Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

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Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:45 am

I was looking for a simple fool-proof back-up solution and my computer consultant recommended that I purchase an EZ Dock 2 with three 4TB Western Digital 7200 RPM (64 MB Cache_ SATA drives.) Model WD4001FAEXSP

The idea was to set up a RAID 1 with two of them in EZ Dock and use the 3rd for a clone.
I did this and everything was fine and then all of a sudden I wasn't able to access the drives and had an error message that they were corrupted and asked me if I wanted to reformat.

This was the case even for the CLONE?

We have drives accessing them with a different SATA connection and still get the same message.

The drives DID run hot to the point where I put a fan next to them. I'm not a serious techie which is why I hired someone. Kingwin says they have no answers for me. My consultant says he can't help me.

I've re-formatted one of the drives and am using it as a back-up, but have lost a month's work.

This is very serious for me, so any ideas with be very much appreciated.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:30 pm

if you had a clone disk you should just be able to hook it up on another system and use it. It is possible when you had the corruption the cloning was active and replicated the issue. Was this just set up as a 3 member RAID 1 group?

One thing though... if this is a backup set up why is the original data on there? A backup should always be taking a copy from the original... RAID is not a backup!

The best backup setup is have your original data on your machine, then have software do a backup to a remote drive (USB plugged in should be the minimum, separate nas/server is better and farther away is better). I personally use windows home server and its backup software. Most good NAS boxes come with something these days.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:28 am

Here is what is so weird and NOONE seems to understand what happened, so theories abound.

The two drives were functioning at a RAID 1 mirroring each other. I designated these my Z drive and this is the drive I used to store my working files. I DID use my desktop HP's "C" drive to boot up.

Everything was working fine. I did a clone, by changing the switches on the EZ-DOCK 2 as directed to on their brochure. I removed the clone an re-inserted the two other drives and re-set switched in the RAID 1 config.

I then CONTINUED to work with those drives for a period of weeks and they were fine.

One day, I got the message that the RAID 1 was corrupted and asked me if I would like to reformat. I thought, no problem, at least I have the clone.

When I put the clone in, it game me the same message.

I bought a EZ_CONNECT SATA adapter and hooked up the drives without the dock and it was given the same message.


I took it into the local geeks and they got the same message.

The KINGWIN people who make the dock said they were working on the issue but now don't answer my e-mails.


MY THEORY:

The EZ DOCK 2 was never made to run the drives as often as I ran them. They did get hot and I placed a room fan next to them to cool them.

OR

Something in the Dock (an embedded chip of some sort?) messed them up


or

Some crazy virus infected them, but then, why not the rest of my computer?


Like I said, I'm not a techie, so excuse any layman's descriptions.

Thanks again for ideas!
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:30 am

lindenhillsguy wrote:Everything was working fine. I did a clone, by changing the switches on the EZ-DOCK 2 as directed to on their brochure. I removed the clone an re-inserted the two other drives and re-set switched in the RAID 1 config.

I am confused here. What software did you use to do the cloning? You also say you "re-inserted the two other drives" afterwards; how could you clone the original drive(s) if they were removed?

Maybe it would help if you described the cloning process you used step by step.

When you originally did the cloning, did you check the cloned drive to verify that the data got copied to it correctly?

lindenhillsguy wrote:One day, I got the message that the RAID 1 was corrupted and asked me if I would like to reformat. I thought, no problem, at least I have the clone.

If one of the drives of the RAID-1 got corrupted, you should've been able to rebuild the array from the remaining good drive. If both drives got corrupted, that likely indicates a software problem of some sort.

