Disk Warrior versus Data Recovery

Disk warrior has long been a favourite utility used by mac support companies and enthusiasts to analyse and repair Macintosh disks. It is favoured mainly for it’s simplicity and many features including data recovery.

As a data recovery company we have received many mac hard drives from clients who had previously used Disk Warrior to attempt to gain access to their data. In some cases the particular hard drive being examined was too severely damaged for Disk Warrior to be of any use. In other cases Disk Warrior was used but the data left afterwards was corrupt and not accessible.

The problem is not so much the utility itself, but the lack of a users understanding of how powerful this utility is. This is a quote used on Alsoft’s website that can be misleading.

“ Simply click the rebuild button and Disk Warrior goes to work ”

In any data loss situation writing to the hard drive that has your lost data is something that should never happen, as it is this writing process that can do more damage than good. If you allow DiskWarrior to write a repaired structure to your disk, you lose any chance of getting back data what was missed out. If the rebuilt data is damaged, the disk will be in a worse state than the original failure.

We recommend that you read the documentation that comes with the utility carefully and fully understand its capabilities.

Seagate May Sue Rival SSD Makers

The next battle in the war on SSDs may have just begun. Apparently Seagate are convinced that SSD makers such as Samsung and Intel are violating some of Seagate’s (and Western Digital’s) patents. The wizardry which relates to the way a storage device communicates with a computer is at stake, even though Seagate themselves don’t appear too taken with an SSD based future. CEO Bill Watkins is quoted as saying, “realistically, I just don’t see the flash notebook sell.” I would have to agree with that at the moment. Cost per GB, reliability and speed are among the many drawbacks currently facing solid state drives when compared to traditional hard disk drives. Once these issues are resolved then the need for regular backups will become all the more important in my eyes at least. There are currently many ways in which we can resurrect a failing hard drive but next to no ways to recover a failed SSD.

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Hard Drives Vs Solid State Round 1

It seems the backlash may have already begun. As we expected the current batch of SSDs are no match for the long perfected hard drives. Reports of customers returning solid state laptops are apparently hitting the 10-20% mark. I would like to think that a new revolutionary data storage medium gets into the market place before SSDs really take hold. I have an SSD in my EEE pc which is fine but I can’t help thinking a 30GB 1.8″ drive would have been far more versatile. Let’s see what developments appear in round 2. Will the SSDs fight back? (I think not…)

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1.6TB Ultra320 SCSI SSD

According to Engadget, BiTMICRO have announced a new solid state drive which packs in 1.6TB of storage into a 3.5″ form factor drive. The E-Disk Altima E3S320 promises sustained data transfer rates of up to 230MB per second and are also expected to be available in more modest 16GB varieties. Engadget suggest remortgaging your house which may not be too far wrong if current SSD costs are anything to go by.

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Samsung to release 1.3 inch drive in January

Apparently set to be unveiled at CES in January, this little baby is aimed squarely at “mobile consumer devices.” Whether that means some next-gen iPods or maybe even phones is anyones guess. Also no mention of capacity on these drives yet. (I love the cat picture in the original article too.)

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Hitachi Talks of 4TB Drives

Hitachi has apparently just started talking of their latest breakthrough in ridiculously HUGE capacity hard drives. These 4TB 3.5″ drives feature read/write heads that are 2,000 times smaller than a human hair. They also go on to mention that the same techology would allow a 1TB 2.5″ drive.

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Americans Start Stockpiling Hard Drives

It would appear that the ITC has launched a patent investigation concerning five manufacturers that could mean higher costs and supply difficulties in the states. The patents owned by a Californian couple cover the use of ceramic bonding tips on the internal wiring of the drives. Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are all in the frame for importing the drives into America. In my opinion it looks like the patent only covers a very obvious progression in the manufacturing process which would likely have been reached independently. We should see how this pans out in the next few weeks.

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Toshiba Announce 240GB 1.8″ Drive

Toshiba DTR vs PMR
Toshiba DTR vs PMR

Toshiba announced some breakthroughs in magnetic storage that could theoretically see the 1.8″ hard drives pushing 240GB using two platters. Using a new process which adds grooves to the disc surface, Toshiba have been able to get 120GB per platter. Apparently this process is best suited to small drives such as 1.8″ & 2.5″ drives. Although this would mean a nice fat drive in our iPod, this process is expected to reach the manufacturing process in 2009.

The Worlds Worst Backup Solution; LaCie Big Disk Extreme+ 2TB

Anyone that has ever looked inside one of these “drives” will realise that they are only suitable for temporary storage capacity. There is nothing magical inside the enclosures, just a couple of standard hard drives and a small RAID 0 controller. What people (ie. general users) tend to do with a drive of this capacity is copy over all of the big data (pictures, movies and music) from their desktop or laptop computer and then delete it from the original location to save space. Not only is this not a backup but the chances of this drive failing are more than doubled due to the fact that the data is striped across two drives, either of which could fail at any time. In a RAID 0 only one drive needs to fail to take out all of the data.

One terabyte drive fails = 2TB of data gone!

Anyone thinking of using one of these should consider buying two and using software to mirror them. At least you would have some redundancy. There are of course much easier and not to mention cheaper ways to set up a redundant backup solution. We will post a more detailed guide of how to do this in the near future.