Hard drive woes, 2012, part 3

I’m returning back to the ‘old’ subject of my Lacie “Network Space 2” drive, which committed suicide a few months back, thanks to a couple of email questions. You may have followed the previous posts where I mention getting the data off the drive. this was, in all, a 90% success, but even running Linux, I ran into a similar problem as pointed out in the email. Some of the files couldn’t be accessed. I knew it was one I could easily overcome, but putting the time, and the little bit of effort in to do it, was a bit of a bore, so I left it.

That is, until my health problems re-arose. Well, not quite. I just had to go to the hospital so they could stick things all over my chest, and take yet more of my blood. Are they panning that shit for gold, or something? They might find amber nectar in there, but certainly no gold.

I digress. I decided to fire the drive up again, and rescue the last data on there. The problem was, that although I moved the majority of the data off the drive, I couldn’t access certain files, as they were owned by “root”, basically, the superuser of any Linux system. If you boot from a live Linux CD as I suggested in the past, you’re only a standard user. You’ll need to access the files owned by this root user.

Since my last update, I managed to find my 4Gb USB stick, so I changed my plans from using a live CD, to using a similar live CD, but mounted on a USB stick. To do this, you download the ISO you require as normal, download and run a program called Unetbootin, and allow it to work its magic. This allows you to have a USB stick with a bootable version of your favourite non-standard operating system. This was, as you can imagine, a lot quicker, smoother and quieter than having the DVD drive access something every time I move the mouse. This time, I ditched Ubuntu, and used the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint. It’s just that little more user-friendly. A couple more useful utilities , and because it’s on the USB drive, I can happily use stuff like Firefox without the whole system freezing while it uses the DVD drive.

Of course, you’ll run into the same problem you had with the original Ubuntu. You’re still a standard user. This is how you log-in as root…

Open “terminal”
Type…

sudo passwd root

It’ll then prompt you to enter a new password. Twice. It’s thorough like that.

Click on the “Start” button equivalent (forget what it’s called) and click “Leave”

There’ll be an option in there for a new session. Select that, and enter the user “root” and your new root password. Hurrah, you’ll now have a GUI with root access, and should be able to move those stubborn files as you would normally. I assume these instructions will work good with many, if not all Linux distros.

Thanks to the root access, I was able to have a poke around the drive’s “hidden” sections, and examine the “messages” file to see if I can decipher exactly what went wrong with it. Basically, I can’t.

Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  180.820000] ata1.00: status: { Busy }
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  180.820000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.330000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.390000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.390000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x180000 action 0x6 frozen
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: edma_err_cause=00000020 pp_flags=00000001, SError=00180000
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: SError: { 10B8B Dispar }
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.920000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.980000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.980000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x180000 action 0x6 frozen
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: edma_err_cause=00000020 pp_flags=00000001, SError=00180000
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1: SError: { 10B8B Dispar }
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: cmd c8/00:20:e0:f2:38/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 16384 in
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000]          res d0/00:20:e0:f2:38/00:03:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x12 (ATA bus error)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: status: { Busy }
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.500000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.560000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.560000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:e.vendor

After the e.vendor in that above logfile, which really shouldn’t be there, is a load of corrupt looking garbage, and I’m sure those “ATA bus error”, means that there’s something wrong with the drive, or the system can’t read from it. I remember those before the HDD died in my old firewall / server machine many years ago.

I’m not sure if that info above will help anyone else out, but drop me an email if it doesn’t, I’ll see what I can do.

UPDATE 4TH NOVEMBER 2012

In what is honestly going to be my final word on the subject, I thought I’d have one last little play with the dreaded Lacie Network Space 2, and my own personal findings. I powered it on again today, for one last “hurrah”. It, once again did either of the slow flashing, or rhythmic red/blue flashing. For funsies, I threw in a generic 500Gb drive, which it won’t have been expecting. The method behind my madness was that it may have had a failsafe copy of its operating system in ROM, and if it detects the “new” HDD, it might kick into some factory restore mode and initialize the drive. This wouldn’t appear to be the case, as I instantly got the flashing red/blue light, as soon as the drive began to boot. A factory reset didn’t help either.
Therefore, I consider the drive now to be scrapped.

I’ll keep the drive out of it, naturally. 2Tb could certainly come in useful (On Dec 8th 2012, I did indeed do this, via a cheap SATA caddy from C World). I don’t believe there’s a physical fault with the drive, but I do think there was some sort of root file system corruption. A decent NAS drive would be able to at least do something failsafe-y, perhaps a backup / disagnostic copy of the OS kept in flash ROM to allow some type of automatic restore / file system rebuild… the cost of flash memory these days is ridiculously low. It can’t be too difficult / much more expensive to do?

So, it’s all over. It was a short, bittersweet relationship. It had its uses. It turned out to be very limited, slow, and ultimately risked 2 terabytes of my precious porn torrentz photos of fluffy kittens and whalesong. As a plus-side (I can think of two), the drive was easy to open, and the OS was Linux based, so the data was easily rescued.

It’s not the end of my NAS drive experience though. I enjoyed it while it lasted, and I’m feeling the need to spend some money on something bigger and better…

UPDATE 4/2/17 It took me a good few years before I relied on NAS storage again, but these days I’m running a Synology DS216j. I never went back to this Lacie heap of shit. The drive itself still survives.