I have a 500gb external USB drive. I've had it for about 1 year. I use it mainly to backup client information, music and videos.
In the past week I have been getting the Windows is unable to save the F:\$MfT file and all data loss file errors.
The only thing that has changed is that I have kept the drive connected non-stop for the last month or so, whereas before I connected it when I needed something and as soon as I had what I needed I would disconnect it.
Are these USB external drives not meant for such prolonged periods of connection. Does anyone have any insight on this? I have contacted the manufacturer, but I've yet to receive a response.
The drives inside those things are the same drives that go into laptops and desktops - there's no particular reason why prolonged use would be any worse for it than for any other disk drive.
I would double-check the cable connections - for example a USB connection is designed for easy insertion and removal, but it's never seemed as solid to me as something like a IDE or a SATA connection. It may just be that it got wiggled or a bit oxidized.
I'd run disk utilities on that drive, as well as put a 2nd backup somewhere else. Anytime you start talking errors on a HD, it makes me nervous - could be nothing, could be a warning of impending doom.