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1/2 year old external hard drive suddenly stopped working

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September 21, 2013 10:20:13 AM

Hi,

Before I describe my problem, I want to mention that I did try to run a search around the internet regarding this problem but somehow could not get the right keyword to accurately describe it.

I have a 1.5 TB WD Elements which is around half year old. I normally use this drive to store videos and animations (sizes range from 200MB to 20GB). Allocation unit size was set to 64KB. The drive is not frequently re-written as the files usually stay where they are. However until recently, I used it to transfer files between my laptop and desktop. I had maybe rewritten 200GB of space around 4,5 times. The most recent activity on this drive (few hours before this post) is a transfer of 30GB worth of videos (2 to 3GB per file) from my netbook. The problem surfaced when I tried to copy/access the files from the drive. When I try to copy a particular file, it runs on a typical usb 3.0 speed for a couple of seconds then the transfer bar suddenly turned to red colour and the transfer speed froze at hundreds of KB/s. I cancelled the operation and it took forever to abort. From my understanding this is due to unreadable sector/ bad heads on the drive. I deleted the file (took a while) and tried to access other files. To my horror, it took a few minutes just to jump from one folder to another. Furthermore, info on the file (bottom part of the folder windows) would only appear after a while and the thumbnails would not generate at all. Playing/reading the file was out of question. I ejected the drive and plugged it in again but it took longer than usual to recognize the device. I tried HDtune but could not retrieve any s.m.a.r.t data. I also ran an error check and HDtune told me 100% of the blocks are damaged. (it only took like 10 seconds to scan). Basically, the drive is recognized but I could not perform any operation (read/write). Ok, copying other files from the drive is possible, but at few hundreds KB/s. Just before this happened, the drive was working perfectly..or maybe not. For a couple of days, there had been some hiccups (5 seconds) when I tried to read the folders but read/write was normal. I have also tried the drive on my laptop and also used a different usb cable, so I am pretty sure it is not cable or usb port problem. Please advise! Thanks a lot!

p/s : First time posting. I apologize if my English is bad. It is not my native language.
a c 159 G Storage
September 21, 2013 10:37:32 AM

First off, I recommend you try to run CrystalDiskInfo as it tends to read drive SMART starts even with a usb -> SATA bridge in the way.

http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html#CrystalDi...

With that see if your drive has relocation issues/bad sector.

How if this does not work. It may be worth trying the drive on a USB 2.0 cable as sometimes USB 3 can be a bit picky.

If all else fails and you have nothing to loose, opening the enclosure and installing the drive it self inside a computer to attempt recovery would be the last option aside of professional recovery services.

It is a shame, but hard drives to fail from time to time with little warning.
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September 21, 2013 11:11:28 AM

nukemaster said:
First off, I recommend you try to run CrystalDiskInfo as it tends to read drive SMART starts even with a usb -> SATA bridge in the way.

http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html#CrystalDi...

With that see if your drive has relocation issues/bad sector.

How if this does not work. It may be worth trying the drive on a USB 2.0 cable as sometimes USB 3 can be a bit picky.

If all else fails and you have nothing to loose, opening the enclosure and installing the drive it self inside a computer to attempt recovery would be the last option aside of professional recovery services.

It is a shame, but hard drives to fail from time to time with little warning.


Thanks for the reply. Here is what I get from crystaldiskinfo
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(4) WDC WD15NMVW-11W68S0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enclosure : WD Elements 1042 USB Device (V=1058, P=1042, sa2) - wd
Model : WDC WD15NMVW-11W68S0
Firmware : 01.01A01
Serial Number : WD-WX11A13T3020
Disk Size : 1500.3 GB (8.4/137.4/1500.3/1500.3)
Buffer Size : 8192 KB
Queue Depth : 32
# of Sectors : 2930277168
Rotation Rate : 5200 RPM
Interface : USB (Serial ATA)
Major Version : ATA8-ACS
Minor Version : ----
Transfer Mode : SATA/300
Power On Hours : 608 hours
Power On Count : 235 count
Temparature : 41 C (105 F)
Health Status : Caution
Features : S.M.A.R.T., APM, 48bit LBA, NCQ
APM Level : 0080h [ON]
AAM Level : ----

