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My report on Vantec Nexstar NST-350U2

by MartyLK / February 4, 2006 10:48 PM PST

This is an external HDD enclosure for 3.5 inch HDDs. Bought it a couple of years back and have used it for file backup purposes.

It failed 2 days ago after loading it with valuable files saved to do an OS re-install. I did my re-install and attempted to recover my files from the HDD but was unable to access them. The drive would not read and a write error message displayed when it had failed causing some files to be corrupted.

I had to remove the HDD from the enclosure and install it on an IDE bus to regain functionality of the HDD. Windows saw that the HDD needed attention and repaired it with Check-Disk before Windows started. After the repair I had full functionality of the HDD and recovered my valuable files.

Won't be buying another Nexstar. Sad

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You may be learning first hand that...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 4, 2006 10:57 PM PST

Hard disks won't do for backup. The failures are the same as what's in your desktop/laptop and moreso in external enclosures. You can read post after post about many makes in these forums.

It's a find "second copy" but you won't find me writing it's a backup.

Where is your backup?

Bob

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That's what I really should refer to...
by MartyLK / February 4, 2006 11:18 PM PST

these saved files as, a second copy.

I don't actually do real backups...on optical media because so much of what I save is so large that it would require too many discs. I really don't trust such backup programs either. When I restore my computers...for whatever reason...I like them to be whistle clean. I feel as though backup programs allow unwanted properties and excess baggage to be reinstalled. I may just be anal but that's how I feel about it. I did, however, backup 5.5 GBs worth of iTunes music and files on a dual layer disc. I was proud of that. Mostly at how efficiently the process worked. Used Nero 6 Suite to do it.

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That was a real backup. Great stuff.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 5, 2006 12:10 AM PST

You noted you backed up 5.5 GB on a dual layer DVD.

While I consider dual layer still a bit pricey, I find DVDRW to work fine since it's cheap and reusable. I use CDBURNERXP and organize ahead of time with less than 4GB in any directory.

Bob

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My concern with DVDRW...aside from...
by MartyLK / February 5, 2006 12:26 AM PST

smaller size... has to do with an article from cNet.com regarding the instability of the dyes used in DVDRWs. The article noted that DVD R media, although still not as stable or reliable as non-recordable DVD media, is more stable than that of DVDRW and has a much, much longer readable lifespan.

It went on to say that non-recordable media is actually pressed with data. Recordable media uses a dye layer that data is burned on to. The data is stored as a coloration change rather than using permanent pits like in pressed media.

I'm not happy about using any recordable optical media but if I do use it, it won't be DVDRW.

I suppose if I were to reuse the data stored on a DVDRW within a weeks time...certainly no more than that and actually pushing the time of a week...I'd use one. But my HDD I use to save files has data on it from years ago.

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Which is why I rotate among 3 sets of disks.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 5, 2006 12:30 AM PST

When I get a record failure, that media is tossed and a new media goes into that set.

So far, it's been over a year since I started using DVDRW and the other failure I had was self inflicted. I dropped the DVDRW media and scratched it.

Another fine lesson that is taught is that backups have backups...

Bob

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Just yesterday evening I attempted...
by MartyLK / February 5, 2006 8:29 PM PST

to recover files from the dual layer disc I had burned an iTunes music folder onto. The 5.5GB one.

When I created it before I had to restore my PC I merely opened the contents of the disc to see if it would open, to see how well I could access it and to see if the contents were all there. I didn't at that time try to recover or copy them.

I though it would be easier to copy the entire contents of the iTunes music folder on the disc to the iTunes library than try to locate the music files that I hadn't effectively put back into the library after the OS re-install. I would just need to delete all of the current files in the iTunes library. And since I wanted to be thorough...and, at the moment, unthinking (stupid)...I deleted the files out of the music folder as well. ARGGGG!

When I attempted to copy the files on the dual layer DVD to my music folder some files wouldn't copy. Something about a cyclic redundancy error.

I was able to recover about 90 percent of the files on the disc. At the point the auto-copy stopped I copied all the rest of the music files one artist at a time and was able to get most of the rest of the files.

One folder that I had bunched various artists into would not copy. The "cyclic redundancy" error kept popping up. Incidentally, when the error occurred Windows Explorer would crash.

