Data recovery

Earlier this year, my home file-and-everything-else server suffered a failure of both case fans which went unnoticed because it’s sitting in a hard to get to part of a cupboard and NetBSD doesn’t (yet) have drivers for the environmental monitoring hardware on the motherboard.

The constantly increased temperature in the case rapidly caused the failure of a head in the hard drive. Unfortunately, I only had a partial backup of the data so I was quite keen to recover as much as possible from the failed device.

After I’d spent a few days trying to grab things with dd and friends with partial success, it became evident that it would become more and more difficult to grab more data off it as time went by. So I decided to call in the professionals.

I found a local outfit here in Peterborough called PCImage and their price was favourable compared to the competition in Cambridge and they were local, so I left my drive with them. After letting their equipment try to drag as much data off the drive as it could, they eventually took the drive apart and replaced the head stack in order to take a proper image.

They managed to produce a 100% error-free image of the drive this way, and they were very helpful indeed. And because it turned out to be easier to replace the head stack than to let the imager continue its futile effort, they were nice enough to not charge me extra for replacing the heads.

The server’s been up and running happily with a nice shiny new drive, a newer version of NetBSD and all of my data back where it should be.

Thanks, PCImage!

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