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External hard disk problem

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February 9, 2010 10:33:50 PM

Hello, I recently bought a 2TB USB Western Digital My Book Essential hard disk.

I´m using Windows XP Proffessional SP3. My PC is a Core 2 duo, MSI mother board, 2G RAM, a SATA2 320G HD (system disk, partitioned in 1-Windows(primary), 2-Ubuntu(primary), 3-Ubuntu home(logical), 4-Ubuntu swap(logical), 5-My documents(logical)) and a SATA3 500G hard disk.

I started copying all my files to it´s root, and when I was at about 3000 folders and 1000 non-folder files copied, the file explorer started displaying the content weirdly. It started mixing the folders and the files, consequently some files appeared before some folders in the display, and even more, when I rearranged the display clicking on the "Name" tab, this (dis)order changed and some folders appeared in a position higher than before rearranging. Is my HD faulty?

I´m planning to take it to the store where I bought it, but maybe an answer here might save me the trip. Thanks.
a c 357 G Storage
February 10, 2010 2:24:05 PM

You appear confused by the My Computer display. First of all, recognize that as you copy a LARGE number of files and folders, the display will be updated slowly and not make complete sense all the time. That is simply because the system spends almost all of its time doing the copying, and less time re-arranging the display for you.

Within My Computer there are headings over each column, like the "Name" column. Beside each is a little arrow head. If the arrow head is pointing UP, what it means is: "Click on this heading and I will re-sort all the listings according to the column heading (in this case, the Name of the files), sorting so it is alphabetically organized with the "A's" at the BOTTOM of the list, and so on - in other words, sort from bottom to top." If the arrowhead is pointing DOWN, clicking on the header will re-sort top to bottom. In doing this, normally it will place the FOLDERS at the beginning of the list, then all the individual files under them (in a top-to-bottom sort). What you observed was simply that action. You clicked on the header and it re-sorted the files as you asked, and also CHANGED the sort order arrowhead. So when you clicked again, it re-sorted the other way!

Using this feature you also can sort files (up or down) according to their size, or their Folder location, or their Date, etc.

Now that your copy operation is finished, use the Sort feature to arrange your display (say, for example, sort by Name top to bottom). Then check. You should see all the Folder first alphabetically, followed by any files in this folder, also alphabetically. Of course you will not see in this display all the files inside the Folders - you have to go to a Folder to see its contents. But in doing this you can check whether all the stuff you were trying to copy did get there.
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February 10, 2010 3:06:47 PM

That´s not the case.
I know how to sort the files. Maybe my english is bad...

I sort the files, but normally, all the folders appear first and the files at the bottom. The anomaly is that some files appear before some folders. Example 5 files and 5 folders: the first folders should appear first and the files after, but supose that 3 folders appear first, then 2 files then 2 folders and then 3 files. That´s what happens to my drive. There´s no problem reading or moving the files, but they don´t sort properly, so I suspect maybe there´s some problem with my drive.
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a c 357 G Storage
February 10, 2010 8:05:45 PM

Intriguing. So, does the display use the classic Folder icon for the actual folders, and other icons for files? I'm wondering if it actually recognizes the Folders as such. Is the list sorted strictly according to names, with Folders and Files mixed but in alphabetic order?
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February 10, 2010 8:18:23 PM

The window uses the default icons for folders and files, and the list is sorted according to names, with Folders and Files mixed but in alphabetic order, but I think I saw some folders out of alphabetic order, actually I was moving the folders to A, B, C, etc. folders, and I moved the folders starting with A to the A folder and afterwards, after re-sorting the files, some folders starting with A showed up, I guess they were at the bottom, but the sorting is "alphabetic with anomalies" so to speak.
When I got only folders in the root they were sorted alphabetically as usual.
After moving my files from this HD to another one in my PC, so I could wipe the external HD for taking it to the store, I made a test creating random folders and files with a software for this task and with 4000 folders and 3000 files the sorting worked ok.
Maybe there was/is a problem with the TOC of my external disk? 'Cause I copied a lot of files from CDs, maybe the TOC went insane or something.
I want to make 100% sure that the disk is ok, for I want to copy a lot of stuff to it and it would be a real bummer to eventually loose all this data.
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a c 357 G Storage
February 11, 2010 2:31:50 PM

I don't have any explanation, but some ideas. Maybe the file names included both capitalized and lower-case letters, and those can cause sorting problems. Also, the way a Folder normally is recognized in the old 8.3 file naming system (that is still in the background of long-name systems) is that a FOLDER (subdirectory) name has NO characters after the "." So, the real name for a Folder named "FolderA" is "FolderA." Anything inserted after the "." (for example, "FolderA._") would make it a NON-subdirectory to be treated like any other file, no matter what icon is associated with that Folder. I was trying to thinnk of a good way to check for the exact name of every file, and the best I could come up with was to use a DOS window and the "Dir" command.
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February 11, 2010 7:21:49 PM

Thanks for the reply.
That´s not the case, either, since the sorting worked ok until a certain point when it started to mess the files order.
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!