What are you using to do the RAID-1? The OS's built-in RAID capabilities, motherboard RAID, or something supplied by the dock vendor?
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:39 am

first of all, find a new computer consultant. seriously, why would he have you run psuedo-RAID over a usb dock? you are just asking for trouble there. usb docks should be used to make a clone image or backup of your hdd/valuable files, then the drive should be pulled. i would not leave a drive running in a dock for any extended period of time. and why did he have you use 4tb hdds? do you really have that much data? seems like he was just tying to get you to spend through the nose.

going forward, i would just use 1 hdd in the dock at a time and have it be the backup to your important data. don't rely on the kingwin clone button to do the work for you either. use some type of clone software ( i like xxclone personally, but there are many out there like clonezilla, macrium reflect, etc..) and then remove drive when finished. or you could even use something like robocopy or synctoy if you didn't want to do a whole clone image.

after thinking about it, i am not sure if your setup was ever running correctly for data redundancy. if you had 2 hdds in the dock running RAID 1, how would you attach the 3rd hdd to make the clone? if you pulled 1 of the RAID drives and then attempted to clone it wouldn't work bc you would have broken the RAID 1 array first. sounds like this is why your 3rd clone drive doesn't have anything???
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:42 am

Well, it sounds like the dock dutifully copied the garbage data from one disk onto the other. That sucks, sorry to hear it.

Not sure why the third disk would also be messed up, though, unless you plugged it into the dock while it was still mirroring garbage data.

Disks getting really hot can do things like this. I had a 320GB 7200rpm laptop drive for a long time, it got really hot once, had a "SMART end-to-end error" which means that the data that got onto the disk was different from the data that came in the connector. Cooled it off and it worked fine ever after, but with SMART errors, which made it useless.

Personally, I'd try running testdisk against all three disks, see if you can recover your partitions on one of the disks, and I'd dump the dock to someone who will use it as a dock.

I have WD MyBook external running RAID1 that makes a very nice semi-connected archive. I would feel comfortable recommending those.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:03 am

Yeah, after looking up the specs and manual for EZ-DOCK 2 I think this was a bad idea from the word go.

The product manual is very unhelpful; it isn't entirely clear to me whether this device does RAID internally, or whether it relies on you to set up RAID via your OS's RAID capabilities -- the table of switch settings in the manual says "For computers with RAID Function"... but if it is using the OS's RAID capabilities then why are there switch settings at all? My guess is that the dock does the RAID internally. There is NO WAY I would ever trust the firmware in a $50 drive dock to do RAID for me; that's just asking for trouble.

Even setting aside the issue of trusting your valuable data to the firmware in a cheap external RAID dock, there's a pretty good chance that the RAID set would not be recognized by anyone else's RAID implementation. So if the dock itself dies, your data is inaccessible until you can get another one of the same dock. Proprietary RAID implementation would also explain why the drives still appear to be corrupt when connected through the EZ-Connect. These kind of issues are why your should always use the OS's native software RAID unless you are spending big bucks on an enterprise-grade RAID subsystem.

Bottom line: If this is a desktop system and you want RAID, use a pair of INTERNAL drives and your OS's built-in RAID capabilities; use the dock strictly for backups. If this is a laptop system, don't bother with RAID; just do your work on the internal drive and back up to the dock and/or USB thumbdrives (if your files are small enough to fit). Check your backups after you make them to make sure the disk is readable (i.e. unmount and remount the drive, make sure it comes up), and rotate your backups so you're not overwriting the last known good one with the new one.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:35 am

You all have been very helpful and explained it rally well to me. I do have one question.

Based on one of the comments, should I spend the buck on another KingWin EZ Dock 2 to see if that reads the data?

I could always return it.


Thanks
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:39 am

lindenhillsguy wrote:You all have been very helpful and explained it rally well to me. I do have one question.

Based on one of the comments, should I spend the buck on another KingWin EZ Dock 2 to see if that reads the data?

I could always return it.

I'd tell your "consultant" to hump his ass pronto out to your place with his EZ Dock 2 and if you can get data off the drives you won't ask him for large refunds.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:47 am

If the first dock has actually failed, there is a chance that a second one might help you get your data back. I don't think the odds of that working are good though; sounds more like a firmware glitch corrupted the RAID set.

