As fate would have it, I was on the phone yesterday when my production desktop starting dinging madly, ringing the USB device added (or removed) sound on and off repeatedly. “What in the world?” I thought to myself as I continued on with my call resolving to check things out ASAP once it ended. Sure enough, upon jumping into Event Viewer, I saw the following error events in my event log that flagged a Volsnap error (from the Volume Shadow Copy service, aka VSS):
The phrase “IO failure” tells me exactly what I needed to know.
The drive in question is attached via USB 2.0 to my production PC, and I use it primarily to store my weekly image and nightly incremental backups, so it is kind of important to my system’s overall health and well being. Some quick online research informed me that this means my drive is probably failing, because bad sectors (and attempts to write to them) are what usually triggers this error to be reported.
What This Volsnap Error Means Is…
Apparently, it’s time for me to replace my backup drive. Looking back at my records, I see I bought this drive in 2010, so it is out of warranty. It’s also given me almost 6 years of solid dependable service, so I’m OK with having to rotate it out. The only downside is that it’s home to 1.52 TB of data (it’s a backup drive, remember?) and that’s going to take hours to copy from the old drive to the new one. In the meantime, I’m going to retarget my backup utilities (I use Acronis for nightly incrementals and weekly full backups, and the built-in Windows Backup utility for weekly image snapshots) to a different drive until I can bring in and set up its replacement. Based on the recent Backblaze report, it looks like I should buy a 4TB HGST drive. Looks like I can pick up an HGST Ultrastar from Newegg for about $225. Sure I could spend $75 less and get the Deskstar of the same 4TB capacity, but given that I’m using this drive for backup, I want something that will hopefully last as long as the drive it’s replacing, if not longer.