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Seagate 3tb External randomly dropping USB connection

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  • USB
  • Seagate
Last response: in Storage
July 11, 2013 3:20:16 PM

Hey guys, first time poster here. I couldn't find a question similar to mine when searching, so here we go. Apologies if this has been asked before.

I've been having issues with a Seagate 3tb External (model 9SEAN3-500) randomly disconnecting from it's USB port for a few weeks now. It seems to happen when the disc is in the middle of a read or write cycle. I've run all the tests on Seatools: Long and short generic, plus the short drive self test. It passed the generic ones just fine, but failed the short DST with an error code of A499D5EC. I was told by a seagate tech that the short DST tests for r/w cycles while the other two do not.

Also, when it does disconnect randomly, my explorer window and any app that was reading/writing to the drive hangs, and I have to power cycle my computer to restart it. I've had this same result on both my desktop (Win7 ult, i5-3570k, 8gb ram. Assembled it with one of the fantastic guides here btw, thanks! :) ) and my laptop (Asus x83vm), so I'm assuming it's the HDD itself.

This all leads me to believe that the enclosure is most likely faulty, correct? I would have no problem disassembling it and just putting it in my tower as a SATA HDD, but since it is still under warranty, I figured I'd ask you guys first. I do have a lot of data on there that I would rather not lose in an RMA though, and I do not have sufficient data space to back it up, unfortunately. Please let me know what you think. Sorry if I forgot anything, and thanks in advance.

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a b G Storage
July 11, 2013 4:49:17 PM

Uhm yeahhhh... your really in a rock and hardplace. To me it either the USB/Sata card in the enclosure is defective (maybe the buffers get overloaded with large r/w?) or the HDD itself is failing / defective (can happen).

So the normal course (still under warranty) would be to send it in for RMA. Wait the Data!!! Well you could buy another drive and try to transfer as much as you can recover off this bad unit, but realisitcially your saying this is the problem (you can't r/w data it fails). So maybe you can save a bit of the data, probably just accept your gonna lose TBs of stuff (always have 2 locations for critical data, your primary and your backup).

Yes disassembling it only to find the HDD is faulty would basically shoot yourself in the foot and lose the RMA probability, but if your data is that critical you may accept the loss of the 3TB then for the probability of the Data being accessible.

You have choices here, but each will be a cost no matter what you do at this point.
February 15, 2014 10:08:57 AM

I have a bit more information because I experienced exactly this with my Seagate 2TB GoFlex Desk and I just now ran into it again with my 3TB Backup Plus.

Before going for RMA, try this: install the Seagate drive manager utility and run it. It will show you any Seagate drives attached to your machine. Go to the one that's being problematic, check its properties, and turn off the power saving mode. It will write to the drive's firmware that it should not shut itself off to save power, and the drive will stop disconnecting. The downside to that is that the drive will always be spinning when it's plugged in, so if you want to preserve its lifespan don't keep it connected 24/7. I use mine for backups and put it away when not in use. With the 2TB, I even swapped out the base from a USB 2.0 to a USB 3.0 base and it preserved the "don't shut off" wherever it's writing to is independent of the base.

If you DO have to go the route of troubleshooting, Tom is right that you can contact Seagate, but in my case, while I was on the phone with them regarding another drive (I've had a lot of 'em over the years!), they gave me permission to try removing the drive and mounting it in a computer to see if that would work. I had a defective drive in that instance so I put it back in the enclosure, contacted them again, and set up an RMA.

If this ever happens to a drive you really need to get data from, and you can't find a way to recover it yourself, you *can* send the drive to a data recovery service, but be prepared to pay a lot of money for that. Depending on the circumstances we're talking hundreds of dollars or more.

Hope that helps.
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