Posts Tagged ‘SATA’

Reuse of SATA Drives in New Containers

21 April 2012

A buddy of mine donated a couple external drives to St. John’s a couple years ago. They are USB devices, and I’ve been using them as portable backup devices. A couple months ago, both stopped working. As is the usual practice, in each case I did something else to get the data moved as I was in a hurry.

These were Western Digital model 3107 (120GB) and 3207 (160GB) devices.

I eventually brought the drives home, and decided to take a look at them and see if I could get them working. I was surprised when I opened them up – they were SATA drives! And they were *both* remanufactured. An outfit called Ontrack Data Recovery Services had opened them up and then rebuilt them. My buddy said they were bought new by his dad, who never bought anything that wasn’t first class. So I doubt they were marked as reconditioned or rebuilt or anything like that.

So I am kind of surprised by this. The reconditioned drives are both Western Digital also; usually a good brand, but like all mechanical devices they are subject to failure. The USB-to-SATA interfaces from each container work fine, and so like all interfaces they are potentially very useful, and so they go into the tool kit I carry around (I’ve done a couple SATA-to-SATA clones, and they are bitching fast compared to IDE).

And if I ever buy an external backup drive, I’m going to open the darn thing up right there in the store and check it out.

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Another Linux Win

11 January 2010

Had another Linux mini-win this weekend.

A friends laptop computer crashed due to a bad power supply. She needed the files, and I am happy to recover them if I can. So I pulled the drive; it was a SATA drive. I looked for an external drive carrier, they are more than $75, too expensive; I needed to move the files to DVD. I tried mounting the drive into my main desktop, since I had found some SATA data cables and we had had a standard four-pin Molex to SATA power connector donated, but the inserted SATA drive screwed up the drive mappings in my GRUB and so the computer wouldn’t boot. I played with ways to change the drive mappings with no luck. My very cute but computer-using roommate has a computer with a SATA drive, but she is constantly on and the machine is hard to get at, so that was out.

So I thought a little bit, and decided to take my SATA laptop and use it. I pulled the “native” drive out, put the drive to be recovered in, and booted from my System Rescue CD. The laptop booted and we were off. SysResCD mounted the NTFS SATA drive with no problems. It started the laptops built-in wireless and connected to my home network. I had to set a root password, and then I went to my desktop and fired up my open source FileZilla GUI client. FileZilla went to the laptop via Secure FTP, and I was dragging and dropping the files with no glitches.

Well, three glitches. Two were unusual – the house WiFi access point lost it’s mind twice during the transfer process. I had to repower-reboot it (note, I wonder why. It was still working for the two computers hard-wired into it, but it would not talk to the two computers connected into it via access point. I wonder if it was a data volume issue, or a buffer problem). The cool thing was that FileZilla remembered the stuff I was trying to transfer but was still in queue, so I didn’t lose anything. The first WiFi croak was also a bit fortuitous in that I was starting to run out of disk space on the machine I was recovering to (there was about 20GB of stuff to be recovered), so I took the opportunity to copy a lot of the stuff off to DVD using the open source CDBurnerXP Pro.

It did take a while to transfer all that data over the house WiFi link between the computers – about eight hours total. Fortunately, I was doing stuff around the house, so it wasn’t like I was sitting there the whole time watching the display.

So all the stuff was transferred and burned off to five DVDs. I was writing this and feeling very happy with the results, when I… realized I could have done it much faster, or at least more directly.

This is how I should have done it. Mount the SATA drive into my main computer (which will not boot using the installed disks and GRUB), but boot the computer from the System Rescue CD directly. Then, mount the SATA disk, and use the DVD burner program on the SysResCD to write the data directly from the SATA disk to the DVD. I probably would have been done in an hour that way.

Live and learn. Linux Rules.