Sunday, 7 September 2014

NAS Woes

Some years ago I made the mistake of buying a Western Digital network drive - there's a reason that they're cheap! Anyway, this week the hard drive failed (or so I thought) and this morning I took the enclosure apart only to find that it was the capacitors that had given up the ghost.

blown capacitors in WD network drive
What's All that Goo?

Because the drive uses hardware encryption, the data is unreachable: I can't even mount the drive to attempt a recovery. Assuming that the drive is still healthy (smartctl -H results in an access denied error message), I'm faced with several options:

  • Try to recover the data by finding a replacement enclosure with the same model number (yeah, good luck with that!)
  • Try to recover the data by repairing the pcb (replace the burned capacitors)
  • Sacrifice the data and reuse the drive building my own NAS

Most (but not all) of the data is already safely on my file server. I've lost some video but everything else is either duplicated or replaceable so, option 3 is looking favourite! I'm toying with the idea of a low-powered box running FreeNAS or perhaps even a Intel's NUC. I even looked into using a Raspberry Pi!

I've accepted that the data is gone and that I should probably format the drive, but I really can't decide on (or afford) a replacement. I'll mull it over but, in the meanwhile, my advice is to avoid Western Digital drives if you value your data.

Sources & References:

  • None

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