Category Image 30,632,673,280 bytes used 


I seem to have successfully resurrected the external FireWire drive I use to store my music library. On Friday I was listening to music while doing some work when the music stuttered once and then iTunes quit. The drive didn't seem to go into the tell tale spasmodic clicks-of-death though. However, after relaunching iTunes I found that my music library drive was gone. Thinking it was just directory corruption, I let DiskWarrior see what it could find out. DiskWarrior came back like one of those doctors forced to deliver really bad news: "We had to scavenge really hard to find anything useful, and what we did find is pretty messed up. The patient is on life support and the prognosis isn't good." At that point the hard drive disappeared from the desktop.

I then rebooted in the hopes the restart would act like some sort of defibrillation. Unfortunately, the drive didn't show up and Mac OS didn't complain about a drive it couldn't read. In other words, if Mac OS had at least seen the drive and complained about not being able to read it I knew I'd have a chance at resurrection. DiskWarrior didn't see it either and I began to come to terms with the idea that I'd lost a drive. First time ever, too.

Sensing that my hard drive was actually kaput at a deeper level, I called Drive Savers on a whim. As you may know, Drive Savers are the people you call when your hard drive really goes kaput and you really need the data back. They scavenge data from smoldering hunks of computers and so on. Anyway, I spoke with Christina who was very nice and very helpful. Based on what I was telling her, she estimated it would cost over $2000 to get my stuff back. Yikes. I wasn't into paying that much for mp3s regardless of all the hours spent downloading album artwork and fixing all the spelling errors coming from the CDDB. Thank you very much, Christina, but I think I'll pass. Sigh. At least I have a lot of time on my hands...

Then last night, on another whim, I hooked up the drive to the FireWire chain again and turned it on. To my surprise I was greeted by all the usual drive start-up sounds: the long whine as the spinning begins, followed by the initial clickity-clack of the heads engaging and preparing for dutiful service! Best of all, Mac OS complained about not being able to read this so-called "drive." Cool. I told Mac OS to ignore the drive and then dropped into a command line to find out what I could see from there. Not much actually. Then I gave DiskWarrior another shot. This time the news didn't seem to be as bad. There was still a lot of scavenging necessary, but the DW report specifically listed some directories that I recognized as containing mp3s. DW also lets you preview the rebuilt directory before it writes it to the drive and you can also do some file manipulation from the preview window. Curious about whether DW had indeed found the files, I opened the preview window and found a folder called "Rescued Items." Inside that directory was heaven itself: my music library! The first thing I did was use the preview's ability to copy "Rescued Items" to my other FireWire drive. To my pleasure, the two drives chattered away contentedly for about 30 minutes (30,632,673,280 bytes!) and I (and my hard drive) seemed to have turned a corner. After letting DW write the new directory, Drive 10 easily found the drive and gave it a clean bill of health (I ran the surface scan and a bunch of other things). For all intents and purposes my hard drive had been brought back from the dead, and the problem just seems to have been a really messed up directory instead of the more ominous physical corruption I'd feared and assumed after talking to Drive Savers.

Just because, I reformatted the drive and started copying the data back to it before going to bed. This morning, everything looks great. I renamed a few things back to their original names and iTunes instantly found what it needed and I'm listening to "Gates of Tomorrow" by Iron Maiden as I write this. A few complete albums and a couple of individual songs seem to have been lost (nothing I don't have the CD for though), and I won't pretend to be naïve enough not to keep an eye on the drive for a while, but right now it seems fully recovered.

Now, hopefully the hard drive's HMO will be easy to deal with... 

Posted: Sunday - May 16, 2004 at 10:11 AM