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Extending the life of a failing WD 2.0TB SATA disk

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April 19, 2014 11:09:25 PM

Suddenly this 2TB disk drive is starting to have problems. While copying a bunch of large files to it, it hangs for a minute or so every once in a while, then a beep is emitted from the drive before the copy continues.

Smartctl shows errors for various sector counts as shown below.

I already ran the WD diag tool extended test, but after chugging along for 24 hours it came up blank, saying there were no problems.

The drive is just past the warranty (as seems to always be the case with failing disk drives these days) so no option to RMA the drive. The question is, can I extend the life of the drive in any significant way, say a year or so, by a low level format?

I know I could just go ahead and do it, but frankly the drive kinda works at this time, except for the very slow writes, so I don't want to waste another 24 hours running a LLF if it just comes up blank again like the extended test.

Quote:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) WDC WD20EARS-00MVWB0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Model : WDC WD20EARS-00MVWB0
Firmware : 51.0AB51
Disk Size : 2000.3 GB (8.4/137.4/2000.3/2000.3)
Buffer Size : Unknown
Queue Depth : 32
# of Sectors : 3907029168
Rotation Rate : Unknown
Interface : Serial ATA
Major Version : ATA8-ACS
Minor Version : ----
Transfer Mode : ---- | SATA/300
Power On Hours : 23130 hours
Power On Count : 10252 count
Temperature : 35 C (95 F)
Health Status : Caution
Features : S.M.A.R.T., AAM, 48bit LBA, NCQ
APM Level : ----
AAM Level : 80FEh [OFF]

-- S.M.A.R.T. --------------------------------------------------------------
ID Cur Wor Thr RawValues(6) Attribute Name
01 105 103 _51 00000001A08F Read Error Rate
03 253 159 _21 000000000823 Spin-Up Time
04 _89 _89 __0 000000002C90 Start/Stop Count
05 142 142 140 000000000459 Reallocated Sectors Count
07 200 200 __0 000000000000 Seek Error Rate
09 _69 _69 __0 000000005A5A Power-On Hours
0A 100 100 __0 000000000000 Spin Retry Count
0B 100 100 __0 000000000000 Recalibration Retries
0C _90 _90 __0 00000000280C Power Cycle Count
C0 187 187 __0 000000002714 Power-off Retract Count
C1 114 114 __0 00000003F127 Load/Unload Cycle Count
C2 115 _96 __0 000000000023 Temperature
C4 __1 __1 __0 000000000239 Reallocation Event Count
C5 __1 __1 __0 00000000FFF3 Current Pending Sector Count
C6 200 198 __0 000000000001 Uncorrectable Sector Count

C7 200 200 __0 000000000001 UltraDMA CRC Error Count
C8 _79 __1 __0 000000007E23 Write Error Rate



More about : extending life failing 0tb sata disk

a b G Storage
April 19, 2014 11:16:40 PM

well, monitor the # of reallocated sectors, and as it goes up start backing up files. the best way to make it last is to keep in cool and dont strain it.
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a b G Storage
April 20, 2014 12:13:22 AM

Hard Disk Sentinel can give you an idea of the HD's general health, and an estimated remaining lifetime.
http://www.hdsentinel.com/
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April 20, 2014 1:24:04 AM

Thanks but that was not really the question. It's used as a kind of cache, data loss is not the problem, and I know it's in a poor state and will eventually break.

I was hoping it was possible to run a low-level format that would mark all the bad sectors on the disk so it doesn't have to stop all the time, when it finds out they are bad. Even if it marks half of the disks sectors as bad it'd still have a cool TB usable space.
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April 20, 2014 1:53:29 AM

as the old school rule, the best way to make it last is to keep in cool and don't let it strain. always work with me.
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a b G Storage
April 20, 2014 1:28:17 PM

You have already run a Low Format Tool that found nothing wrong? And you are sure the problem is he HD itself?... the type of performance issues you describe can be caused by different factors. Have you ran a disk check? try "CHKDSK X: /R" if bad sectors are an issue the number should be reported by CHKDSK. If no considerable amount of bad sectors are detected, consider other factors as cause of the symptoms. Causes like: bad PSU, bad motherboard, bad RAM, bad connections, data cables, OS infection or bad video settings.

Other cause for no problems being detected by the previous LLF, may be the tool, afaik you need a tool designed for the HD (make)... some may be good enough for all makes and some may even repair bad logical sectors, not physical sectors.

