Searching For The Click Of Death

All you want to do is boot up your computer to play a little Civilization 4. Maybe you want to get started on that essay that’s been staring you in the face for the last three hours. You might be at work, coming in to the office for the morning and want to get started on the pile of paperwork that’s greeting you from your in-tray.

htscnIf you aren’t a tech person every single sound your hardware makes could be nerve-shattering. What’s that whine? What’s the click? If you don’t know what’s normal, you won’t know what’s abnormal. Everything is going to make some sort of sound, but there are ways to differentiate between regular noise and data-crushing death:

Today’s hard drives are very quiet and usually the system fan noise covers the drive. When the system ventilation fans get dirty or out of balance they can begin to make noise. Sometimes the hard drive is suspected of making these new noises.

Older hard drives will make noise during normal use. The level and type of noise may change depending on the function the drive is performing. Users must be able to distinguish normal noises from detrimental, abnormal noises.

Normal sounds include:
1. Whining noise during drive spin-up.
2. Regular clicking or tapping sounds during drive access.
3. Hard clicks when the drive heads park during power saving modes like Standby or Hibernation.
Abnormal noises include:
1. High-pitched whining sound can be an indication of abnormal function.
2. Noises can be caused by mounting issues. This is due to either a high frequency vibration in the mounting hardware, or a potential drive failure.
3. Repeated, regular tapping, grinding or beeping.
4. External (especially USB-only) drive clicking or beeping at time of connection, often accompanied by non-detection problems.
Troubleshooting noise issues for external drives:
External USB drive clicking and beeping can occur if the USB port does not provide enough power to operate the drive, often a USB 1.x port, or an unpowered USB hub.
To resolve this noise, connect the drive with both of the USB connectors (if possible), or if your drive only has one connector, try connecting it to other USB ports on your computer. If that does not work, connect it to a powered USB hub to ensure enough electrical power.

Hopefully you’re a bit more familiar with what are normal sounds for a computer. The click of death is as ominous as it sounds and you don’t want to find yourself in that position. Often sounds like this point to a physical issue with the hard drive itself. This means that you’ll need to replace certain parts of the hard drive or the entire physical drive. If that’s the case, you better hope you’ve been backing up your information to an external drive or a service like DropBox or OneDrive. This way when the technical team comes in to repair your device you can still carry on with your work.

Don’t let yourself get freaked out over every little sound. Educate yourself on the sounds that are going to cause you issues. The more you know the better, and quicker, you can respond to these issues and protect your data from the click of death.


Disaster Recovery And Recovering Fire Damaged Hard Drives

fire-damageEven if you don’t live in Canada you’ve probably heard about the wildfire that almost obliterated the booming oil town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. While authorities are still looking into the cause of the fire that destroyed 20% of the city it cannot be denied that this fire was a horrific disaster that pushed almost 100,000 people from their homes with little to no notice.

Imagine: you’re coming home from work for your lunch break when suddenly you’re told to grab anything and everything you can and get the hell out of Dodge. Needless to say computers and hard drives were the last thing on people’s minds. It’s important to have a recovery plan and while you may not be an organization, these tips are still relevant:

When you developed your data center disaster recovery (DR) plan, you designed it to protect your organization’s investment in information technology, communications and its staff. Depending on the nature of the disruption, your data center’s overall integrity may be untouched or it could be totally destroyed.

DR plans need to be flexible and scalable to address a broad range of disruption scenarios. In this article, we’ll provide data center checklists with recommended actions you can take in the aftermath of disaster. These checklists will make recovering from a disaster easier. Make sure you have the data center checklist—or a modified version using your own requirements—as you review the effects of a disruptive incident to your data center. Once you have completed an initial assessment of the situation and you are satisfied with the location of your staff, begin executing the DR plan.

