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Old 2008-01-19, 02:49   Link #1
teachopvutru
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External HDD Failure?

Well, today when I was watching anime files that resided in a WD External Hard Drive with 500GB max disk space, the video would skip for a bit, and then return back to playing. After a series of skipping, it halted completely. I then restarted my computer (well, it was an unwritten rule that a reboot fixes everything so... ).

The computer booted back on when I found that the External HDD did not mount. Well, it had happened to me before, but I'd turn off and turn the hard drive back on and it would be mounted again. This time, it didn't, but instead I heard the 'click' sound... And since quite a few threads pop up in this subforum regarding the same symptom, I kinda decided that I might get hard disk failure.

Therefore, right now, I just need someone to clarify it, since I'm mostly unsure. If it does indeed fails, what measure should I take to retrieve back the data?
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Old 2008-01-19, 02:57   Link #2
Sazelyt
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I haven't experienced that before, so, if I were you, at first, I would check if the failure was caused by the hard disk or the external enclosure. WD does not have a great reputation regarding its externals, so, if you have an option to check that, taking out the hard disk and connecting to another machine or external enclosure, you may verify the source of fault.

If the hard disk is indeed failed, then, I am sure someone else here would suggest the proper ways to recover your information depending on the seriousness of the failure.

(and as a side note, reboot is not a for-sure fix)
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Old 2008-01-19, 03:35   Link #3
DJ_RockmanX
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It sounds to me like your drive has been run one too many times.

If it comes to the worst and your drive has crashed, I recommend you do the following (according to Google searches and advice from others):

1. Put your drive in an airtight bag, and stick it in the freezer.

2. Get yourself some new hard drive space in preparation for some massive file dumping.

3. Come back for your drive in a while (some say a day or two, but I've still got my drive in the freezer even after a few weeks), and try to connect the drive back up to your computer.

With luck on your side, you'll be able to boot it up, and at this time recover whatever you can. Assuming the drive may fail again, you'll be be running on limited time, so you'll have to prioritize files if there's too much to move. This method has served various others according to what I've googled on the subject, and I'm currently attempting to recover a drive I lost last summer. I just hope that trying the method multiple times is possible - I lost a completely filled 500 GB drive, a substantial blow to my anime addiction.
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Old 2008-01-19, 14:15   Link #4
teachopvutru
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Well... just woke up. I turned it off during the night. Now I just turned it on and my hard drive is mounted again... Also, I can't deny that I abuse it a lot. I have only bought it a few months more than half a year ago, lol.

Maybe it's near the end of its life? I probably should backup the data though, just in case...

EDIT:
Nvm, it stops mounting up again... I think I'm going to turn it off and wait for a while..
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Last edited by teachopvutru; 2008-01-19 at 14:38.
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Old 2008-01-19, 14:46   Link #5
Ledgem
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Don't use the drive until you have another drive that you can transfer to.

If you're hearing the clicking sound, it's probable that the drive itself is failing. But if you're having issues with mounting and that's all, it's possible that the enclosure itself is failing. If that's the case you should still be able to open the enclosure, get the drive out, and put it into a new enclosure.

If the data isn't terribly important (anime can always be re-downloaded), contact Western Digital. WD's warranty policy is a year for externals. It's a terrible policy, but you're luckily covered by it. They will probably require you to send your drive back to them and they'll send you a new one. They may not send your damaged drive with it, though, in which case you'd have lost what was on there.

On a side note, I know of the freezer trick, but has anyone ever tried using their drive while it was still in the freezer? (If the cable is long enough, this could be done by using a SATA/IDE to USB adapter, plugging it into the drive, closing the freezer door, and then linking it up to your computer.)
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Old 2008-01-19, 15:22   Link #6
teachopvutru
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I have some school works in there as well, although they aren't terribly important either... but I want to recover them back. Plus, I have dumped a whole bunch of stuffs in there that I don't even remember which...

In any case, seem like I have to first verify if it's indeed HDD failure or the enclosure's. How advisable would it be to take out the disk and check that? Just want to make sure before I do anything. I don't have another external enclosure sitting around, though.
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Old 2008-01-19, 15:45   Link #7
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiachopvutru View Post
I have some school works in there as well, although they aren't terribly important either... but I want to recover them back. Plus, I have dumped a whole bunch of stuffs in there that I don't even remember which...

In any case, seem like I have to first verify if it's indeed HDD failure or the enclosure's. How advisable would it be to take out the disk and check that? Just want to make sure before I do anything. I don't have another external enclosure sitting around, though.
First, check the terms of the Western Digital warranty. I'd imagine that they won't like it if you open the enclosure, unless it's made specifically for it. For example, at work we have a few MyBook Premium Edition drives and the manual includes instructions for how to unscrew the enclosure and insert a replacement drive. On the other hand, I use a MyBook Home Edition (or whatever edition) at home, and I don't think you can remove the drive without cracking the enclosure open.

