BlackBlaze, What Hard Drive Should I Buy?

My last two blog posts were about expected drive lifetimes and drive reliability. These posts were an outgrowth of the careful work that we’ve done at Backblaze to find the most cost-effective disk drives. Running a truly unlimited online backup service for only $5 per month means our cloud storage needs to be very efficient and we need to quickly figure out which drives work.

Because Backblaze has a history of openness, many readers expected more details in my previous posts. They asked what drive models work best and which last the longest. Given our experience with over 25,000 drives, they asked which ones are good enough that we would buy them again. In this post, I’ll answer those questions.

What Hard Drive Should I Buy? →

ReclaiMe – RAW file system recovery

“RAW filesystem” issue typically occurs when the filesystem type information is missing or inconsistent between several system tables. Such an issue is often associated with external drives unplugged without “Safely removing” them first. The tables often get damaged during unsafe removal.

The “RAW filesystem” is generally recovered quite well. The typical scenario is to recover data from a device with a RAW filesystem, then format the device and copy the recovered data back to the device.

The most typical symptom of RAW filesystem is that Windows prompts “You need to format the disk before you can use it”

You can perform a RAW filesystem recovery using the free – as in beer – ReclaiMe file recovery software for the Microsoft Windows platform.

I’m performing a scan of such a damaged drive while writing this down. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Hard Disk Hacking

While the hard disk controller is a beast without much data known about it, it’s still perfectly well possible to reverse engineer it and to write custom code for it. The unknown-ness of the controller does make it harder to write generic hacks, which makes me doubtfull that a thing like the evil firmware patch will ever be seen in the wild: it’s much easier to just get another zero-day software exploit than reverse engineer the firmware of every single hard disk every server you stumble upon has.

I also hope to have proven that a broken hard disk is something you can still use. While the mechanics of a broken HD probably are shot, the PCB still contains an usable embedded system, which actually is pretty powerful considering you can usually get broken hard disks for free.

via SpritesMods, Hard Disk Hacking →

on the internal hard-disk of the Western Digital MyBook Pro Edition

wd5000ks Here we are againg few days after my previous post about disassembling the Western Digital MyBook Pro Editionexternal hard drive.

After disassembling it I’ve tried in many ways (and with different tools) to recover it’s content, unfortunately without success … probably the recent, and frequent, mechanical sollecitations it has been subjected during the home/work/home daily routine have somewhat damaged the electronics since I got mixed error messages and error situations.

The disk within is a Western Digital (of course) model Caviar Blue / SE / SE16 (SATA II) having code: WD5000KS.

Please give attention to it’s alimentation connector (clicking on the image provided you’ll see a larger image) … when you’re going to replace it you’ll have to pay attention to this detail!

disassembling a Western Digital MyBook (Pro Edition)

It’s been two days now that I’m desperate on the (probable) loss of my data contained in the backup drive contained in the Western Digital MyBook Pro Edition and now I do thing I have two options: the data are corrupted (or lost … i do NOT hope so) or the enclosure and it’s internal controller are having a failure…

MyBook Pro Edition - courtesy of Tom'sHardware

As usual I’ve consulted the Google’s oracle and I’ve found two really complete links on how to disassemble this drive with ease thanks to their complete description AND photographic content.

  1. How to open the Western Digital 500GB MyBook Premium Edition chassis
  2. How to open the Western Digital My Book 500GB

The disassambling itself it’s not one of the most easy in the world, and it will make you say diverse 4-letter words against the project’s engeneers and their mothers 😉 … but you can do it with 3 screwdrivers, one “flat” and two “crossed”, one of normal size and the second really small … like the one you use to fix your glasses

I’ll let you know in the comments later on today or tomorrow how the disk will behave when diretly attached to the S-ATA controller of my pc at the office … with the hope of recovering ALL the content of the disk and – if the MyBook enclosure is failing – the beginning of the search of another enclosure rich as the Cooler Master X-Craft 350 I’ve told you a couple of years ago …

Advices ???

The image in the post is taken by a great review of the drive by the Tom's Hardware staff properly linked in the post. Thank you guys!

Cooler Master X-Craft 350

Some days ago a colleague at work gifted me with a 250GB’s PATA hard-disk, since the enclosure that was retaining it had some serious issue. While I was investigating on the causes he got a new disk+enclosure and later on I found that was an electronic problem with the USB 2.0 controller.

BTW he got a new disk and I had his “old” one.

Cooler Master X-Craft 350

So I begun a quest for an eclosure for 3,5″ disks which at least had and USB 2.0 and a FireWire interface, since my positive experiences with the Western Digital MyBook drive and some other 2,5″ external disks ….. really, I wonder everyday why all the external disks aren’t FirwWire since it’s perfomance and it’s versatility.

So I went to a local store [an italian specialized brand: PC City] and found it.

The device is a Cooler Master X-Craft 350 (link) in the RX-3HA flavour. It’s main features are:

  • Tool-free and Easy Installation
  • Fan-less Silent Heat Dissipation Design
  • Two USB 2.0 Hi-speed Ports
  • HDD Shock-proof Mechanism
  • Two FireWire 400 Ports
  • MultiTRAK™ Technology provides transaction translator per USB port to ensure that hard disk and the other USB devices have best performance

All this for a street price of 44 euro.

So far I am really happy with this product, daisy-chaining it with my other FireWire disks. So happy that I am probably getting another couple of this!

See ya!