Data center disaster recovery planning assumptions

A data center disaster recovery plan focuses exclusively on a data center facility and its infrastructure, such as its physical location, construction, security, power sources, environmental systems and its people. Be sure you’ve factored in the operational aspects of your data center as well as the people supporting it. This means addressing the following as you build your DR plan:

  • Data center technical and management staff, all shifts
  • Data center building (e.g., physical infrastructure, construction, location of entrances and exits, raised floor areas)
  • Building location (e.g., access routes, proximity to highways, rail lines and airports; proximity to fuel storage tanks)
  • Power generation (e.g., commercial power, backup power systems)
  • Power protection (grounding and bonding, lightning arrestors, line conditioners, surge suppressors)
  • Environment (e.g., heating, ventilation and air conditioning)


Many people lost their homes and everything that was inside. While the hard drives may have survived the fire and rescue efforts, the pictures and documents that are potentially housed on those drives would not have survived in their physical form.

It is always important to back up your data. Back up your digital copies of those irreplaceable memories. Should you ever find yourself in such a terrible situation there can be hope of recovery if you back up your files.

While there were no casualties as a result of the fire, which is amazing, plenty of people have lost things that make up their lives. Those who are affected should check with their insurance companies to see if data recovery is a cost that can be absorbed.

The horrific beauty of nature doesn’t discriminate and can come unannounced. Try to be as proactive as you can by having a plan in place and back up that data now, while you can.


Do Your Data Recovery For Mac: A Nice Tool

do-your-data-recoveryWe all know Mac users have been a little ‘special’ over the years. Apple keeps putting out cutting edge devices and improving on what they did five seconds ago with a cooler, sleeker model. The issue many Mac users are finding themselves in, however, is the fact that Windows is still the system that most companies make programs and apps for. While Apple is growing in popularity with the everyman, for many years it was seen as specialty equipment and had price tags far out of the reach of an average person.

Times have changed and companies are starting to see that they can reach a broader audience if they make their programs available for Mac users as well:

DoYourData Software, the famous data recovery software developer, releases Do Your Data Recovery for Mac 4.1 to empower Mac users to completely recover lost data under the latest Mac OS version – macOS Sierra. With the complete macOS Sierra data recovery solution, Mac users can easily get lost files back within simple steps.

Improved Data Recovery Software for macOS Sierra

DoYourData improves the Mac data recovery software as soon as Apple releases the macOS Sierra Beta. Now Do Your Data Recovery 4.1 is fully capable of recovering lost data under Mac macOS Sierra. It is not only compatible with macOS Sierra, but also compatible with OS X versions including OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11.

“We know that many users will upgrade to macOS Sierra, so we improve Do Your Data Recovery, and make it be fully compatible with the latest OS X version.” Bran, the Sales Manager, says “When Mac users upgrade to macOS Sierra, they can directly download, install and run Do Your Data Recovery to get their lost files back.”

Do Your Data Recovery 4.1 is very powerful and very easy to use. It can recover lost data from Mac hard drive or storage media due to deletion, format, virus attacking, upgrade failure, etc. Compared with other Mac data recovery software, Do Your Data Recovery 4.1 is easier to use. The wizard-based interface makes data recovery become easy. It is complete DIY tool, anyone can use it.


There’s nothing worse than having data deleted from your hard drive when it wasn’t meant to. Lightning just doesn’t listen and will strike anywhere and everywhere, eventually frying your outlets because you forgot to buy the surge protected power bar. With Do Your Data Recover anyone can easily retrieve data that has been spirited away from them, no matter the reason.

Now you don’t have to be so nervous every time Mac pokes you with a system upgrade notification. Click that upgrade button with pride knowing that your files can be easily retrieved in the event that something goes horribly wrong.

Because life tends to act like all the bad parts of a movie right when we don’t want them to!


Don’t Let Technology Rule Your Life

technology-rulesThe world is trying to move towards a more inclusive and comfortable state. More households report two working parents as opposed to one. Some households have parents working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. It’s no secret that in many countries the costs of living have gone up but wages have not followed.

Add a few kids to the mix and you’re probably running on caffeine and energy bars. Unless you’re on one of those fancy new diets, which in that case, good for you.

While mobile phones have gotten smarter and faster they’ve allowed work to encroach on our home lives. We’ve got to start finding ways to balance our use of tech and our personal lives before we begin to forget what our families look like in real life instead of through a lens.

