External Drive Help


Hi All,

I had a surprise yesterday when my external drive - a Western Digital 1TB My Passport suddenly refused to recognise certain of my music folders (high-res and DSD downloads). I also received an error message - cyclic redundance check. Fortunately after running tools and check disk, the drive started working again and I re-imported the missing music files in JRiver.

This external drive is connected to my Baetis Server and plays music (mainly CDs ripped to FLAC using DB Poweramp) through the JRiver software. However, I am also starting to download more music over the web and this issue got me thinking as to how I might improve my back up system as these downloads have no physical media back up like a CD.

Currently as per Baetis` recommendations, I rip music to a separate external drive on my laptop using DB Poweramp or I download directly from websites like HD Tracks - in each case this music is transferred to My Passport External Drive. In addition, every time I download new music I manually copy across these files to a Seagate 4TB back-up hard drive.

Do you think I could be doing anything better in terms of handling files? I suspect it becomes a matter of how much redundancy I am prepared to pay for but interested to hear from people with more experience. It would also be great to be able to configure the Seagate back-up drive to copy certain files automatically from the My Passport drive but not sure this is possible.

Thanks in advance

James
vicks7
If I ever go this route, I think I'll use one of these.

ToneAudio did in review on this model and really liked. Sorry, I tried to find the review, but couldn't.
Hi Vicks7
I am not an expert,have read pages upon pages over the years on this topic and seems to me,that,people who know their way around with computers trying and explain it,in such a way that make it so hard to understand and follow instructions through.
Here is my method for better or worst.
Music is on my main hard drive,a WD My Passport Studio 1TB.
Then this drives is backed up on another WD My Passport 1TB.
The second drive stays disconnected and only gets hooked to my Mac for back up of new files added on the primary drive.
Then an extra back up to WD My Book Live 2TB exists over WiFi.
Finally a Lacie 3TB acts as 4rth back up that is also serving music to my macmini i5 server/JRiver music player.
A few months ago I bought a Assustor NAS (two bay) along with one WD Red Seal 4TB hard drive.
I haven't used it yet and still remains in its carton,I am getting a second WD Red Seal 4TB soon and will get it all set up. But I know already it will be a challenge for me and my limited knowledge with networking.
I have not figure out yet (even though it was explained to me) how to perform an automatic back up update of new files added from one drive to another. I believe it's called rsync this or the other.
I still do back ups manually,you know it works and it's not so bad.
Sorry for the long post.
George
The first thing I would recommend you do is get rid of any WD drives. They're very slow and extremely unreliable. There's not too many people that make HD's anymore, but of all the common brands, I think Seagate is the best. So, If it were me, I would just get Seagate drives, both internal and external. I would also get an good surge suppressor with a battery back up. You can get a nice one for about $100 to $150.
I have two of the QNAP NAS boxes with the same library on
each and keep them at different locations. They update
each other over ethernet (slow) or by my taking a 4tB HD
from one to the other.

I have a couple of the 1-2tB portable drives for casual
loads.

P.S.: I used them with a Baetis, too.
Thanks all - very helpful. I had not appreciated that the WD drives were unreliable. I will look into this. The QNAP looks a beast and I will read up more about this.

Kr4 - what have you moved on to after the Baetis?
Zd542, I disagree with the blanket statement that WD are unreliable. They make some great drives (as does Seagate). The key understanding is that all hard drives will fail eventually.

Consequently, an automated backup solution IS A MUST. I recommend Crashplan, which has unlimited backups to locally-connected drives, drives on your friends' computers (encrypted so that they can't see your data), and online at Crashplan's central data storage. They have unlimited data storage plan; I have easily 3-4 TB backed up on their servers (and my other computers in my private network).

I would invest the time to have a solid backup strategy before sinking any more money or time into music downloads or CD rips. It will pay dividends in the future, as you've just learned.

Michael
Recently I got into the digital arena of music, being mostly a vinyl listener.

For storage I have a Netgear ReadyNAS 102 connected to a switch at my stereo. This resides in the basement at the opposite end of the house from my backup. Backup is connected via USB to my router (the 102 is wired from the same router). It isn't an option to have backup via WiFi because there are too many users in the family. The router is on the first floor of may house at the opposite end. Therefore my NAS and it's backup are as far apart as possible and connected to the same LAN.

The only fear that remains is a whole house fire. I think of that as rather slim possibility, but possible. For somewhat foolproof backup I am considering a second ReadyNAS 102 to reside at an offsite location (work). Some of the latest NAS units have easy to setup software to encrypt data and talk to one another over the internet.

This is not an ad for Netgear...I just like the same brand equipment since the software tends to speak with one voice. However, I made one crucial error...only important to my setup, which is that the latest ReadyNAS software doesn't work with Minimserver software that I would like to employ. I've learned to work around it but not what I intended to do (personal problem...not related to this topic).

