A Happy Ending: RAID Controller Saves the Day

I did not know whether to contact the marketing department or technical support, so I flipped a coin. I want to commend you on a superb product. I recently had a hard drive failure. The heads had crashed and the platter would not spin up. I had made a schedule of regular routine backups, and my last one had been done in mid January. Now it was April and, even with what I thought was an adequate backup program, I had lost almost 3 months work. The timing couldn’t have been worse since I had just completed my taxes for the year for myself and numerous family members, and these were all lost before they could be submitted.

I began to look for a RAID device to improve my level of protection. I came across your DupliDisk product and fell in love with it’s driverless design. After many years of purchasing electronic products that don’t live up to the marketing hype, I decided to buy a used unit from eBay. While waiting for this to arrive, I sent my damaged hard drive away to a data recovery service. The quote came back at $895. The report said the heads had crashed and there was some platter damage but most of the data would be recoverable. The quoted price was way out of my league and I politely declined their service and had the hard drive returned to me.

I received the used DupliDisk and my damaged hard drive about the same time. I attempted to power up the drive to no avail. Since the drive was junk now anyway, I decided to remove the cover and inspect the inside. The cover had been removed by the data recovery service and I felt that I could do no more harm. When I attempted to power the drive up, the platter would not spin, I gave it a little nudge and away it went. When I powered down, the heads parked themselves and I closed the unit up.

All of the info I could gather from the internet stated that while trying to recover data, one should never use the original damaged hard drive. You should always transfer an image onto a new good hard drive and attempt to rebuild the data on the new drive. Any attempt I made to copy the contents to a new drive resulted in failure. Drive Image and Ghost both reported corrupt files and quickly exited. A light bulb went off in my head, and I attempted to use the DupliDisk to create a mirror drive. While setting up the raid on my computer I noticed that the unit mirrored even empty space on the drive, so I assumed it would plug along copying block after block of data, corrupt or not.

It took about 16 hours to mirror the drive. There were numerous occurrences that appeared to be bad data that the DupliDisk was trying to read, and then timeout and continue. I knew that there would be corrupt files on the copy, but all I wanted was a transfer of 1’s and 0’s and I was going to use other recovery software to rebuild the file system. The DupliDisk finally bogged down at about 91%. It was continuing to mirror, but at a rate of two blocks per minute. With close to a million blocks remaining I felt the benefit of letting it run any longer to be useless.

I put the mirrored drive into my computer attempting to see if windows would even see the unit. To my surprise, it saw the unit and could read the files. I copied what I needed and shut the computer off. I wondered what would happen if I attempted to boot from this mirrored drive. Lo and behold the drive booted right up into windows. I shut down and tried the original damaged drive, and no way would the damaged unit boot. Windows can’t even see the unit when installed as a non-boot drive.

Perhaps you should expand into the world of data recovery. I don’t know what your DupliDisk did while mirroring, but I am one satisfied customer. Your product will not only protect me in the future, but it even helped with a disaster from the past.

I once again would like to commend you on a wonderful product. Keep up the good work.

Richard Amlin Ontario, Canada

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