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If your LaCie Big Disk is dead, try another LaCie power supply with it before trying anything else, even if the blue LED comes on.  It fixed it for me.

Not a particularly exciting post, this, but I’m blogging it in the hope that it might save other people stress, time and money.

When my LaCie Big Disk, bought in late 2005 or early 2006, died on me, I wasn’t altogether fussed because I thought I’d had everything backed up and, like a lot of vaguely geeky people, I’ve accumulated terabytes of external hard drive space, so wasn’t missing 320GB.

Panic only struck last week when I finally found time and inclination to go through the photographic archives to process them through Aperture.  When I looked for the photos from 2005 and 2006 – including photos from my honeymoon and from my daughter’s very first days – I couldn’t find them in what was supposed to be the backup location.

Forgetting that my LaCie Big Disk was dead, I plugged it in, thinking that the photos must be on there.  The blue LED indicating power was on but there was no action otherwise – the disks weren’t spinning up as I expected.

A desperate Google search for ‘dead LaCie Big Disk’ turned up some really discouraging forum posts for people who had experienced the same as me.  I was despondent until a Twitter contact, @drilbu, helped me out a bit with trying to diagnose what had gone wrong.

And so it happened that I got to the stage of buying an external enclosure to rehouse the actual disks inside the LaCie enclosure.  To cut a long story short, it turned out that I couldn’t rehouse the disks because I had bought the wrong sort of enclosure.

In a odd mixture of despondency and desperation, I googled again and decided to click on every link in the search results, to see if I’d missed any golden nuggets of information, until I got to this: LaCie Big Disk spinning down unexpectedly, which said: “This is actually a problem with the power supply of these units, rather than with the drive itself”.

I have a LaCie DVD burner which has the same sort of power supply as the Big Disk.  Holding my breath as I plugged it in, I let out a huge sigh of relief as I heard the familiar asthmatic dalek sound of the hard drives spinning up.  I nearly jumped for joy when I connected the drive to the Mac and the drive mounted.

The lesson from this is that you shouldn’t assume the power is ok just because the blue LED comes on.  Oh, and back up, back up, back up, and, just for luck, back up again.

I’m now backing up, again, the photos, and also going to look for a decent offsite storage service for my precious gigabytes.  I have 100GB with a Strongspace lifetime account, although Strongspace’s future is bleak and I have no idea what kind of service is going to replace it.  Any recommendations gratefully received.