Failed External Hard Drive
A few days ago Tatiana's external hard drive stopped working (previously: How to Salvage a Laptop Hard Drive). I was present in the room when she started having difficulties with it, but she was generally keeping quiet about them during the heat of the moment.
She'd plugged both her MP3 player and external drive into her diminutive Asus Eee PC so that she could transfer some music between the two—something that she's apparently done before—when she started complaining a bit about an achingly slow transfer speed. Not long after that the power went out for a spell (not an uncommon occurrence at our host's home in Apoldu de Sus) and the laptop switched over to battery power.
Shortly thereafter she canceled out of the transfer, and noticed that she couldn't read any of the files off the drive. I told her to give it all a restart, which marked the last time either of us have seen a file on the device since.
I can't get the drive to mount on either her laptop or mine. Windows 'computer management' says the drive isn't initialized, and when I try to do so (at the risk of formatting the drive in order to restore what might be a corrupted master boot record, I get the same I/O error that halts the process.
Without the ability to mount the drive, I can't use any software to help recover data or resolve the problem. From the looks of all this I'm going to venture a guess that there's been a hardware failure of the hard drive enclosure, or the hard drive itself.
I've opened up the enclosure and taken a look at the connection, but everything seems kosher. Perhaps her laptop couldn't supply enough power to both devices at the same time (especially with all three of her USB ports occupied), and the power fluctuation put the final nail in the coffin. Thankfully the MP3 player doesn't seem to be any worse for wear.
Bottom line is that this is a real pain in the ass for the both of us. Her Eee PC lacks the hard drive space to do anything without external storage, she might have very well lost some photos that weren't backed up (and certainly all of her entertainment media), and I've lost an important backup resource.
Having another backup point in a different backpack than my own has been a component of my data risk mitigation strategies of late (it's unlikely that both our backpacks will be stolen or damaged simultaneously), thus the failure of this drive has certainly impacted the both of us.