So to help you working parents out are some tips to balance that excessive use of technology:

Take a moment and think about each of the times that you used your smartphone today. Maybe it helped you navigate around a traffic jam during your commute, catch up on email while you were on the train or gave you a way to communicate with a loved one far away.

Mobile technology is a blessing; the sanity of my offline world often depends on the spectacular gadget in my pocket. But I also believe that this constant access to technology leaves us incredibly vulnerable. Vulnerable to a distracted life, to incorrect priorities and to anxiety that you’re missing out. So it’s important to use it wisely — in a way that enhances, rather than detracts from, life.


This ability, to juggle with ease, feels magical to me. We can now summon, via a modern wand — the smartphone — life-enhancing services from the palm of our hand. And we can perform this magic whether we’re on the sidelines of a soccer field, on a bus or in a conference room at the office. When used correctly, this magic is simplicity and convenience at its best, and it helps women to successfully and more happily lead busy, productive full lives.

I frequently use this type of magic to create moments of delight for my family and to inspire unplugged moments for myself, and wanted to share a few of my favorite apps:

Headspace — to recharge after a busy day
After a busy day full of projects, people and to-do lists, Headspace helps me focus my thoughts on my family and live in the moment as much as possible


We don’t need to demonize technology. We don’t have to reject the smartphone. They’re not going away and this technology will only continue to grow. It’s all a matter of how we use it. If you’re going to have a million apps on your phone and complain about the quality of your family life, you might as well get apps that help you reconnect with your loved ones. Most of the apps mentioned in the article are free or low cost which is perfect when you’re trying to maintain a budget.

Don’t let technology take over your life. Regain control and make it work for you. After all, that’s what it was designed for in the first place.

Solving Your Hard Drive Replacement Problem

ssd-replacementRegardless of the size of the company most have a room average employees are not allowed to go into. This is generally the server room or where the external hard drives are located for data storage. These rooms tend to be a bit dark with a mess of wires and cables going every which way. You’ve probably seen this room and thought: ‘Man. I’d hate to be the guy who has to replace those drives when they bite the dust.’ Yes, you would probably hate to be that guy; however Solid State Drives (SSDs) are starting to solve that issue:

The economics of solid state storage is being turned on its head thanks to the introduction of longer-lasting enterprise SSDs.

That’s the conclusion of Randy Kerns, senior strategist and analyst at storage analyst Evaluator Group. Kerns was talking at the Flash Forward solid state storage conference in London in June. He says that flash-based storage is becoming far more durable than was the case in the past, and as a result enterprise SSD vendors like SanDisk are beginning to offer guarantees of ten years or more for some of their products.

“Dramatic Effect” of Enterprise SSDs

“When the lifespans of enterprise SSDs change, the effect is dramatic,” he said. “It affects not just the running costs but also migration, and it overlaps with all the other things built in to the total cost of ownership. So this is huge, and it overwhelms the price differential between spinning disk and flash.”

It’s an important point because enterprise SSD storage remains stubbornly more expensive than spinning-disk storage in terms of cost per gigabyte to purchase. But hard drive storage systems are only designed for a useful life of about three years, after which they have to be replaced and the data migrated to the new hardware. If enterprise SSD systems need to be replaced far less frequently, the effect is a significant reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO).

Enterprise SSDs Allow Consolidation

With enterprise SSDs there’s also an increasing TCO advantage derived from the fact that you need fewer or smaller storage systems. That’s because enterprise SSDs are becoming much denser in terms of data capacity than conventional hard drives. For example, in March Samsung unveiled its PM1633a enterprise SSD, which comes in a 2.5″ form factor and uses 3D NAND to offer a capacity of 15.36TB. By 2020 Toshiba predicts capacities of 20-40TB for hard drives, while enterprise SSDs could reach capacities exceeding 256TB.


Not only do SSDs not have moving parts which are the main culprits of system failure, they’re being manufactured with larger capacities than their hard drive compatriots. This means changing out the hard drives less often because you need space. Any growing business knows that you can’t underestimate the amount of space you’ll need to store your digital files. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Who knows? In the future instead of that dark room at the end of the hall no one but the tech guy is allowed to go into we’ll have nice shiny corners in the tech guy’s office where all the storage lives happily in the corner.