Fortunately that file was among the few that hadn't permanently deleted from the recycle bin. When a file that is too large is deleted, a message will pop up stating it must be permanently deleted.

I was able to recover the that final music file from the recycle bin.

That's the last time I trust optical media. I may continue to use it but I will have other, more reliable, copies stored on other types of storage.

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When that happens to me...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 5, 2006 9:00 PM PST

I pull out the CD/DVD lens cleaner and start figuring out what is failing. You've taken a failing media, drive or software and painted all optical media as bad.

Sorry to see this happen to you.

Bob

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Not all and not bad, just...
by MartyLK / February 6, 2006 7:20 AM PST

unreliable. The recordable optical media anyway. I still use it I just don't use it for sensitive or important material. I use it for just about everything I need it for but I don't trust it as the sole archive.

My iTunes library has always been stored magnetically. Just since I got this dual layer drive did I have a lapse of common sense and delete all of the magnetically stored iTunes files. Not remembering how unreliable optical media can be.

I bought several hundred dollars worth of multimedia applications with the intention of using optical media as the primary source of distribution. It doesn't bother me one bit to use optical media because I have the original files stored safely elsewhere.

Of the few DVDs I've burned with home movies several have been faulty. I've bought PC games on pressed optical media that that have been faulty. I've had more faults with optical media than anything else.

My dual layer drive is new and I would certainly look at the media as being at fault before I would even consider the hardware faulty.

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New is no assurance it's good.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 6, 2006 7:38 AM PST

You can imagine how many makers ship so-so product and play catchup with firmware updates.

Here, my dvdrw use is solid as a rock. Over a year and nothing to report.

Of course I do odd things like selecting a 680 Watt power supply when a 400 might do, and running the record speed at 1/2 the media's rated speed.

Bob

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I know it's the media...
by MartyLK / February 6, 2006 8:04 AM PST

because I can use different brands and depending on the brand can have good results.

Something strange has just happened. This morning I checked the disc I have been writing about with CDCheck 3 and at 71% it showed several corrupted files...about 15 or maybe 20, I don't remember. It even hung at 71%. The program didn't proceed. I stopped the check but didn't have time to run the recovery portion of the program.

This evening, in fact just a few minuted ago I put the erring disc back in and ran CDCheck again. It just now finished with no errors detected at all. Not a single error.

That can't be correct, I said, and pushed the drive tray back in, let the disc load up and opened the iTunes file with the intention of copying a known bad song file. I copied the song file to another HDD with no problems.

I tried several times prior to my cNet forums report to copy any of the erring files with no success.

Now, while in the process of writing this reply, I copied the entire folder of various artists that made the disc hang up the previous times I tried to copy it.

Strange!

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Here's another nutty thing I do.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 6, 2006 9:32 AM PST
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Well actually mine has...
by MartyLK / February 6, 2006 11:47 AM PST

another DVD drive above...normally a Lite-On DVD recorder but currently a Sony DVD ROM...and a Floppy drive/card reader below.

The dual layer drive has the latest firmware. The latest BIOS is in a save file rather than flashed in as of yet. The MB drivers are not current but before the latest re-install they were up-to-date. I haven't re-updated those drivers yet. The sound drivers won't be updated because the sound being produced seems to be much better than the latest drivers provide. I might install the Ethernet drivers and bus drivers but the sound drivers are gonna take a snooze.

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Well actually mine has...
by MartyLK / February 6, 2006 8:22 PM PST

another DVD drive above...normally a Lite-On DVD recorder but currently a Sony DVD ROM...and a Floppy drive/card reader below.

The dual layer drive has the latest firmware. The latest BIOS is in a save file rather than flashed in as of yet. The MB drivers are not current but before the latest re-install they were up-to-date. I haven't re-updated those drivers yet. The sound drivers won't be updated because the sound being produced seems to be much better than the latest drivers provide. I might install the Ethernet drivers and bus drivers but the sound drivers are gonna take a snooze.

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Gonna have to be careful with Sessionsaver...
by MartyLK / February 6, 2006 8:37 PM PST

for Firefox/Mozilla. It somehow caused a double post. The last thing I did last evening was post that last reply and exited the browser. The first thing that loaded this morning was what I exited last night. So, sorry for the double post.

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(NT) (NT) Oops typo. Exchange "find" for "fine".
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 5, 2006 12:08 AM PST

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