #9

    Mace - 08 February 2010 04:54 PM

    Time to move to iMac rolleyes.  Change your Mac every two years.  Sell the old one in eBay.

    Every two years? It’s not a PC. What sort of stupid advice is that, Mace? It’s only a disk failure. I already have a spare iMac anyway.

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    Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. ? Jesse Livermore

         
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    Posted: 08 February 2010 01:58 PM #10

    HDDs just shell. Back-up and keep a spare on the shelf.

    All your base

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    Posted: 08 February 2010 03:57 PM #11

    Eric Landstrom - 08 February 2010 05:58 PM

    HDDs just shell. Back-up and keep a spare on the shelf.

    I’ve slotted in a spare drive and am trying to recover those few non-important items that weren’t already backed up. My drive is still under warranty, so am RMAing it back to Western Digital.

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    Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. ? Jesse Livermore

         
  • Posted: 08 February 2010 04:59 PM #12

    I use SMARTreporter to monitor my hard drives S.M.A.R.T. status. It’s very lightweight and compatible:

    http://www.corecode.at/smartreporter/

    If you’re lucky, the drive’s S.M.A.R.T. monitoring will give you enough lead time to allow you to back up the data you need before total failure occurs. I have actually been fortunate enough to be able to do so. In other words, S.M.A.R.T. is not necessarily useless.