Anything is possible.

Science Fiction in Reality: Living Hard Drives

living-hard-drivesNot sure about you, but growing up as a kid watching shows like Star Trek and Red Dwarf gave me a new appreciation for how limitless technology could become. Who didn’t want a replicator in their house to make them snacks whenever they wanted? That would be so cool.

It should come as no surprise that science is constantly working at advancing the technological game. A recent discovery has been the development of a method to write strings of information on a living organism. How cool is that? It’s way cool. Here’s what you need to know:

By feeding strings of human-written data into colonies of bacteria, scientists have discovered a way to turn tiny cells into living, squirming hard drives.

A team of Harvard scientists led by geneticists Seth Shipman and Jeff Nivala has just developed a fascinating way to write chunks information into the genetic code of living, growing bacterial cells. It could be the code for a computer program or the lines of a poem. Either way, these living memory sticks can pass this data onto their descendants, and scientists can later read that data by genotyping the bacteria. As Shipman explains in a paper today in the journal Science, his method can upload roughly 100 bytes of data.

Bacterial Bytes

To be clear, scientists have already proven they can synthetically manufacture DNA in the lab and write into it pretty much whatever they want, including a full-length book on science. “But working within a living cell is an entirely different story and challenge,” says Shipman. “Rather than synthesizing DNA and cutting it into a living cell, we wanted to know if we could use nature’s own methods to write directly onto the genome of a bacterial cell, so it gets copied and pasted into every subsequent generation.”

Before this experiment, the most information any scientist had ever permanently uploaded into a living cell was 11 bits of information. That’s a mere 11 zeros and ones of binary data, and less information than your computer requires to code for two alphabetic letters. This new technique expanded this record to roughly 100 bytes of data. For reference, it would take your computer precisely one hundred bytes to encode this very sentence.

The Harvard geneticists used a fascinating immune response that certain bacteria have to protect themselves against viral infection. In the parlance of geneticists, this response is called the CRISPR/Cas system, and it’s actually quite simple. Basically, when these bacteria are invaded by viruses, they can physically cut out a segment of the attacking virus’s DNA and then paste it into a specific region of the bacteria’s own genome. This allows a bacteria to remember what a certain virus looked like in case it ever tries to invade again. Not only that, but this genetic memory is passed on to the bacteria’s progeny, transferring the viral immunity to future generations.


Did your brain just explode? Because mine did, just a little bit. This could be revolutionary for future methods of communication.

Get Informed About These 6 Hard Drive Killers

hard-drive-in-acidMachines are weak against some of the same things a human body is weak against. You might not have realized that before because they’re made of metal and are supposed to be resilient against certain types of damage, right? Well, how about we open your eyes with this handy list of six hard drive killers.

Even your hard drive can be assassinated and it’s important to know what the top culprits are. We’re talking about basic things like heat, physical damage, power surges, water damage, corrupted files and the worst of all: human error. These things may seem small but they can do some heavy duty damage if you aren’t prepared:

Almost every computer user comes across a horrifying situation and troubles due to hard drive failure. Nonetheless, users are not aware of the major causes contributing to the failure of a hard disk.

Hard drive failure occurs when the hard disk drive fails to function properly and information stored on your computer can no longer be accessed. Hard disk drives fail for a number of reasons, ranging from hardware life expectancy to human error.

Hard disk failure is a common problem. There are multiple types of failure, such as logical failure, physical failure, mechanical failure and electrical failure.

The six worst hard drive destroyers
There are four basic types of hard drive failures. (1) Software or firmware damage may cause the disk to become unreadable, resulting in the inability to interact properly with the computer. (2) Problems with the controller board on the hard disk may result in electronic failure. (3) Mechanical failure can occur when components on the disk become faulty. (4) Logical corruption may occur when there is a problem with the information on the disk.

The six worst hard drive destroyers are simpler than you might think.

– Heat: The primary cause of hard drive failures is hardware overheating. Inadequate ventilation and cooling in and around your computer hardware can cause severe damage to the equipment. Overworked hardware with little or no downtime and smoke or fire damage can wreak havoc on a system.