If it isn't urgent, contact WD first and ask them what you need to send back (if anything) and if they'll give you your old drive back if you need to send it to them. If they'll give you a new drive and return your old drive to you, I'd definitely do that. You'll probably have to pay for postage, but I'd imagine it'll be much cheaper than buying a new drive! This would be especially nice if the drive itself is OK, as you could then remove it and have two working 500 GB drives.

If it's urgent or you opt not to take advantage of the warranty, look over your manual to see if you can remove the drive. If not, you'll need to crack it open. Look for weak points in the enclosure. If your WD is the same model as mine, the top and bottom look relatively weak, especially where they connect to the front and sides (the "book" part). I would see if I could pry it apart from the rest of the enclosure. If you're going to be doing any smashing, be very gentle! Above all you want to avoid hitting or jarring the drive, and you absolutely do not want to damage the connectors in the back.
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Old 2008-01-19, 17:45   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
On a side note, I know of the freezer trick, but has anyone ever tried using their drive while it was still in the freezer? (If the cable is long enough, this could be done by using a SATA/IDE to USB adapter, plugging it into the drive, closing the freezer door, and then linking it up to your computer.)
I thought you put the drive in a sealed bag, to prevent any kind of problems within the drive. You can still make an opening for the cable and seal the rest of the way, but, you will still be using the drive at extreme weather conditions. In the worst case, who knows the drive may fail in a way that you cannot recover even using the freezer trick (kind of like wrong bone repair process).
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Old 2008-01-19, 18:11   Link #9
Ledgem
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I suppose that depends if the temperature within the freezer is beyond the recommended drive operating temperatures, but that's a good point that you bring up.
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Old 2008-01-19, 18:59   Link #10
teachopvutru
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Well, it doesn't look like I can remove the external enclosure without voiding the warranty. There are also other stuffs with complicate wordings in the Warranty Policy, but it says it here:

Spoiler for a portion of WD Warranty Policy:



It's a shame since I would rather be able to check and if it's the enclosure that fails, I will just buy another enclosure... (plus I have never went through all this warranty hassle before...)

Anyway, I think I'm going to put the drive (it's okay if I didn't remove the enclosure right?) into the freezer.

I don't think the external hdd gets to the point of not being to recover with freezer trick (although it's not like I know) since if I turn it off for a period of time and turn it back on, the disk will be mounted again and recognized. However, I can't even use it for more than a few seconds...

Also, the drive I'm having is MyBook Essential Edition. It's the one with the circle button to push for turning off or on, and the button is circled with green light when the hard drive is turned on. I used the diagnosis tool on WD website as well. Under Quick Check, it failed.
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Old 2008-01-19, 21:13   Link #11
Sazelyt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiachopvutru View Post
Also, the drive I'm having is MyBook Essential Edition. It's the one with the circle button to push for turning off or on, and the button is circled with green light when the hard drive is turned on. I used the diagnosis tool on WD website as well. Under Quick Check, it failed.
I cannot talk in general, but, I had an experience with an external drive (that I built myself) for which the quick check failed. The problem was caused by the problematic external enclosure (I did try another drive within the same enclosure and I got the same error). But, it may also be caused by the drive itself.

My suggestion to you is to first contact the western digital support.

If the enclosure allows you to open it without breaking anything (meaning, if it can be opened with a screwdriver), then tell them that you have important data inside the drive, and right now you cannot backup the files because of not being able to use it successfully. You can then tell them that if the problem is caused by the enclosure itself, then if they give permission to you to open the enclosure, you can open the enclosure and try the drive on another system so that you can successfully move your files to another drive.
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Old 2008-01-19, 21:52   Link #12
Ledgem
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Putting the entire enclosure into the freezer is fine. The "science" behind freezing the HD is more or less that by cooling the components, they shrink a bit. A lot of things can go wrong when the HD is near death, but part of it is that it's unable to access properly when the materials aren't all aligned or put together in an exact manner. When the HD cools it returns to its more normal state, but when you're running it then it heats up and things expand. Freezing the HD gives you a bit of a greater time frame to work with the HD before it heats up too much, and it can also potentially get the components to be shrunk enough to work nicely.

So what really matters is that the drive itself gets cool - the enclosure doesn't make a big difference. If the freezing trick doesn't work very well, it's probably the enclosure. But still, before you remove the drive yourself, call Western Digital if you can and see what they say.

