For the story so far see Part 1 and Part 2. If you’re totally bored, then please don’t read on… this is the longest post yet!
So I got my Linksys NSLU2 home. I thought I’d fire it up and make sure it worked. There’d be nothing more frustrating than flashing it with the Linux OS, find it doesn’t work and then wonder whether the issue is with the new Firmware or the actual hardware.
Plugged it in, fired it up, plugged in and formatted a blank external drive I dug out of the cupboard. All good so far! I can’t plug in a disk with anything on it because the LinkSys requires disks to be formatted with EXT3.
Hmmm… what’s this… a firmware upgrade to the NSLU2 that allows it to read NTFS! That’d make the device usable until I get my head around the Linux options!
Loaded up the upgrade, all went smoothly. Plugged in my external hard drive to see if it works. Get “Drive not formatted” message in the NSLU2 admin screen, so it must not support NTFS after all. Oh well. Plugged the external drive back into my desktop PC.
“This disk is not formatted. Do you want to format it now? Yes/No”
An entire disk’s worth of data… gone. Video from when the kids were little, lots of photos… gone. I know what you’re all thinking… why wasn’t this data backed up? I have two responses to this. 1) It’s not that easy to back up a 14GB video file. 2) Part of the reason I was setting up this solution is to make automated backups more accessible!
Some have said that I shouldn’t have trusted the device with my data, but in my defence, it’s a shrink wrapped consumer device that’s designed to have drives plugged in to it. If I can’t trust this device with my data, I don’t have much use for it!
I kicked off a File Recovery scan and went to bed very sad.
In the morning, the file recovery had found a bunch of deleted files, but none of the files that were not deleted at the time of the corruption! I tried loading the drive up in a couple of EXT3 file viewers, but they couldn’t read the drive either.
I’d pretty much given up hope of getting my data back.
Then my neighbour nonchalantly suggests I try a partition table repair tool. I load one up and run it. It tells me “The partition table on the disk is incorrect. Would you like to fix it?” I click “Yes”. Bang. All my data is back!!!
Yay! Waves of relief! Not to mention proof that the Linksys had screwed up the disk. The partition table was written for an EXT3 disk, even though it was still formatted in NTFS.
Yesterday I took the Linksys back to Harris Technology and threw it at them as hard as I could. Actually I didn’t and they were incredibly helpful, giving me a full refund without any hassle.
So back to the drawing board. Now that I realise how precious that data is to me, I’m going to have to get a proper, RAID based network drive solution. More money I’ll probably go for a Thecus N2100.
Lesson the First
Imagine losing all your data that is not backed up. How do you feel about that?
Lesson the Second
No, really. Losing it. Right now. Seriously, how do you feel about that?
Weigh your reaction to the above questions against the cost of getting dedicated backup.
Here endeth the lesson.
Update: I was talking to Josh last night and he said it wasn’t clear that I hadn’t installed the funky open source firmware on the LinkSys box yet. It was running the latest official firmware release. I probably also didn’t emphasize enough that I wouldn’t recommend anyone buying one of these pieces of junk