– Physical damage: Any type of physical force, such as bumping, jarring, or dropping your computer may lead to physical damage to the hard drive. If your computer is in use at the time of the impact, the read/write heads may touch or gouge the disks, causing damage to the platter’s magnetic surfaces where the data is embedded. This is known as a head crash, and the damage can be significant. Even if your computer is powered down, the likelihood of jarring your computer’s components is still present.


The six issues described in the above article are all contributors to physical failure of a hard drive. If you find yourself the victim of any of these issues you may have to invest in connecting with a hard drive recovery company to get your data back.
This is why it’s more important than ever to back up your files and information on a regular basis. You run the risk of not being able to recover your data, no matter what you do, and then you’ll be out of luck.

Don’t be a victim! Take proactive action today!

Bringing Medical Data Storage into the Future

medical-data-storageAll businesses know that data storage and analytics is crucial to operating effectively. Depending on your platform that you’re using to sell your product, you probably have handy little reminders to restock and reports on what is and is not selling. It’s all very simple and allows you to give the best experience to your customers and hope that by being awesome you’re able to bring them back.

What if we, as a nation, could bring that effectiveness to the health field?

Healthcare can learn a lot from retail when it comes to medical data storage and the tools used to utilize that data, according to Kate McCarthy, an analyst at Forrester Research who focuses on CIOs and health IT.

Providers are turning to cloud storage options because of cost and business flexibility. But should they be concerned about HIPAA and other health data regulations? Find out what one CIO thinks on the topic.

Storage and data analytics technologies are helping companies in the retail space understand what customers are likely to purchase based on their travel plans, what the customer’s budget is, what they’re looking to buy and more.

“I use Amazon for lots of things, and it very nicely reminds when I’m due for something to be restocked, and so there are all of those things built into their data algorithms that enable them to influence their customers; and it’s not just influencing their customers, it’s understanding their customers,” McCarthy said. “If we could do even half of that in healthcare, it would allow us to reduce bad clinical outcomes, it would allow us to improve quality of care, it would allow us to, essentially, prevent disease manifestation.”

For example, if a hospital could monitor a prediabetic patient, trend that person’s data and identify patterns in behavior that put them more at risk for moving into the actual category of diabetes, “those are all things you’d be able to do if you started to adopt new strategies for data and leveraging things like unstructured data, leveraging technologies like cognitive [computing],” McCarthy said. “If healthcare really gets engaged in doing things like that, the possibilities are truly endless.”

Of course, in order to do any of this in healthcare — data analytics, population health management, cognitive computing — effective medical data storage is required.

Suggested medical data storage options

In McCarthy’s opinion, most healthcare organizations should be looking into good basic health data storage options that include cognitive and predictive analytics. “I think those are fundamentally important moving forward,” she said.

I do think cloud is the way of the future, and so I definitely advise people to at least look at it as a potential option.

She pointed out that early adopters, like Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, have already invested in cognitive platforms.


If that doesn’t sound cool and like something out of Star Trek, you need to watch more television. Otherwise, this could potentially be a revolutionary step forward for the medical field.

Not only will your medical information be safe, but once it’s fully digitized it’ll be that much easier to send between health care providers as well. You can potentially receive medical assistance before you find yourself facing an emergency. This could prevent backlogs at medical services and help make the process of visiting the emergency room that much easier and less of a strain on our already worn out staff.

Just think of all the good that could come out of something like this!

Synology’s DiskStation DS916+ A Solid NAS Choice For Businesses

synology-diskstation-ds916There’s no denying that the world is advancing in the realm of technology with every passing day. We now hold the equivalent to a computer in the palm of our hands. Technology has not only impacted our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. Having hard copies of documents is going the way of the dodo while the preference for electronic documentation is on the rise.

The problem that many businesses face with this change is the fact that electronic files have a real risk at being corrupted or accidentally removed. While we are making advancements, there is no shortage of skills we need to develop to keep our information secure.

In comes cloud-based technology. ‘The Cloud’ is that remote database where you can store all manner of files. There are several companies that specialize in remote backup services where you are given a set amount of space and pay a fee to store your files. Instead of having rooms dedicated to hard drives specifically for the purpose of saving data businesses can use that space to store product, create offices or expand their staff.