My biggest point is to keep it simple and determine what you think is realistic. I like a twin disk NAS with 1 backup in a remote location.
I also received an error message - cyclic redundance check
That's a hardware error where the data in a sector does not match up with the number stored for verification. You were lucky that it was recovered. The only thing that may have caused that is if you lost power while the drive was writing data that is not the fault of hardware. When the hard drive writes data it also counts the number of bits that are active. Then it writes that number at the end of the sector.

That said I would personally consider another back up drive/device. Assuming the crc error was NOT as a result of a power failure or maybe a static discharge causing the crc not to be written. Otherwise it could happen again and not be recoverable. But the fact that is was recoverable this time is a pretty good indication it MIGHT not hardware.

It seems as if you already have a back up of your WD Passport on the Seagate. I would suggest replacing the WD with a NAS that runs mirroring and keep the Seagate. I have an inexpensive Iomega NAS that mirrors and if I have a drive failure when I replace the faulty drive it will automatically restore the replacement drive. I personally have Seagate drives in mine. I also have it on a battery. As far as brand I will say if man made it - it will break. Over the last 20 years I have seen less failures with Seagate. I also have some WD 4gb disks that still work and they are over 12 yrs old. My recommendation is never to buy the least expensive but somewhere in the middle of the line up. The most expensive only features faster read and writes which not necessary for audio streamers.
I agree with Michael's comments re Western Digital, and about the inevitability of drive failure. I would put it that backup strategies should be based on the assumption that any drive can fail at any time.

Regarding online backups, though, a point to keep in mind is that if and when it ever becomes necessary to download all of the online data, the time required may be very unreasonable. For example, downloading 2 terabytes of data on a 100 mbps internet connection, and assuming that the server at the other end can supply data at that rate (a big "if"), and assuming that the internet and ISP servers in between also do not limit that rate (another big "if"), would require around 56 hours of non-stop downloading. A 15 mbps connection would increase that to around 373 hours!

Regards,
-- Al
I do not know if you can take the warning against WD drives generally. I use WD Red 4T drives and they are rated well, 2nd only to the Hitachi drives in their category (SMB/SOHO/consumer). So far, none have failed me but, of course, nothing lasts forever.

I still use the Baetis and I am having it upgraded to XR3.
P.S. to my previous post: To be sure it's clear, when I said that "I agree with Michael's comments re Western Digital," I was agreeing with Michael/Sufentanil's statement that he "disagrees with the blanket statement that WD are unreliable."

I've used many WD drives over the years, with no failures at all in the last dozen or so years. Some of those drives have close to 60,000 hours on them.

Also, re the comment about speed, based on measurements I've performed on the WD drives I've purchased, all of which are either 7,200 or 10,000 rpm, those drives (at least) are certainly not slouches!

Regards,
-- Al
Al made a VERY good point about "cloud" backup - it is abysmally slow for large data transfers. This is not an issue if you simply need to restore a few files or a small folder. But once you start looking at multi-GB restores, cloud backups are, IMHO, just about worthless...

-RW-
Thanks for the headsup on CrashPlan, Sufentanil! This looks like a good piece of software and the fact that using it for local backups is free is very appealing.

I doubt I will take advantage of their cloud backup service because I do not wish to incur the cost and I have plenty of local storage to suit my needs.

I have just downloaded and installed it, will be testing it over the next few days to see if it's a keeper...

Best Wishes,

-RW-
"03-09-15: Sufentanil
Zd542, I disagree with the blanket statement that WD are unreliable. They make some great drives (as does Seagate). The key understanding is that all hard drives will fail eventually."

Actually I said slow and unreliable. If I said anything else, I'd be lying. Those are the results I got. But I will say that I haven't tried all of their different models. I've used the red, blue and green ones, but not the black and purple ones. The black ones are supposed to be the best, but given my experience with all the other ones, I'm not anxious to try them. Not only that, they're a lot more expensive. Seagate, at least in my experience, last a lot longer and run at better speeds.
I've used the red, blue and green ones, but not the black and purple ones. The black ones are supposed to be the best, but given my experience with all the other ones, I'm not anxious to try them.
ZD, thanks for your inputs. The positive experiences I cited with WD drives, that occurred subsequent to their introduction of the "color" designations many years ago, have been with the "black" 7,200 rpm drives, and also with 10,000 rpm Raptors.

What I would suggest to the OP is that before finalizing selection of a drive that he check the user ratings and comments at Newegg.com for the particular candidate, and compare it with the ratings for competitive drives. While keeping in mind that negative experiences tend to be disproportionately represented in those ratings.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks all - this thread has been very helpful.

My Passport drive completely failed this morning so I have removed it from the Baetis. As I am in Brazil we have much more limited choices for external drives but there are some Seagates available and I may go with one of these or maybe two - and have two separate back-ups.

