hard disk

Broken hard drive woes and viable backup options for huge data amounts

Hardware sucks. It just totally and utterly sucks.

I purchased a 300 GB hard drive (plus a 3.5" USB disk drive enclosure) roughly 8 months ago which I encrypted using dm-crypt and then used it as a backup medium. And now the disk has died. No, this is not a software problem (that would be easy to deal with), the hardware is simply dead (it's making funny "klck" noises all the time).

Mounting it via USB (using the USB enclosure) doesn't work at all anymore. I connected the disk via IDE in a PC and was able to mount it just fine (with cryptsetup luksOpen and all). A simple ls works, too (at least in the top-level directory). So I tried to copy the data over to another medium, but when accessing certain directories or files the system simply hangs and I get tons of funny kernel errors (and the disk makes even more and louder funny noises). Great.

Stupid as I am, I also put data on the drive which I did not have backups of on other media (mostly because the data is huge, e.g. conference video recordings, large amounts of Creative Commons MP3s etc). OK, so I managed to get at least some small parts of my data, but now the disk is completely dead, I fear.

I'll try to convice the vendor to give me a new drive, but I won't let them get their fingers on my data, i.e., I will not send the disk to them (yes, even though it is encrypted; crypto can be broken). Any ideas what else I could do? A professional "data recovery" service is not an option either, they usually cost 1000-2000 Euros (in the best case).

What do you do for storing huge amounts of data nowadays? The only viable option I can think of is a RAID-5 (mdadm) with 3 or more disks in a silent PC which I can leave turned on 24/7. Unfortunately that costs non-trivial amounts of money. CDs are too small and they don't last too long either; the same is true for DVDs.

Sigh...

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