Tag Archives: Hard Drive

Bargain or White Elephant?

I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to create a bootable clone of the MacBook hard drive as additional security in case of drive failure, so in order to do that I needed to grab a new external hard drive. Whilst I do have space on other drives, one of the key requirements is to reformat the drive to MacOS Extended (Journaled), the same as the internal drive, in order to produce the clone. Doing that means the drive is no longer useful for swapping files from Mac to PC and back.

Anyway, I’ve previously bought a Samsung S2 USB 2.0 Drive for copying video sequences from the DVR attached to the CCTV system at Church, and really happy with the performance of the drive I thought I’d go for one of those again.

The drives are available in a variety of capacities and colours, however whenever you search Amazon for the Samsung S2, this is what comes up first – the Samsung S2 500GB Portable USB 2.0 Hard Drive With Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” Full Length Movie Pre-loaded – Limited Edition. Alongside their regular colours Samsung have produced a number of special editions when they load a movie onto part of the drive, however whilst you have to search quite hard for the others this one keeps coming up at the top of searches, and did so several months ago when I bought the previous drive. The other interesting thing to note is that although it is a 500Gb drive, it is retailing for less than the 320Gb drive – the only difference between that and the regular drive is having about 1.17Gb of space given over to the movie, and the design.

So is this a bargain or a white elephant that is proving difficult to sell? If you’re a Michael Jackson fan it could be a great purchase, although I’d expect you’d either have the Blu-ray or DVD versions of the movie. If you’re not a fan, you could just buy the drive delete the movie and use it, but the interesting thing is that people don’t seem to be doing that, myself included.

I bought a White 500Gb drive first time around, and a Red 320Gb this time – I guess maybe I’m a little influenced by not wanting to go through an explanation every time I pull the drive out, and since the movie is apparently encoded in a Windows Media file that would need converting to watch on a Mac anyway, plus the other colours were on next day delivery and this one isn’t, and in both cases I needed the drives relatively quickly, hence I passed.

However, if you’re wanting a bargain, I can certainly recommend the S2 drives, they are pretty sturdy plastic, with a leather(ish) pouch and a short USB cable – so everything you need – and if you want a bit of a bargain, or are a Jackson fan then the Michael Jackson Special Edition is for you!

Salvage Work

I’ve had an interesting evening… A few days ago I realised that the original scans of a couple of old pictures were only on the hard drive of my old PC – no problem I thought, I’ll just hook the old box up to the network at the weekend and copy the files off…

Not as simple as I first thought, as the old PC steadfastly refused to boot. Out came the screwdrivers, and I then tried to get the two hard drives from inside the PC to read using either my current PC, or the Mac using an external hard drive box – the smaller drive, containing only applications read fine, but the data drive kept coming up with errors – apparently well and truly dead.

I tried a couple of the apps I’ve used before for recovering data from dead memory cards, but that didn’t produce anything, so eventually I tried a demo copy of Data Rescue II which successfully produced a list of tens of thousands of files on the drive. Unfortunately for me what it totally failed to find was any sort of directory structure, so for pictures I had a directory full of over 5000 jpeg files with default sequentially numbered names. Since the demo copy of the software only allows you to pull off one file, that was a bit of a problem – so out came the credit card to get a full license key.

The recovery process took a couple of hours, so I now have a folder on the Mac filled with everything the software managed to retrieve – the pictures I wanted are there, along with all sorts of other pictures I’d forgotten I even had. There are also hundreds of old word documents, PDF files, and even my old e-mail files, all of which will have to be sorted. There are quite a few corrupt files, but from a hard drive that seemed totally dead to both Windows and MacOS X, that’s a pretty big turnaround.

Anyway, if anyone else has a hard drive die on them, I do now have a copy of a bit of software that will pull off most of the data… 🙂

Great Support from Storage Depot

I’ve mentioned Storage Depot before, when I posted about the mini hard drive I bought from them back in January. They are a great little specialist local company, who are focusing on a specific market – computer storage including external hard drives, CD/DVD writers and more specialist devices to back up digital cameras, and provide networked storage (NAS). Essentially, I think they’re a good example of the kind of Global Microbrand that Hugh McLeod often talks about – concentrating on a small market but using the internet to provide a large customer base.

Today I got a bit more experience of their service. One of my earlier purchases from them was a 160Gb desktop firewire drive, that I used as a backup device when I was experimenting with the Tiger upgrade last year. Ultimately it proved to be a good purchase, as it allowed me to swap back to Panther when I had problems.

After the upgrade, I essentially put it on a shelf until I needed it again, which was at the end of last week, when I wanted to backup the contents of my laptop. However, when I plugged the drive in, although it sounded like the drive inside spun up to speed, it didn’t register on the computer. After trying different cables, sockets and so on, I still couldn’t get it to appear, so I popped off an e-mail to the Storage Depot address. In the e-mail I mentioned that as I worked in Wokingham, I could drop the drive off if that was okay.

I got a reply yesterday morning from Tiël Holdstock saying that their warehouse was down at Winnersh, but that he lived in the centre of Wokingham, and if I wanted to drop the drive off at his house he would take a look. I didn’t have the drive with me, but this lunchtime I dropped it by his house, and within a couple of hours he’d contacted me saying that he’d checked the unit and replaced the interface card. Although he didn’t have a Mac, so he couldn’t check the contents of the drive, it was now appearing on his computer. He said that if I wanted him to test it properly he would have to format it, but if I was happy to test it myself, he’d happily take another look. I went and collected the drive on the way home from work, and plugged it in and it worked fine. I’ve since repartitioned the drive, and copied data onto it, all without problems so all appears well. When I collected it he was very apologetic about the failure of the interface board, but as I said to him, it’s not a problem, these things occasionally fail – indeed that is the whole point of taking a backup! What marks it out is the standard of response you get when something goes wrong, and here Storage Depot were great, and I’d happily recommend them to anyone who is looking for any kind of storage – and they do everything from the smallest 256Mb pen drives right up to 1.6Tb network storage.