Given that this was a RAID-1 set, your best bet is probably to run some sort of data recovery tool on the drives like Forge suggested. There's a chance the tool will be able to find the data partition and recover the files.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:00 pm

just brew it! wrote:These kind of issues are why your should always use the OS's native software RAID unless you are spending big bucks on an enterprise-grade RAID subsystem.


OS RAID can suck, too. Some of the higher end consumer gear isn't bad at all, but RAID is one of those fields where you get what you pay for.

I'll repeat the WD MyBook External being pretty decent kit. Drobo also makes some pricy but flexible and good gear. Basically, if you do some shopping around and spend at least a hundred and preferably two or three hundred dollars or more, you can get a nice quiet, reliable external setup.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:08 pm

Forge wrote:OS RAID can suck, too.

Yeah, but it tends to suck *less* than cheap RAID kit, and you're not going to lose access to your data just because the controller or enclosure you're using stops working. Sure, trying to set up an OS to boot from software RAID can be a pain; but as long as you're using it only for data volumes IMO it's really the only way to go unless you're willing to spend to get the good stuff.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:23 pm

Been there. Done that.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=75854

I feel ya.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:59 pm

a better solution that using the dock as you said is to use it as backup media... forget the RAID and just rotate the 3 disks. do work on your local drive as 1 more copy.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:08 pm

Thank you. My c drive is 2 TB and almost full. I do lots of video and photo work.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:19 pm

Arvald wrote:a better solution that using the dock as you said is to use it as backup media... forget the RAID and just rotate the 3 disks. do work on your local drive as 1 more copy.


That sounds like a fine plan, you'll probably want to invest in some sort of 5.25" bay mounted hot swappable dock for the rotated disk, else you're likely to get bored/tired of it/lazy and forget to swap out as regularly as you should.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:48 pm

Forge wrote:That sounds like a fine plan, you'll probably want to invest in some sort of 5.25" bay mounted hot swappable dock for the rotated disk, else you're likely to get bored/tired of it/lazy and forget to swap out as regularly as you should.

Probably OK to use the existing dock for that, as long as the RAID functionality is disabled.
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Re: Kingwin EZ Dock 2-Wiped Drives!!??

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:24 am

I'm a little confused about this - you indicated that this failure lost a month of work for you which would indicated this is your primary storage location for your work, but wouldn't it lose all your work, then?

I would guess as others have said that the dock must be using some proprietary configuration for its RAID scheme that makes the disks unreadable by standard connections and devices. I think getting your consultant to supply another dock of the same make and model to attempt data recovery is a reasonable course of action. If it means getting a month of work back, I think it would be worth a shot.

Going forward, it sounds like your drives are fine, and it even sounds like the dock is working fine, but I don't know that I would trust it with important information again. That being said, if you've got (3) 4TB drives and it sounds like you have less than 4TB of data you're well on your way to having a decent backup system with a few modifications. I would personally install one of the drives internally if possible for the fastest access to your data while you're using it. Then get an external enclosure or two (these look decent http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817173043) and either swap them out as offsite backups regularly, or my preferred option, use a program like Crashplan to locate one remotely (at home, work, parent/trusted friend's house) and back up daily or even as frequently as every minute if you want to. I use both Windows home server and Crashplan to backup both my data and my installations and I've been able to save a lot of time and data. The idea is that a local backup is going to be quick and protect you against things like hardware failure and data corruption as well as human error with a quick path back to usable data. The idea of offsite is to protect against disaster (fire, flood, theft) and the off chance that your local backup would also be unusable due to hardware failure, corruption, etc.

There are about a million ways to skin the cat of backup and we've discussed it on the forums and front page comments of the site a few times - none of them have to be terribly technical, but there are better options you can use without a large investment (or any) in additional hardware.

Hope you get your data back - that's a terrible feeling.
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