Remember that fast, new 2.5″ 7200RPM Seagate 500GB hard drive that I installed in Mac Mini No. 3? Don’t bother, it is dead. It gave no warning (sounds, clicks, errors, etc.), but it died none the less. Just to make sure, I let Disk Warrior run for about five hours, and it too confirmed that the drive was dead. Do you like my “screen shot”?
In a non-scientific study conducted on my twenty or so hard drives currently and recently in use, 100% of the failures have been Seagate drives. The only other failure being a member disk in my RAID. Aside from that, I have had some DOA Seagate drives. I don’t dislike Seagate drives (yet), but I do still prefer Hitachi over most others.
That said, I replaced this Seagate with *gasp* a Western Digital. I don’t and haven’t liked Western Digital drives since sometime in the early 1990s. In fact, it has been so long that I don’t remember why I disliked them. So, with no Hitachi drives immediately available, I got a WD Scorpio Blue 5400RPM 500GB drive. Based on my experience with OE Western Digital drives in Dells, this drive will either be fine, or grind itself into a noisy and expensive powder. We will just have to wait and see.
What about the data? Well, as with the RAID failure, I didn’t lose any data. I use a combination of RAID, scheduled automated backups, and periodic off-site archiving to protect my data. In this case, I used the scheduled automated backups, aka Time Machine, to recover my data. The disk failure occurred sometime on the morning of 14 November. I used a Time Machine backup from the evening of 13 November to restore the system. The recovery process took three to four hours to restore approximately 300GB of data from an external FireWire 400 drive. Additionally, Apple Mail required around a half hour to rebuild my inboxes, iPhoto performed some sort of maintenance, and for some reason the time zone had to be reset.
Overall, I didn’t lose any data and the dead drive was only a minor inconvenience. In fact, the biggest problem I had was locating a SATA 500GB 2.5″ drive locally that was actually in stock. I have some more details on the backup and archiving systems I use; perhaps they will show up in a future post…