I've written before about the dreadful state of LaCie and its line of hard drives. I am slowly getting rid of the ones I have.
At one time, I thought that a network drive would solve the problem created by Microsoft, in which they make it difficult to access data on networked computers. Since networked printers had worked well in our office, I got LaCie's Network Drive so that data could be easily stored and shared among multiple computers.
Short story: didn't work.
The LaCie Network Drive is a beautiful beast outwardly, but inside it is a nasty beast. Because of its minimalist design, it lacks even a serial number stamped on its black bottom, should one want tech support from LaCie. No serial number, no support. (Remember to cut the serial number from the cardboard box and then clumsily scotch-tape it to the drive.)
Installing a network drive is tough, software-wise. It is not plug'n play. As one of LaCie's troubleshooting pages admits:
IP Configurator and Network Assistant [software] use a less common protocol called ARP to find an Ethernet Disk. As this isn't often used by computer users, many firewall and security programs will interfere with it.
This is not a sentence you often read in pre-purchase marketing materials.
Anyhow, I got the drive set up and operating. It appears in the network section of Windows Explorer, with two primary folders: one private (needs a password to access it) and one public. That was fine, but often Windows could not find the drive, as LaCie explains to you only post-purchase (see quote above).
More irritatingly, the drive's heads constantly moved, making this scratching noise that never ever stopped. LaCie tech support explained to me that this was a bug, in which the drive continuously updates its index of files found on the drive. They sent me an update, which fixed the problem.
The difficulty that Windows had in reliably finding the drive, however, made me give up on using it. Because I could not use it for every-day use, I thought I would use the drive just as a backup for files that I don't need frequent updates, such as my collections of photographs, videos, book projects, and software.
Fine, but then last week I needed some files from the drive, and for the first time in a couple of years I reconnected it to my computer. This was the start of about a week spent battling the drive to get it to give up its files to me.
Windows saw the drive, but copying files took, well, centuries it would have been. I don't think a single file was fully copied the first day. I went to the LaCie site and got a software update, although I was not sure if it was the right one, because of the drive being devoid of markings.
The LaCie utility software for applying the update to the drive didn't think it saw the drive. In any case, it spun its spinner for a day or so.
Even the simple act of turning off the drive meant eventually pulling the power plug, because it would not shut down. (BTW, network drives have tiny Linux computers inside, just like routers and other network devices.)
At one point, I took apart the drive, and installed it in my desktop computer. But while the computer recognized it as hardware (Windows installed the correct drivers), Windows did not see the drive at the software level. I think this is because it is a network drive, and is not meant to be installed directly in computers.
At one other point, LaCie's software complained that Bonjour was not installed on my computer (which it is), which it needs to operate. Bonjour is installed, so this was another irritant LaCie provides customers.
Eventually, I came across this page at LaCie's site -- http://www.lacie.com/support/support_manifest.htm?id=10300&guideid=10596 -- and I did the following things to get my files back.
- Moved the network cable from a router (that had had a spare port) to the router which more directly accessed my desktop computer. The link between the computer and the drive was now more direct.
- Reset the drive by turning it off, turning it back on for 3 seconds, then off and on again. I had to do this a few times before the drive was reset.
The reset process is safe: no files are destroyed. But it does remove all updates, and so this drive is back to its annoying, relentless indexing.
Never mind, Windows now was able to copy my backup files. The 77GB of photos were copied in about six hours. I was surprised at how slowly the drive delivers its data. The final black mark.
I'll get a few more files off it drive, and then junk it.