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Ok, then have a bad HD, then. What is worse, the cloud(which is great) or a corrupted HD (which is bad) Just saying...
Sorry, I won't preach anymore.
I don't have any suggestions for you other than, if you are successful in recovering any pics/data, then get that sh*t to the cloud ASAP. Stop mucking around with stupid ass HD backups, and thumb drives, etc.
If those fail, you have no recourse most likely.
BTW, most of the cloud services are on redundant servers, etc., unlike your HD. Sorry, felt compelled to hit the point home again.
I've used GetDataBack with success where a drive became unreadable from windows...but that was over a decade ago.
I'm no expert on backups, but what has worked well for me is to use an older laptop with mapped drives to the important stuff on the server. These mapped drives are set to be available offline and will synch automatically or on demand. This laptop is usually only started and synched on Friday afternoon, then it's shut down until next Friday or something really important happens. Got any old laptops laying around?
Option 2 here was mentioned already but it's worth repeating. If you don't want to go the cloud route, you got two options....
1) Get a cheap web host that offers FTP and unlimited space. Use that space.
2) Pony up the dough for a RAID over a NAS.
Now, if you're looking to save money, stay away from SSD. You won't get much size from them, and you don't need speed for this more than you need size. However, it's worth saying that SSDs are a bit more fault tolerant due to no mechanical parts... which is usually what breaks down the most when a HDD goes kaput but since you're in a RAID configuration you at least lesson the chances of both drives crapping out.
Pro tip: If you go the RAID route, think about a RAID 6 or 10 (1+0) instead of just a RAID 1. It'll cost a bit more in the fact you need more drives. But they are way more likely to cover your bacon in the event of two drives failing... which can happen.
I have had two Seagate NAS drives fail and become unreadable over the course of 2 years. Fortunately my primary storage on my PC was intact and I wasn't relying on the NAS for primary storage. If your time is worth anything at all in $$$ then reliable cloud backup is cheap.
Oh, and just as a point of reference to the cost of Cloud storage... 5TB of blob storage on Azure is about $100 USD a month if you're active with it. Not sure about AWS or Rackspace, but I would imagine it'll be in a similar ballpark.
Ok, forget Azure. I just found out Google drive will offer twice that amount for the same price as Azure. Yay Google.
There are services like Dropbox, but they cap out at 1TB I think.
I'm surprised nobody mentioned Resilio Sync yet. This was formerly called BitTorrent Sync.
It's basically Dropbox without the cloud server. Keeps your local devices synced between themselves, but does not keep a cloud copy.
So, I use two different PC's which are always on (but it can be used with PC's that you turn on only occasionally, as long as that delay in copying your data is ok with you).
I keep the two PC's on different locations, but you can do it at home if you prefer. Both have a 1TB disk dedicated to this task, and Resilio keeps them synced.
So that's 1TB of replicated storage for less than $100, one-time payment.
Be careful that replication is not exactly the same as backup. You are protected against hard-drive failure, but not against you deleting your files accidentally (it replicates the screw up...). I keep two copies of my directories, one of them static and updated about monthly, just in case I screw up the other.
1) Loads of suggestions from others, but first of all try the drive in a different enclosure (or mount it in a PC) - it may just be the USB electronics that are failing.
2) Get a NAS which will connect to the Cloud. All (reputable) NAS's have backup software that will "pull" data from other computers and carry out full/incremential backups which can then be synchronised with a Cloud service (I use Amazon CloudDrive @ 70€/yr, if you have Prime you already get unlimited photo storage and 5GB for other files).
Remember if you have a fire, flood or burglary you may lose all your data at home, so off-site storage is a must for anything you value. If you don't trust the Cloud then back up you NAS to a USB drive (which too can be automatic at the press of a button) and keep the drive with friends/family.
There are loads of recovery services out there for when the drive doesn't spin any more. Question is, are your files important enough to warrant the expenditure. Then again, if they were that important the money would have been better spent on cloud backup. Got to be honest, i have lost usb hard drives due to motor failure and usb keys have died suddenly. These days I no longer trust anything and all my serious stuff is in drop box.
We're philosophical about power outages here. A.C. come, A.C. go.
My thoughts on backups appear to be wider ranging.
1) What backup software?