I am less clear on NAS and how for example I could set one up to automatically update over the internet - I assume it would not need to be connected 24/7 to the Baeis. However my existing portable drives are not wireless so unclear how they would communicate to the NAS. Does anyone have a walk though they could send me?

The Seagate NAS STBP100 is available in Brazil - has anyone used this?

Thanks
I have been running reliably with Seagate external USB drives for a few years now and can easily recommend those. Mine came with decent backup software pre-installed which is a nice bonus.
So I bought a second WD Red 4TB. Now I am ready to set up my Assustor 2 bay NAS in Raid 1.
Strangely enough the second WD drive cost me 20 mote than first one,5 months ago.
I expected them to lower in price BUT the opposite happens,the prices keep going up it seems.
George
I meant to say 20 dollars more in cost.
Damn auto spell check.
George
"Strangely enough the second WD drive cost me 20 mote than first one,5 months ago."

Its probably a fake. Did you get the HD from an authorized WD dealer?
Yes,it's genuine Western digital sealed,exactly identical to my first one.
Bought from same store,Canada Computers outlet.
The store clerk explained to me that hard drives go up and down in price,also Canadian dollars is weak right now.
Best
George
I just went through a cyclic redundancy check issue with a WD 4 Tb drive. It worked fine most of the time then I would see an error. I tried ckdisk on it and it never finished. I also had virus scans just hang. Finally replaced the drive and all is well. I think there was something wrong with the control hardware/software but I could not track it down. My point is that you should keep a close eye on your drive. The problem may come back.
I have good luck with 1TB Fantom drives. For about 10 years i use one at work for backup and one at home. I use it for the music, pictures etc. In addition I have two backups (total of 4 Fantoms). I keep one at home and one at work just in case of fire or theft. I do backup from time to time alternating drives. Unpowered drives tend not to fail. As I said I have good luck because other people have failures with them. Same might be true with WD. I don't know if it is just particular batch or luck.
Agreed Dtc and the problem did come back. The drive is now useless so I have just ordered a replacement Seagate external drive. It is shame that the companies that sell the music downloads do not allow us to re-download in these circumstances although this would also be a major hassle so having decent back-up seems the only way to deal with this.
"Same might be true with WD. I don't know if it is just particular batch or luck.
Kijanki (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

WD used to be one of the best HD's you could get, and then, for whatever reason, the quality went downhill. I used to by custom PC's from this one company, because I used to be into flight simulators, and I remember when they were forced to drop WD altogether. But you're right. Even if the quality has gone down, that doesn't mean that every HD they make will fail.

Vicks7,

Sorry. My comment about the HD being a fake was a joke. There's been a current rise in the number of counterfeit audio products. Cables mostly. I didn't think anyone would take it seriously.
Rlwainwright, most of the reputable cloud backup services offer options to "seed" the data on their system from a hard drive that you send them, and to send you a hard drive with data for restore. So you can skip the sometimes month-long process of backups over a slow Internet connection for Terabyte-quantity data.

Generally, though, this involves a fee (I've often seen between $100 and $200). But you have to factor in the value of your data, such as how much money you spent on the CD's and what your time was worth spending hundreds of hours over the course of years ripping those CD's. So it could easily be money well spent to provide another layer of protection to your data.

As a former computer professional and long-time audio enthusiast, my best advice to someone either already into computer audio or just starting out in it are:

1) Start with a multi-faceted backup plan. This means local and offsite backups. In my opinion, they should be automated (to ensure that they get done, and get done frequently). Crashplan and similar services (Mozy, Carbonite, etc) make this easy.
2) Understand that RAID (1/5/6/10) DOES NOT MEAN PROTECTION FROM MOST DATA LOSS SITUATIONS. It protects against ONE thing only: The loss of a single hard drive. And that assumes you can detect it and replace it in a timely fashion.
3) Use commercial-grade drives. For bang for the buck, I recommend Western Digital's SE drives. I've had several operating continuously for several years. I also use WD's RE3 and RE4 drives. Not cheap, but I've also never had one fail. Seagate has some nice drives, too. Check Newegg reviews and you'll find the drives that are the reliable workhorses.
4) BE ORGANIZED. This means having a consistent way of tagging the data from the start (especially important with Classical music, as that's still rather challenging to deal with, since much of our software and tags seem to be more designed for pop music).
5) Stay flexible. Don't start using a proprietary method for storing your data that can't easily be adapted to other software. This is where FLAC is very useful, as it's (almost) ubiquitous; the major exception is iTunes.
6) Don't lose sight of why you're doing this. Sit back, relax, and let the computer discover songs in your collection that you've forgotten about and never would have thought to play. Enjoy the ease with which you can select music to play, and even play throughout the house.

Michael
Zd542
Yes,I am well aware of fake cables,or headphones.
I think (read it somewhere as the matter of fact)that some fake products are in fact made in the same plant,only difference is the genuine go out the front door,fake go out the back door,as surplus.
George