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Hard and Fast

The click of death. Or not. A use for UFB?

By Antonios K, in , posted: 12-Jul-2010 20:29

Well, it happened. Not overnight... and without warning.

My 500GB main disk died. No click of death. No warning from SMART. Nothing.

The disk had been running a little poorly for the last few months - an unfortunate fight between ACPI and APM meant it's XP partition was never the same again.

But this morning - nothing. Not even a parting goodbye.

The darn thing won't register. I doubt it's even spinning up.

Now, it wasn't completely unexpected.... I have a new 1TB drive with Vista Ultimate on it (and please don't start on why not Win7... I did not have $400 spare) that I was progressively moving to, at a speed the wife would accept.

So now we're on Vista, I have a dead HD I'm wondering to do with, and a lot of stuff to migrate very quickly.

But it got me thinking about the cloud, for the first time in a long time (especially given it's my job to have my head in the clouds).

I've lost no email. My precious media of the children is on a seperate HD (which is about to be backed up AGAIN!). But I would love to be able to have a safe store for what is important to me and my family.

With my TelstraClear Cable Internet, I can restore my email and any PC pretty easily - although getting Vista and the apps patched up again came to about 3GB in a day - but for real content? forget it. WHo can offer me 1TB of storage? and what Internet service can I use to upload that amount of info?

A home server might be the answer... but that also has a hard disk that will eventually die. On the story goes.

I've been struggling to think about what use a fast fibre network could be. This is one of the uses.

But then economic reality steps in... my wife says she'd pay $30/month to back our data. That's real world consumer expectation, and she doesn't care what's involved in making it happen.

SO who will be first with a 100Mbps Internet service and unmetered 1TB in the sky. $30 a month up for grabs.....

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Comment by Ross Nixon, on 12-Jul-2010 22:14

Just a few ideas to consider: - use a good surge protector and a quality PSU in your computers. - is a good online backup service and is free for the first 2GB. Also, it backs up the altered blocks of any file that is modified rather than the whole file again. - a home server should really have a RAID or similar setup, so if one drive carks it, your data is retrievable.

Comment by Dave Livesey, on 12-Jul-2010 23:20

For cloud backup, try Price is 54.95 USD per year, for unlimited storage. But earlier steps i would suggest are a move to cloud based email anyway.....

Comment by Kevin Andreassend, on 13-Jul-2010 10:00 allows 2gb free and 1gb file uploads, also nice feature is that you can upload videos and it has a player and you can moneytize the video

Comment by xcubed, on 13-Jul-2010 10:41

If the drive is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, you may have one of the drives with the dodgy firmware on them, and be experiencing the BSY issue. I had a 500GB drive die on me just a couple of weeks ago with this issue. 

The fix is not for the faint of heart, but it worked fine for me and I got all my data back. If you feel like hooking a serial cable up to the jumper pins, follow these steps: 

Comment by buzzy, on 14-Jul-2010 17:01

Other people have asked similar questions on the forums: how do you back up hundreds of gigabytes of data when your internet plan has a monthly data cap of 10Gb?

Right now, the answer is removable media (i.e. USB drives). They're simple to plug in, and you can take 1Tb with you to work so you're protected if the house is burgled or burns down. A home server won't protect against either of those events.

There are plenty of freeware backup utilities out there that make managing and automating backups simple - Microsoft's SyncToy powertoy works very well.

As you say, once we've all got 100Mbps connections and no data cap, things start to look a lot different. Storage, management, and power costs take over bandwidth as the major costs of a backup service.

Comment by richms, on 17-Jul-2010 15:58

I have home server and shed server which at the moment I manually keep synchronised since they are both pretty lousy performing machines with software raid on old style PCI conroller cards,

About 3TB of media. I expect that the online backup things have something in their terms about using them for "illegal" files so they have grounds to boot most people off for their media or music collection etc.

Not really game to trust my stuff to a company out of my control, out of NZ juristiction, and in most cases pretty unavailable for support concerns.

antoniosk's profile

Antonios K
New Zealand


Antonios has been actively employed in the IT & Technology sector since 1991, and has worked on many commercial projects and products in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Working in product or actively managing programmes of work, he has always focused on building for the end customer, and not just promoting new technologies. Industry experience includes all telecommunications areas for business and private customers, private insurance, loyalty, media, energy and gambling. 

Since 2013, he has been involved with the development and launch of many popular smartphone applications in New Zealand, including

- TAB Mobile
- AMI & State Insurance digital experience
- Fly Buys
- Newshub for web and app
- Genesis Energy & Energy Online
- MyACC for Business

Genuinely passionate about technologies, internet and computing in general, he lives in the city he was born in - Wellington, New Zealand, the creative heart of hub of digital sector for the country.