Leon's Weblog

July 3, 2008

Backup Fully, Backup Often

Filed under: Personal — Leon @ 9:59 am

Recently, the power supply on my server failed damaging the motherboard and all attached hard drives. I used many precautionary measures to protect the data on the server but they were not enough to avoid going through data recovery. The data was on a journaling file system (ReiserFS v.3) but that doesn’t help when the disks are fried and un-readable. The data was also mirrored across two 250GB drives which, as luck would have it, were both unusable. Sure there were several server backups as well but none were recent or complete enough to be usable.

My data recovery quest started with some anecdotal attempts to get the drives to work. The USB SATA adaptors did not work nor did the trick of putting the disks in the freezer (as silly as that sounds some have had luck with this approach so I figured is was worth a shot). It was time to enlist professional help so I contacted CBL Data Recovery who have had a long history recovering data from various disasters.


  • CBL performs an assessment of the damage and only charges you if they are able to recover the data.
  • The prices are reasonable compared to other services that I have seen that change 10K and above.
  • Friendly service


  • The recovery process took over a week. Apparently, the disk platters got damaged as well as the disk circuit board.
  • The customer service representatives were not very helpful and did not appear technically inclined. The CBL engineers that I talked to were much more aware of the situation.
  • Many of recovered text files had some binary data after the EOF flag which caused some Linux programs to crash when opening the files. This was fixable but time consuming.

Ultimately, CBL was able to recover all the data from the drives. Time to rebuild my server and think of a better backup strategy.


  1. Data Recovery is a very costly option that is why you should always check your storage media for any signs of wear and tear.*`*

    Comment by Charlotte Hughes — May 25, 2010 @ 8:39 pm
  2. data recovery is a very costly option, always make a regular backups.~”:

    Comment by Zak Fisher — July 15, 2010 @ 10:24 am
  3. data recovery is very very expensive so do make regular backups of important files:.’

    Comment by Olivia Miller — August 30, 2010 @ 11:36 am
  4. of course data entry services are very expensive that is why always make a backup of your files “”‘

    Comment by Petite Tops — December 12, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

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