If chkdsk finds a good amount of bad sectors, check other factors such as: Bad PSU, bad motherboard... and other issues such as heat, vibration, vertical position.

If you need to do another LLF you'll probably need a tool that's written specifically for your hard drive, or at least a better one.

Check a few tools by HD manufacturer that might do the job.
How to Fix "HDD Bad Sector / Hardisk Bad Sector"
http://netterkingdom.blogspot.fr/2011/06/how-to-fix-hdd...

More LLF tool links here:
http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/lowlevel-formatting-fi...
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April 20, 2014 8:06:26 PM

No, as I wrote in my OP, I downloaded Western Digital's own diagnostics tool and ran the extended test which didn't show any problem. My question was if the LLF of this tool would make any difference, or just run for another 24 hours for nothing.

It's definitely the disk, other disks in the same PC has no such problem, and the disk displayed same problem in other PC's.
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a b G Storage
April 20, 2014 11:22:30 PM

In that case it's probably WD's Diagnostic Tool that's not good enough to detect the obvious HD issues, so the LLF tool may not make a difference... You probably need a better LLF program. I googled for best/top 5 low level format tools and one "HDD Low Level Format Tool 4.40" pops up everywhere, so it must be that popular. The description says the free version can format 2TB in 12 hours, and from HDDGURU for $3.30 the speed limit is removed.

http://hddguru.com/software/HDD-LLF-Low-Level-Format-To...

http://bit.do/top-5-low-level-format-tools
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April 21, 2014 9:53:07 PM

(edit 1) I though the problem was related to a defunct USB port, but after a while the errors came back.

(edit 2) It copies for a while, then the disk gives a little beep and the copying stop for about a minute or two, then it continues again.

The PC is a few years old, AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+, 4G DDR2 and matching MB, none of all this showing any other problems.

ChrystalDiskInfo says the transfer mode is SATA/300. Could it be that is too fast for the disk/cpu/mb combo? Could I force it slower, say SATA/150?

(edit 3) I just saw at http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1462212 "- These drives sometimes "freeze" up randomly depending on your sata chipset/raid card or port multiplier/sas expander cards. Most cases this can be "solved" by setting jumpers 5-6 to force the drives to SATA 1.5gb/s. If you need to buy jumpers (since the drives don't ship with them). You can get them from jaycar – search for "jumper shunts" $1.85 for a 10 pack."

Sounds exactly like my problem, going to test that. Will report back.

(edit 4) No, that just made the problem even worse, freeze more often and for longer periods + the copy runs noticably slower.

Back to the think tank.
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Best solution

a b G Storage
April 22, 2014 5:25:00 PM

I looked up the beep during Windows sessions and; HD beeps are not actual beeps but internal HD noises, probably from internal friction that sounds similar to beeping... YT Videos on the kind of HD sounds may help clear up any doubts.

Motherboard beeps during Windows sessions are said to be caused by Hardware issues, mainly by overheating CPU. That's easy to check if you think it's the mobo beeper. And if you have no doubts it's the HD making the sound, then it's HD internal damage and there is no solution. Your ChrystalDiskInfo log seems to indicate a Rotation Rate is not avilable and that may be due to low speed rotation probably caused by internal friction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH47yzvi7dQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-06b0Uxcj2Q
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April 22, 2014 9:43:02 PM

You know what, I think you nailed it. The sound on the first of the YT videos is exactly the same as my disk, mine is just only once in a while. At a certain point there were only a minute between but now it runs sometimes for hours before it "beeps". I've had plenty of disks die on me, but usually they just "click" if anything, never heard the "beep" before. Now I know. Thanks!

Sorry I jumped the gun earlier and marked the wrong answer best solution, obviously this one is, but I can't seem to change it now.
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a b G Storage
April 22, 2014 10:29:24 PM

Doesn't matter which answer your marked as best (it gives me credit anyway)... but I'll see if I can unselect it so you can pick the right one.

About the HD noise, I had one HD that started making a barely audible, high pitched sort of moan.. At first it was frequent, later once in a while, and later stopped making it... so, I though the issue was gone, but suddenly one day it went completely dead... so, don't be caught off guard and backup your data frequently.
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April 23, 2014 1:49:57 AM

Yep that worked. Avoids confusion if someone else in the future migh reuse the answer. Yes I know it may fail anytime (as any disk drive actually) but like I wrote earlier it's just used as a sort of cache. Thanks again!
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