The TMBG Head GuyHave you ever had one of those things happen when it just sucks the life out of you? That happened to me on Friday.

No, not the DJIA 300+ point drop on Friday — that was a mere annoyance.

Friday night, my external hard drive died. It just clicks two or three times, then shuts itself down. Now, being an external drive, this type of failure doesn’t put me offline, but as each day passes, I come to realize, “Oh, yeah, there’s another file that I’ve lost…”

This specific drive was a 500GB Western Digital MyBook. I’ve never had much luck with external drives. In fact, I can’t stand them. This is my second to die in a little over a year.

Our extra income comes from a business we run out of our home — or actually, off of this dead hard drive. Five hundred gigs of website code, PSD files, and raw photography files gone.

Was it backed up? Well… let’s just say, I think I had enough of it backed up to get by in the short term. But this will certainly be an incovenience. An expensive one.

I researched having the drive sent to a data recovery company. I’ve no doubt the data is still on the drive and recoverable. The problem is, the quotes I’ve received have ranged in price from $995 to $2495.

Not sure why the range is so large, but even $1000 would hurt too much right now, so I’m trying to carry on, and chalk this one up as a big loss. Not a financial one, but one where I’ve lost all of the time I spent creating those files.

So far, I haven’t had to tell a client flat out — nope, we don’t have that on file. I know the time will eventually come, and if it’s a critical file, well, I suppose I will have to send the drive off to be recovered.

In the meantime, I’ve ordered another external drive. At a cost of $375, I should have a Buffalo Technologies 1TB DriveStation Duo arriving from FedEx this morning.

This one uses RAID, so it’s got a bit of redundancy, but even still, call it whatever you want, it’s still just two external drives stuck together. And external drives always fail.

It’s odd. I’ve never, in the past 15 years, had an internal drive fail. Not once.

On that note, I always say that I’m going to build my own RAID using an old computer case and fill each drive bay with a huge hard drive and just connect it to my main PC as a network drive, but unfortunately technology is changing too quickly to do that on the cheap.

I know, I know, people always say that sort of thing about computers, but for years and years hard drives were either SCSI or IDE. You had two options. Now you have to toss eSATA into the mix. And now all of the externals are now USB or Firewire — which also come in different variations. Makes utilizing an older PC difficult since older PC’s don’t usually allow for all of these different connections. Sigh…

The next few days will likely be spent setting up the new drive, backing more up to DVD (another alternative that fails all the time and takes forever) and crossing my fingers that someone out there develops a hard drive that doesn’t have any mechanical parts cause, seriously, today’s hard drives are just glorified record players and that’s kinda scary when you think about it.

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