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Western Digital 36gb Raptor - "Drive Not Ready" Error

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August 1, 2007 2:12:09 PM

I have a RAID 0 setup with two 36gb SATA WD Raptors. It worked quite
well for 2.5 years until the inevitibale happened a few nights ago after rebooting, I got a SMART error on one of the drives telling me to backup and replace it. I ran the diagnostic tool provided by Western Digital and it gave me a "drive not ready" error. Below is the full description of the error from WD.

"The drive did not properly respond to test commands. This may be due to a defect with the drive or the drive may not have responded properly due to a bad connection. Check cabling and retest. Replace the drive if the error repeats."

I have no idea what triggered this failure, my connections are solid and the other drive in my RAID is working error free. I have most of my important things already backed up but I wanted to know if someone has an idea of how to get the drive to work for a few minutes so I can retrieve a few more critical files before I send the drive in for a replacement.

Also if anyone has a suggestion on some more diagnostic software to try out, it would be much appreciated.
August 1, 2007 6:05:48 PM

seagate also provides a few tools, and im sure a few other hdd companies do too, ibm, hitachi and samsung. beyond that though, theres not much reason to use raid 0 (tbh), unless you have specific tasks that can make much use of the higher STRs it provides (rebooting doesnt really count, even though it does benefit from it). (dealing with media editing and such is close to all that really benefits from it, for regular desktop use, as the files are often large enough to see the increased benefit). in fact, current 'high performance' desktop consumer hdds nowadays are literally in excess of whats useful for the typical desktop even, when it comes to STRs, as the majority of files that youll encounter between the OS and applications arent but a few KB in size, gaming included too usually, depending also on the design of the game (which explains the typical lack of much practical improvement as a result of the increased STRs). and is also why faster seek times do provide the most practical improvement in most situations, OS and applications alike, moreso than STRs do usually (that raptors, scsis, and ssds offer for example), and is why even the oldest raptors can still keep up quite easily for most things, even when not in raid 0.

also, it should still be under the 5 year warranty (if it was purchased at a supported distributor), so you should just be able to rma it then, and either simply get a replacement, or even an upgraded replacement then... im not positive if they actually require you to ship your hdd to them or not. if i remember correctly, all you might need to do is file for an rma while still under warranty, and youll receive a new one, thus voiding your warranty, you might want to double check on that though

as far as retrieval of data, try using an ubuntu live cd which you can download/order for free, which allows you to run your system from just the cd, no installing necessary (it runs everything in your systems ram). ubuntu might contain the necessary drivers and software by default to access the raid array, and if it doesnt, im sure theyre only a quick download away.

as far as failure of drives, it happens, even to raptors. (though less often). some triggers of drive failures are excessive vibrations, and prolonged heat exposure/lack of sufficient cooling, though im not sure that was the case with either of yours.
August 2, 2007 1:16:51 PM

Thanks for the comments. My drive is indeed still under warranty but I want to spend a little bit of time trying to recover a couple of files before sending it in.

I haven't had time to try all of the suggestions yet but it looks like a power issue having to do with the circuit board or other connection on the drive. I don’t think there is any physical damage on the inside of the drive because I don’t hear any of the usual clicks and clunks. When the drive is plugged in, I can hear the platters spinning, but it sounds like they are spinning slower than they should be. I wanted to know how feasible it would be to try and swap circuit boards with another drive. If this task is fairly simple and doesn’t display signs of tamper, I want to submit the RMA form, get the new drive, swap the board and see what happens.
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August 2, 2007 2:04:30 PM

It is highly unlikely you will be able to get a new drive with the same pc board as your old one. They make revisions to them all the time. Chances are it wont be compatible. You could get lucky though! The good news is that you usually do not need to void the warranty to see whether the boards are compatible. Just make sure you can return it for a refund.
August 6, 2007 7:29:07 PM

shadowmaster625 said:
It is highly unlikely you will be able to get a new drive with the same pc board as your old one. They make revisions to them all the time. Chances are it wont be compatible. You could get lucky though! The good news is that you usually do not need to void the warranty to see whether the boards are compatible. Just make sure you can return it for a refund.


OK, after searching around and reading a few success stories, swapping the circuit board is what I am going to try. Regarding the need for the exact same HDD with the same circuit board and same revision, what numbers on the drive do I look for that could tell this? Would it be like a manufactring dates or would it be something like a character in the serial numbers?
!