rsync seems to overwhelm a failing hard disk

Dan Stromberg drsalists at
Tue Nov 26 22:25:07 MST 2013

On Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM, Chris Dennis <cgdennis at>wrote:

> Hello rsync people
> Today I was recovering data from a beginning-to-fail external USB hard
> disk.
> I started with my usual 'rsync -av --ignore-errors <source> <dest>', and
> that was fine until it got to the first I/O errors.  It paused but
> continued after the first couple of errors, but then the disk started
> buzzing and rsync gave error messages for every file (I'm afraid I didn't
> note the exact text of the messages).  After that, every run of rsync
> (trying to --exclude the faulty files and folders) started the disk buzzing
> again, and rsync couldn't copy anything.<>

I don't know why rsync's normal operations are triggering bad disk behavior
in your case, but here's a program that might help you get your data:

I used it to recover data from a flaky Lustre filesystem once.
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