Also it probably goes without saying, but if the freezer trick works, immediately go for your most important files first and try to work quickly. If the drive really is failing, then the freezer trick gives you an unknown extra amount of time to recover data off, but it's not an infinite period of time. At some point, no matter how long the drive is in the freezer for it won't be usable.
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Old 2008-01-19, 22:04   Link #13
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I think your problem was watching anime from your external hard drive too frequently.

Should've just used it for storage and turn it off.

Or buy an internal one and stick it in.
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Old 2008-01-19, 22:14   Link #14
Ledgem
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I think your problem was watching anime from your external hard drive too frequently.
Aside from potentially causing the drive to overheat, why should that be a problem?
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Old 2008-01-19, 23:10   Link #15
teachopvutru
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Okay, although I put the External HDD into my fridge instead. My sis was being afraid that it would turn into ice if I put it into the freezer, so not knowing whether to choose freezer or fridge, I went with the latter. Any words on if it would be better to put it into the freezer instead? My freezer is set at -10 degree Fahrenheit while my fridge is set at 34 degree Fahrenheit (both having a whole bunch of stuffs inside )

I didn't put the External HDD into a zip bag either, since the only zip bags there are in my house aren't big enough to fit it in. Instead I put it inside a plastic shopping bag and made sure to close it as tightly as possible.
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Old 2008-01-19, 23:46   Link #16
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiachopvutru View Post
Okay, although I put the External HDD into my fridge instead. My sis was being afraid that it would turn into ice if I put it into the freezer, so not knowing whether to choose freezer or fridge, I went with the latter. Any words on if it would be better to put it into the freezer instead? My freezer is set at -10 degree Fahrenheit while my fridge is set at 34 degree Fahrenheit (both having a whole bunch of stuffs inside )
Freezer, although with a refrigerator set that low it may work as well - the colder you go, the more operating time you should have.. Generally, here's how you'll do it. First, let the HD cool down to room temperature. Then put it in a bag - if you don't have a zip-lock bag, try to seal the bag as best you can. Part of the reason for this may be to ensure that there's no frost/condensation that occurs to the drive. Ideally, any frosting or condensation would occur to the bag (the bag should also help make sure that no frost from items in the freezer rub off on the drive - though since you have an enclosure, that aspect is mitigated).

The recommendation is to leave it in for at least one hour, but you can leave it as long as you like. If you want to leave it for days at a time you'll probably want a zip-lock or fully sealed bag. After you're done cooling the drive, take it out and as quickly as you can, get the data off of it.
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Old 2008-01-20, 03:28   Link #17
teachopvutru
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Hehe, you are right. Just took the drive out and ran it, and the fridge trick does indeed give it some magical life span (although I kinda hope that it didn't so I could decide that it was enclosure problem =/)

Anyway, regarding what Myname say, watching anime that resides in external hard drive is not recommended? (I play music from there, and burn stuffs from there too so...) As said, I abuse my drive too much...

PS: Awww seems like my disk has just died again...

EDIT:
On another note, my disk fails rather quickly... I have only gotten it for several months. Don't other people usually be able to preserve theirs for a few years? I know I abuse it too much. (to add to the list above, I never turn my disk off unless my computer is turned off, which it barely does...)
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Last edited by teachopvutru; 2008-01-20 at 03:39.
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Old 2008-01-20, 12:17   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiachopvutru View Post
Anyway, regarding what Myname say, watching anime that resides in external hard drive is not recommended? (I play music from there, and burn stuffs from there too so...) As said, I abuse my drive too much...
They can only cause a problem if the drive runs too hot inside the enclosure, just like an internal drive. And, just like an internal drive, even if you do not abuse the drive, it may just fail, because of the drive or the enclosure itself not being durable enough.

Next time, try to check your drive regularly. And, if you feel something is wrong with it, do an early backup. Even if it may have just been random anime files, downloading back 500gb may be a big hassle, just like trying to retrieve back the data through other means (like time consuming freezer trick).
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Old 2008-01-20, 12:49   Link #19
teachopvutru
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I'm more worrying that my future external hdd will fail in such a small amount of time than anything else... Also, I'm still needing to recover some more data. So I tried the fridge trick again; this time it doesn't work ... So it only works one time?
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Old 2008-01-20, 13:27   Link #20
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I've found that larger hard drives are more prone to failures. I've had one 250 external for near 3 years, and it's used almost 24/7 as an anime dump/store that i watch from. It also houses over 80gb of osts and stuff that if im not watching anime, is blasting.

However in the same time frame i've had 3 500gb externals. According to the tech guy i talked to it depends on the type, but usually 500+ externals are more fragile and prone to wearing out, over 250 and less. Also IDE will last longer than SATA.
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