Two Fried Drives Rescued
"We're pretty confident about what we can do," Remley said. "We've found that we can save data about 98 percent of the time."
When the data is recovered from bad digital storage, it will be returned to the customer on an external USB hard drive with a two-year limited warranty.
"If a customer drops off an 80GB hard drive, for example, we'll return the data on a similar-quality 80GB external drive, with a simple USB connector," Remley said. "So all the customer has to do is plug it in, and the data will all be poured back into the new drive or device."
I decided to go out on a limb and ask Remley if I could have Seagate recover the data from my two fried drives. I had some vintage Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton tracks and some rare Beatles outtakes on one of those drives, and I wanted them back in my music collection in the worst way.
"Sure, let's see what we can do," Remley said.
A few weeks later, during a slight lull in schedules, I brought the two drives down to the Seagate Services fix-it shop in Santa Clara, Calif., just down the Bayshore Freeway from my office.
I was impressed with the way the whole process was handled. The workshop had about a half-dozen technicians working on rescues of varying kinds ("This one was in a bad fire, but we were still able to save most of the data," one fellow said, showing me a badly blackened drive.)
Mine weren't blackened, but they were in sad shape. My technician carefully took my first drive apart, gave it a visual inspection and remarked that it looked pretty normal to him.
But after plugging it into a diagnostic workstation, he could immediately find the sectors of the drive that had gone bad. A confusing grid of numbers popped up on his screen, but he knew exactly what it all meant. He took furious notes, smiled quite a bit and assured me that he could save most of my data on that drive. With the exactitude of a watchmaker and a scientific outlook, he went about his business, and I felt good about the eventual outcome-although you never really know what's going to happen when you turn in a burned-out HDD.
In about four days, I received a call informing me that I could pick up my data on a brand-spanking-new storage drive.
Wow! Now this was cool.
The Seagate team had loaded both of my drives onto a new FreeAgent Pro, sporting a storage capacity of 320GB. This model stands vertically, with only a 5- by 7-inch footprint on my desk. It connects via USB to any computer I own, and carries with it its own backup software. It lights up in a very cool way when it's running, too.
It was so nice to get Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, the Beatles outtakes and all my other stuff back into circulation. For that, I can thank the Seagaters-who really know what they are doing, because they actually design and build these things.