Failing (External) Hard Drive

  Charence 22:04 26 Jul 2009

My WD external hard drive (click here 500GB) recently started having problems.

1) After a while of use, the disk would hang and become unresponsive, causing my entire computer to crash. The problem was eliminated by restarting the hard drive.

2) Turning the hard drive on and off later did not solve the issue, or required many attempts. Problem was observed when either USB or Firewire was used. I had to wait around a day for the HDD to be "usable".

3) The hard drive would work for around 5-10 minutes, allowing me to remove ~500MB of data from it, before it stopped functioning.

4) After reading it might be caused by external casing, I extracted the drive and plugged it into a SATA port in my computer. This initially went well, I managed to retrieve around 13GB of data before it crashed again. I haven't managed to gain access for long enough to retrieve data since.

5) The SMART check at bootup shows that my HDD is OK. If I reboot (after crashing) the HDD is not detected in BIOS, however, shutting down and booting does work.

Windows will usually give me a "Delayed Write Failure" whilst Ubuntu gives errors such as "I/O error", "Device offlined - not ready after error recovery", "status: { DRDY }", "SRST failed (errno=-16)".

Anyone with any ideas what else I could try to recover the data here? I have tried plugging it in as an external drive and have directed many fans at it to keep it cool.

It is strange that it seems to work for a while if I don't use it for a few hours. The drive doesn't make any noises to indicate it is a mechanical failure and the SMART test doesn't indicate anything.


  Charence 22:06 26 Jul 2009

.. I have tried plugging it in as an INTERNAL drive ..

  Charence 22:19 26 Jul 2009
  woodchip 22:22 26 Jul 2009

sounds like a overheating drive, can you remove some of the case to let it cool better, is there a fan, is it working???????

  Charence 22:25 26 Jul 2009

I have already taken the external drive out of its casing, it is now sitting beside a case fan and desk fan. If the casing feels cool, does that necessarily mean the insides are cool? If not, then I guess overheating might be an issue.

Should I just put a few more fans on it?

  woodchip 22:30 26 Jul 2009

if the drive does not feel hot to the touch then its something else. Have you tried running disc checker on it and let it auto fix faults????? you do this by double click on My Computer then Right Click Tools\Disc Check

  accordion 22:32 26 Jul 2009

I hope you haven't been using the external drive as your main storage for data? It's supposed to be used for back-up, your PC being the main store.

Try putting it in the fridge for an hour - does tht make any difference?


  Charence 22:52 26 Jul 2009

woodchip - Thanks, I'll give that a try when I manage to regain access.

Disk Management on Windows indicated the drive was Healthy (last time it was recognised), I tried to do "chkdsk /f" as well, but that was very unsuccessful, it did not manage to read anything on the drive.

accordion - Thanks. Unfortunately, I have learnt my lesson a bit too late. I have a backup of some folders on this drive somewhere else, but that was made about half a year ago... My PC only has a 40GB HDD so is just about enough to fit some programs on it.

I'll let you know how the visit to the fridge goes in about an hour.

  woodchip 22:57 26 Jul 2009

Why not fit a extra drive in the comp as slave

  woodchip 22:58 26 Jul 2009

Or fit the one out of the caddy

  Charence 23:01 26 Jul 2009

I did that in point (4). It worked for a while, but not long enough.

I have gotten a more drives now for backup, but I'm trying to retrieve the data stored on this dying one.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

WPA2 hack: How secure is your Wi-Fi?

Microsoft Surface Book 2 hands-on review – bigger and 5x faster

Best kids apps for iPhone & iPad

Que faire si son iPhone ou iPad est tombé dans de l'eau ?