"Stay away from Buffalo Hard Drives"

That's what they told me at The Oliver Group, a local data recovery company where I took my Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity external 3TB hard drive. "They have their own software that sits on a controller board between the drive and the OS. We've seen it cook the hard drives to the point of physical damage."

I tested the theory by taking the Seagate 3TB drive out of the enclosure and connecting it to my PC with a USB3 dock I use for many other drives. Turns out Windows sees it as an uninitialized drive, and only in Drive Manager. Pop it back in the Buffalo enclosure and everything is there.

It all started when I was recording a .NET Rocks! show with Ted Pattison. The recording stopped abruptly and I was unable to access the files I was just recording to. Other files started giving me trouble as well. I could read the directory data just fine. There was no typical skipping noise or churning noise coming from the drive indicating bad sectors. There was only a problem when I went to copy or otherwise access the files. The OS hung like it no idea how to deal with the issue. That's becuase it didn't. 

The Oliver Group was able to restore all the data onto a new hard drive except for about 50MB worth of files, some of which hadn't been touched in over a year. $500 later, as the technician was handing me my drives he said, "a word of warning. Stay away from these Buffalo external drives."

And so I shall.

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