Last week Maeve and I had a hard drive fail. We haven’t had a drive fail in a long time. Thank goodness for that. These days, most of the time I’m working off my internal hard drive within DropBox. That way if my MacBook pro crashes or get’s stolen, everything is in dropbox and I can be up and running within a few hours on another machine. My projects are relatively small, most of the time taking up no more than 50 gigabytes of space. But the projects that Maeve works on involve a lot of footage and images. This drive that failed was 500 GBs in size and she was using around 400 GBs of data. Now a drive failing sucks but the real kicker was that this drive had a couple videos Maeve had been working on for weeks and they were just about to be wrapped up, all that was needed were the graphics from me. Then out of nowhere, the disk became damaged. Talk about bad timing!
Not having a disk fail in so long we were’t really sure what tools were available to repair it. Of course we ran Disk Utility and that did nothing.
I figured I’d try Tech Tool Pro, I had pretty good luck with that in the past. After letting that run for about 5 or 6 hours I wasn’t sure what it was doing, there is no status within the program. So I bailed on that.
Up next was DiskWarrior, not sure why I didn’t go to that first. DiskWarrior seems to save the day more often then anything else. In many cases, DiskWarrior is able to replace a damaged volume’s problematic directory with the new repaired directory that it creates. However, DiskWarrior reported that it could not. It reported:
DiskWarrior has successfully built a new directory for the disk named “Unknown.” The new directory cannot replace the original directory because of a disk malfunction.
But the silver lining here is DiskWarrior lets you make a preview drive that mounts just like any other drive and you can recover some of your files from there. It didn’t recover everything but it did recover some files and that was better then nothing. With that all moved to another drive I figured I’d give one more tool a try.
Data Rescue… Never using this program or knowing how it worked, I gave it a shot. At least the repair / recovery process gave me some sort of a preview for what was happening. Unfortunately it took about 100 hours to complete! If I had known it was going to take that long I would have stopped it a lot sooner. After 15 hours you really just wonder how much longer can this really take? So you keep waiting and waiting…
Data Rescue was able to recover some files, the awful part was it renamed and moved everything around. For instance, it made a quicktime folder and dropped all the quick time movies in there and named them QT00001.mov, QT00002.mov QT00003.mov, etc… Totally un-helpful and a waste of time; especially when you are dealing with hundreds of quick time files.
After around 150 hours of trying to bring this drive back to life we decided to just run with what we could get from the DiskWarrior preview drive. Which turned out to be a lot but not everything. We might have been better off using those 150 hours to just re-do all the work.
With all that being said, make sure you always have back ups!