External drive duplicator

#1
For the first time (perhaps I'm very lucky) one of my external drives has failed. No problems leading up to it; one day OK, next day a brick. One partition was for Time Machine backups. If that was all, I would cross my fingers, replace it with a new drive, and start from scratch. But ...

Another partition held three live Photos libraries adding up to 200GB. I had forgotten where they were and they were not getting backed up. *sigh* So I have sent it off to a data recovery service, hoping (a) they can recover my photos and (b) they won't bankrupt me. But, never mind ...

So now I'm paranoid about my other external disks. I bought the dead one in 2012 and have another of about the same vintage, and 3 or 4 of various ages from then to now. What's a reasonable plan to try to prepare for inevitable failures?

I have started researching things like drive docks with offline duplication functions. They seem suspiciously cheap, $30 .. $100. Does anyone have firsthand experience?

I'm comfortable (sort of) with handling bare drives and enclosures. My thoughts are to duplicate working drives and retire them before disaster strikes.
 
#2
I agree that you need to duplicate or back up your working drives before it creates you trouble. Nowadays. there are available external drive duplicator that are capable of copying from one drive to another without the need for a computer. One of its feature performs a complete sector-by-sector copy that ensures even encrypted or partially corrupt drives can still be recovered. So, try using one!
 
#5
I have used SuperDuper for years and recommend it highly for working with disks that are in good physical condition. I did try it on my bad drive, which took 20 minutes to mount! After that I started a copy using SuperDuper. After an hour or so, it had copied a couple MB and had brought my iMac to its knees, with errors and retries etc. If I had an offline duplicator, perhaps it would have finished a week later, but without rendering my system useless.

By the way, the service I used is DriveSavers and they recovered 50,000+ jpg files - a new disk is due tomorrow - from what they called a disk with physical damage. It was expensive, but not a back-breaker.
 
Last edited:
Top