(Part of this is cross posted)
I figured out why the network drive wasn’t responding. It appears that the hard drive failed. Why how did you come to this conclusion? I made several attempts to connect the entire device through the network and by direct connection. After no response, I decided to pull the physical drive and test it in another computer. As all of the available and suitable computers are old, the results where unreliable. Although I had a suspicion that it was the drive, I needed to confirm it.
A Fry’s run. Normally I enjoy a jaunt to geek mecca, today I wasn’t feeling up to par and I already put time in doing diagnostics and cracking the case (the warranty is expired anyway) so I wasn’t thrilled. I thought of a couple of potential solutions and fortunately could afford, sort of, to get them both. I picked up a special USB cable for creating and peer-to-peer network and an SATA hard drive dock. The dock allows you to plug a hard drive directly into the dock.
Using the dock I found that the hard drive was fried. The mechanicals are good, but the on board control is screwed up from over heating. So what options do I have? Two, really. One, I could dink with the drive, having no experience opening a drive case or replacing the board; or two, send it off to a data recovery company. Lets look at the options. Option one, I stand a 90%+ chance of loosing all the data, but not spending any money. Option two, I have a 97%+ chance of getting all of my data back, but I spend $500 to do it. Oh, and I still need to get a back-up drive.
(not cross posted)
I have put the desk back together. Since it may be a few weeks before I get the data back, I have to put a few things on hold. I am trying to rebuild some of the data from other sources but the extraction is very slow going. I am building a file server on paper and will see how much that will cost.
In this day of home offices and everyone in the house on their own computers the back-up situation has gotten, interesting. When on the phone with one of the data recovery companies, I told him I was using a network drive and that it had been running for about a year. I was a bit thrown by his response, “Ya, thats about right. Actually you got your monies worth.”. I don’t agree with that last part. I can buy an inexpensive complete computer for $200-$400. A regular computer running on the network will last for several years, mainly because of the power saving features. Auto sleep, NIC access wake-up, HD spin down, and the like. Apparently the companies that build the pro-sumer / consumer network appliances didn’t account for this.
If you are looking to buy a network drive in this environment (home office / home) look closely at whether or not you need to shut the device down every night. A real computer can solve most of these issues and might just end up costing less, particularly if you want to run back-ups or add drive space on a whim. Don’t forget, just because they say it will work for a small office / medium, doesn’t mean it’s any better the standard home user equipment. It just means its more expensive, usually. If I thought I could compete with the lowball online discount retailers, and people would actually pay for quality, I just might sell custom built network storage / backup servers. I don’t think so.