Digital Nightmare Scenario hits the Dog


And so it has happened. The digital nightmare scenario came upon me this past week.  i keep all my digital data (photos, docs and music) on a couple of external HDs.  After a visit to India one of the disks decided to stop working. Not too worried I backed up the back up and plugged in the second disk.  One week later, this brand new disk (Seagate if you must know) gave a groan and gave up the ghost as well. But wanting to really turn the knife it spread its evil on to my Mac Air which immediately went blank. No amount of cursing or cajoling has been able to revive either!

So, until I am able to replace the Mac and get under the hoods in (vain, I’m sure) hope of retrieving the files, there will be precious little activity here and over at the Washerman’s Dog.  

But as compensation I refer you to, where I write a regular Sunday music column. Here’s the link to this week’s edition


11 thoughts on “Digital Nightmare Scenario hits the Dog

  1. teekay

    By an amazing coincidence I have had same problem – external hard drive with about 800 gig of music failed a week or so ago. Unfotunately didn’t have a backup (I know…). Meeting someone next week who says he may (!) be able to retrieve some files but I’m not holding out much hope. I estimate maybe 75% of albums will prove impossible to replace. In the good old days we had a piece of plastic which at worst could just wear thin!

  2. litlgrey

    That’s why I started paying for cloud storage. I’ve lost tons over the years.
    It’s also why I hate computers so very… very much.

  3. Bhikhu

    With some sweat and luck you can recover the data from the external drives. There are two scenarios.
    First Scenario: You are able to borrow a friend’s computer for a day.
    Go to the following website and download Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS in 64 bit flavor.
    Next if the computer has a DVD optical drive, grab a blank DVD and burn the downloaded Ubuntu ISO. Here’s how you can do it,
    If the computer doesn’t have an optical drive then get a USB Flash drive, any Flash drive with 4GB or more should do fine. Use UNetbootin to create a bootable USB Flash drive of Ubuntu. You can get UNetbootin from here,
    Make sure to choose ‘Installing Other Distributions Using UNetbootin’ like the following example,
    Next boot the Ubuntu DVD or Flash drive that you have created. Choose Try Ubuntu from the menu. If you encounter problems booting Ubuntu live refer to the following page to troubleshoot,
    Once you have successfully booted into Ubuntu live environment, plug in your external drives. Next run GParted from the menu. More info on finding and launching application in Ubuntu here,
    Once you have launched GParted, use the following guide to attempt data rescue,
    If GParted is unable to do the job use TestDisk. TestDisk is not installed by default in Ubuntu. Use Ubuntu Software Center to install it. Once you have installed TestDisk follow this guide to recover your data,

    Second Scenario: You are unable to borrow a friend’s computer for a day.
    In this case you will need access to some computer to download Ubuntu and create either DVD or bootable USB Flash drive. If your Macbook Air doesn’t have an optical drive then you’ll have no choice but create bootable USB Flash drive. Once you have created the bootable medium then power on your Macbook Air and use the following methods to either boot from DVD or USB Flash drive,
    Rest of the procedure is similar to what I described in first scenario. In this method who knows you might be able to recover your Macook Air data also.
    Wishing you luck.

  4. Bhikhu

    Yes you can use Windows to create live Flash drive of Ubuntu and it will boot on almost any computer. Here is a complete how to,
    Once you have created the bootable Flash drive you can restart the PC and boot Ubuntu from the Flash drive. You might have to change boot order in your BIOS to boot from USB Flash drive. A nice article on this subject,
    Choose ‘try Ubuntu’ once the Ubuntu starts. Plugin your external drives and use GParted or TestDisk

    1. Mr Harmonium Post author

      Thanks Bhiku. Got Ubuntu on to flash but am unable to reboot to the famous purple screen. Have rebooted and changed BIOS order a few times!!! But assuming I get it to do so can I copy the files from my corrupted external drive to a new drive?

  5. Bhikhu

    Once you are able to boot Ubuntu you can use GParted or TestDisk to recover the data from your external drives. There is a chance that your external drives are okay and only their file system and/or partition table is damaged. If this is the case GParted or TestDisk has the capacity to repair corrupt file system and recover lost partition table. All the best.

  6. Bhikhu

    Sorry about the incorrect URL in my second last reply. Make sure you create the Ubuntu bootable Flash drive as described in the following guide,
    Once you are able to boot Ubuntu GParted and TestDisk can do miracles. You can google ‘GParted data recovery tutorial’, ‘TestDisk data recovery tutorial’ and you will get plenty of articles and videos on the subject.


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