-- S.M.A.R.T. --------------------------------------------------------------
ID Cur Wor Thr RawValues(6) Attribute Name
01 182 182 _51 000000000823 Read Error Rate
03 216 209 _21 00000000104F Spin-Up Time
04 100 100 __0 0000000001B6 Start/Stop Count
05 200 200 140 000000000000 Reallocated Sectors Count
07 200 200 __0 000000000000 Seek Error Rate
09 100 100 __0 000000000260 Power-On Hours
0A 100 100 __0 000000000000 Spin Retry Count
0B 100 100 __0 000000000000 Recalibration Retries
0C 100 100 __0 0000000000EB Power Cycle Count
C0 200 200 __0 000000000028 Power-off Retract Count
C1 200 200 __0 00000000078C Load/Unload Cycle Count
C2 111 107 __0 000000000029 Temperature
C4 200 200 __0 000000000000 Reallocation Event Count
C5 195 195 __0 00000000050C Current Pending Sector Count
C6 100 253 __0 000000000000 Uncorrectable Sector Count
C7 200 200 __0 000000000000 UltraDMA CRC Error Count
C8 100 253 __0 000000000000 Write Error Rate

current pending sector count is under warning. I previously had a relatively new 1.5TB seagate goflex which had the same issue (pending for RMA). Sigh, I have totally lost faith in external hard drives. This will be the last one. 3.5" ftw.

I dont think I can get any usb 2.0 cable for this drive. It comes with a standard usb 3.0 cable and it looks like a normal usb 2.0 cable wont fit on it. Unless you are talking about some kind of adapters which I am not aware of. Either way, I wont be able to get it as my place is quite remote.

i did consider opening the enclosure but it would definitely void the warranty.

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a c 159 G Storage
September 21, 2013 11:32:31 AM

If i see that right you have 1292 sectors waiting for a re-map. They will become reallocated if the drive ever gets to reallocating them.

I would say your drive is failing for sure. Removing it from the enclosure would not even help it much. The only advantage is that a motherboard controller tends to not drop drives as easy as a USB one.

If you go to Function -> Advanced Feature -> Raw Values -> 10[DEC] you should be able to confirm the number of pending sectors.

as for the usb 2.0 in a 3.0 slot, it should work. They made USB 3 with usb 2.0 backwards compatibility in mind. My external Bluray reader is on USB 2.0 because it is more than fast enough for playback.

Something like this. All my USB 3.0 devices have the larger ports(or for flash drives the normal usb port) / I know that the larger usb 3.0 ports will take a 2.0 plug for sure
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September 21, 2013 11:43:40 AM

nukemaster said:
If i see that right you have 1292 sectors waiting for a re-map. They will become reallocated if the drive ever gets to reallocating them.

I would say your drive is failing for sure. Removing it from the enclosure would not even help it much. The only advantage is that a motherboard controller tends to not drop drives as easy as a USB one.

If you go to Function -> Advanced Feature -> Raw Values -> 10[DEC] you should be able to confirm the number of pending sectors.


Does that mean that any effort to restore the data without professional help would be meaningless? And from the way it looks, is it safe to assume the drive won't be relocating those sectors? Is there any particular hardware that is causing this problem? Thanks

Edit : thanks for clarifying on the USB ports.
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September 21, 2013 11:44:06 AM

Freeze the drive for about an hour in a plastic bag and when you get it out get all of the data off the drive. If it stops working, freeze it again. Im sorry to say your drives a gonner.
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a c 159 G Storage
September 23, 2013 7:14:08 AM

I just want to be clear, last drive I had to recover files from would drop(no longer detect in the bios or even show in windows) out after a while but with many reboots, I was able to get almost all the files back. By the same right, I have seen drives that just would not allow data recovery.

You can try the freeze idea(the plastic bag is to reduce the chances of condensation.), but most times that is for drives that will not even spin up or detect.
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