No matter what your business is, your main goal, aside from serving your clients, is keeping their information safe. The risk that is run by using a remote cloud server to back up your files is that you don’t have control over what happens to that server. If the server goes down, you can expect to be without your data for hours, sometimes even days. The benefit of having your cloud servers on location is immeasurable. The new Synology DiskStation DS916+ NAS server has been designed to solve the problems you didn’t even think you had:

The Synology DiskStation DS916+ NAS server provides an ideal private cloud solution for your business, both protecting your data and maximising your productivity.

A full-featured 4-drive-bay network attached storage solution optimised for intensive tasks, it is specifically designed for small and medium-sized business users and IT enthusiasts who care about high performance throughput and safety for data sharing and backup.

But DS916+ is much more than just a powerful storage, offering in addition 4K transcoding capability, expandability, and a next-generation Btrfs file system.


Most people switch between multiple devices every day, and Cloud Station allows you to synchronize data across all your devices, such as computers, mobile devices or DS916+.

Utilizing the massive storage space of DS916+, you can build a private cloud for everyone in your company, without having to pay monthly fees to providers like Dropbox or Google Drive.


Not only are you saving money by using a local backup like the Synology DiskStation, you are gaining more control over what happens to your data. This is the ideal situation for many small and mid-sized businesses as they grow their client base and expand their reach. More and more businesses are moving towards cloud-based data storage to help cut down on space required. The more money you save on office space the more funds you can invest into your staff and business.

It’s the smart way to do business and an easy solution to your data problems.


MacBook Pro Keeps Freezing? Recent Upgrade May Be The Issue

macbook-freezesUpgrading your operating system is a basic part of computer ownership. Some companies make the upgrade optional and some, let’s not forget the fact that Windows® has been basically forcing people to upgrade to Windows® 10, are a bit more forceful about their upgrades.
While you may feel pressured to upgrade your system when a new one becomes available, there are times when waiting is better than jumping on the bandwagon.

Take this issue Apple users have been facing:

A seemingly growing number of users are complaining about the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, saying it’s causing freezing issues.

Mac users across forums sites, including those on Apple-tracking site Macrumors as well as Apple’s own support forums, are complaining about freezing. On the Macrumors forums, alone, hundreds of people have complained about the issue. A search on Apple’s forums reveals similar results.

The issue appears to be a problem with OS X 10.11.4, the latest version of Apple’s El Capitan that launched in March. Users complain that while they’re using the operating system normally, it will suddenly freeze. While many people have experienced the issue in Apple’s Safari browser, others say that it’s also proving troublesome on both other Apple apps and third-party applications.

Macrumors, which earlier reported on the issue, says that the problem appears to be “concentrated” in Apple’s MacBook Pro line. However, Apple’s support forums include posts from people who are running the latest El Capitan version on several other Macs, including the company’s low-cost Mac Mini.

“The way this manifests itself is that scrolling and mouse movements suddenly start to get slow and jerky,” a Mac Mini poster to Apple’s site says. “Then, within 30 seconds to a minute, the keyboard stops working and mouse clicks no longer have an effect, but the mouse cursor will still move. Then it either stays that way indefinitely or the system crashes. The only recourse is to force a reboot using the power button.”

Many other users have also said that the only way to fix the issue is to force a hard reboot, which requires users to hold down the power button until the machine restarts. Upon reboot, the Mac is up and running again with no issue, according to the reports.


This can be a real problem for people who are using an Apple device for their business needs. If you can’t trust your computer to run properly, how can you serve your clients appropriately?

While there are some ways around the issue as outlined in the article, the question that remains is how much of an issue it actually is and whether Apple is going to do anything about it. It’s accurate to state that this turn of events is exceptionally annoying, it’s not a deal breaker for a lot of people.

Depending on how much you use your potentially affected computer you might be better off waiting for a patch to be implemented to fix this issue before you upgrade your operating system. If it’s not that big of a deal to you, go for it; just be aware that you may be signing yourself up for some headaches in the future.