I use WinZip for backing up files. I schedule jobs to backup different folders at different times and frequencies -- some daily, weekly, or monthly. I use an option that adds the timestamp to the file name so I have numerous copies, limited by disk space.
Since I have a second internal HD, I backup to that one, and periodically move the zips to external media.
2) Backup Options?
A) Cloud. Cloud backup solutions work, but I will NOT place any sensitive data, such as financial information in the cloud. Expecially recently, it's obvious that any online provider can be hacked. The only way to guarantee no hacking is to not be online. Anyone who believes their cloud storage is 100% safe is deluding themselves.
B) Multiple Tested Backups. Others have said it and it bears repeating. If the restore from a backup has not been tested, it's not a backup. An old employer did backups every night, rotating Friday and end-of-month backups. Had years worth of tapes. Never tested the restore. We had to retrieve a file, spent 8 hours working at it, couldn't get it to work. We had gone years without a backup. [Management replaced the backup solution a year later ... ]
NEVER have a single backup. Three is a good number. Keep at least one offsite to protect against catastropic loss.
C) DVD. Burn copies to CD or DVD, or if you have large datasets, invest in a Blu-Ray burner. Why?
C1) The media is good for years. It's not completely age proof but good quality disks are good for years. Burn sets of photos and/or video as you go.
C2) Disks cannot be screwed by ransomware. Finalize the media and it can't be hurt by electronic means (to the best of my knowledge). Plus the disks are offline, so they can't be touched even if your main copy is.
C3) Put copies in a safe deposit box, send to a sibling, a lawyer, etc. Cheap to create, easy to store.
D) Flash Drives. WARNING: Flash drives are volatile so never use as a primary backup. That said, flash drives and SD cards are dirt cheap and you can get large ones at a decent price. Like DVDs they are easy to store, just make multiple copies AND have a fairly recent copy on other media.
E) Internal HD. I have an extra HD in my PC. I run WinZip jobs daily, weekly, and monthly to zip different directories and store them on the second HD, appending the timestamp so I can have multiple files. Weekly or monthly I copy them to an external HD.
This is really handy and can easily be automated, but remember that it's active so it's subject to ransomware or other problems.
F) "External" Internal HD. I have a stack of old HD of various sizes. A $15 (USD) USB cable & power supply allow me to connect them to the PC as a large flash drive. Load 'em up, label to keep track of which is which (scotch tape over a stickie works fine), and you have a lot of backups. This can be moved offsite.
Dedicated portable and external HD are quicker and easier to use, but internal HD are cheaper, and if you're like me -- you have a few hanging around. Fdisk and format an old HD and you have a lot of storage.
G) Do all of the above. No reason to limit yourself to any one method.
Hardware failure is a "when" not an "if". Plan for it.
I used https://www.krollontrack.com a few years ago. It was expensive but they recovered 100% of my files and they were pretty quick about it.
As some of the others have mentioned, if you need a service like this, you aren’t doing a good enough job of maintaining backups. I now make two copies of all my data every week onto separate hard drives that are not normally connected to my computer. They are offline except when making copies of the backups. I keep one of those copies off site. I learned (and paid for) my lesson last time.
I've had success many times with this method. I'm more of a Linux guy, but seriously you get a lot more control using Linux when trying to recover from a failing hard drive.
The first thing you need to do is get an image from the drive, whatever data you can possibly read (or if you like, clone do a different good hard drive). I recommend ddrescue for this job because you can do multiple passes and much more. Just download a live copy of any popular linux distribution and boot from a USB or CD. You can install ddrescue and follow a tutorial for this step.
Then you can move on to data recovery tools that have been mentioned, or others, on the image (or good drive). Otherwise the more you try to read from the bad drive, the more likely it is that it will get worse and worse until nothing is readable. It's counterintuitive.
Recommended tools for recovery:
- ddrescue (free) - an invaluable tool that doesn't really compare to anything else
- TestDisk (free) - this is my go to application and it's never failed me, unless there's no data to work with from the image
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (paid)
Someone mentioned Spinrite - I've had success with this, but considering the process I would try it in this order:
2. ddrescue again, using different options
3. If any sectors could not be read, use spinrite on the failing disk (knowing that you could be doing more damage to the drive)
4. ddrescue yet again
5. data recovery software