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Hard Drive Intermittently not Booting from External Enclosure

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  • Western Digital
  • Enclosure
  • Components
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March 2, 2009 4:20:34 PM

Hi,

I've got a Western Digital 500GB RE3 enterprise drive hooked up to a Vantec Nexstar 3 external drive enclosure. For the first month it was working flawlessly, but now the drive seems to be having problems booting up correctly and getting recognized by windows. When I turn the power on on the enclosure, the drive sounds like it is spinning up, but the blue led on the enclosure won't turn on, and when connected via usb to my desktop, windows won't recognize it. HOWEVER, this problem is intermittent. Once every 10 times or so I turn it off and on (and especially after I take it out of the case and put it back in), it will boot up and recognize fine.

So I tried my best to isolate the problem. I shoved the drive into my desktop connected to the MB and powered it through my power supply. It boots up every time. So i'm thinking enclosure problem right? Wrong. I then took my Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB HD from my desktop, shoved it in the enclosure, and it booted up and recognized every time. Now i'm really stuck. . .I've run the WD diagnostics utility on an extended test and it didn't find any errors but I think that only tests for bad sectors?

Any thoughts guys? Could it be some sort of inconsistent power issue? Or maybe the enclosure is not feeding the drive enough power? Do you think WD will advance RMA the drive if I tell them the problem and that it did pass the diagnostics?

More about : hard drive intermittently booting external enclosure

March 3, 2009 10:37:25 PM

Does your mobo have a boot delay? Or try disabling the quick boot option also, just for testing.
March 3, 2009 10:59:35 PM

Hi, i'm not really sure what you mean. If i've got the drive in the enclosure and i turn it on, it should boot up and get recognized on my desktop shouldn't it? Cuz my desktop would be already booted into windows. Not really sure what your getting at with the boot delay or quick boot.
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March 4, 2009 5:48:20 PM

Oh, I thought you were booting windows from the external drive.

Coincidentally, I have the same problem with one of my USB drives. It frequently does not get recognized until I power cycle it a time or two. Very annoying. And yes, just like you, all diagnostics work fine. My enclosure is a two-bay deal, and I have tried three different drives in it. I originally had two drives, and everything worked well. Then I got the terabyte drive, and started to get the problem you've described. Both the other drives were 300 gigs or smaller, wonder if it makes a difference with the size...

I am scared to try it as an internal drive, because mine is a 1TB Seagate with a known firmware problem (it will die, and I will lose everything on it). I'm hoping the fact that it is in a USB enclosure is keeping it safe from failure, like many others had.
April 26, 2009 2:01:21 PM

Hey Guys,

You are not alone in the world of Enclosure issues. I purchased a Vantec Nexstar 3 USB e-SATA 3.5" Enclosure and like you, it worked perfect for a while. Then all of a sudden the Drive stopped showing up in Vista and stopped powering up. I thought at first, great the HD is toast. I took it out of the enclosure and put it in my Desktop and it worked flawlessly. I ran the WD diagnostic tests (quick and Extensive) and it passed with flying colors. I even gave it to a friend and had him do the same thing. All tests in the Desktop passed on his desktop too. My friend tested the Enclosure and found the same issues. The Enclosure worked great a first and then after re-boot, the same issues I was experienced happened... no power and not recognized. So I took it back to the store where I purchased it, and after a long deliberation they agreed to give me a new Enclosure. Took it home and put it all together and again worked like a champ, I re-booted, powered down, put my media pc in standby and everytime the Drive powered back up fine and Windows recognized it perfectly.... This continued for about 3 days, then all of sudden! The same issues have popped up! http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/message/ico...

I'm using a 500GB WD Caviar drive.

Not sure what to do next...
April 26, 2009 3:41:51 PM

Captn22 said:
Hey Guys,

You are not alone in the world of Enclosure issues. I purchased a Vantec Nexstar 3 USB e-SATA 3.5" Enclosure and like you, it worked perfect for a while. Then all of a sudden the Drive stopped showing up in Vista and stopped powering up. I thought at first, great the HD is toast. I took it out of the enclosure and put it in my Desktop and it worked flawlessly. I ran the WD diagnostic tests (quick and Extensive) and it passed with flying colors. I even gave it to a friend and had him do the same thing. All tests in the Desktop passed on his desktop too. My friend tested the Enclosure and found the same issues. The Enclosure worked great a first and then after re-boot, the same issues I was experienced happened... no power and not recognized. So I took it back to the store where I purchased it, and after a long deliberation they agreed to give me a new Enclosure. Took it home and put it all together and again worked like a champ, I re-booted, powered down, put my media pc in standby and everytime the Drive powered back up fine and Windows recognized it perfectly.... This continued for about 3 days, then all of sudden! The same issues have popped up! http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/message/ico...

I'm using a 500GB WD Caviar drive.

Not sure what to do next...



Ya, it's definately not the hard drive. It's the enclosure. One reviewer on newegg complained about the same problem. I couldn't return my to where I bought it as I don't use it often and it had been 3 months before it died. So I ended up rma'ing it. Cost me $17 to ship it to them and it's almost a month now and still waiting for the replacement unit. Funny though that more people aren't complaining of this problem considering the number of people that have WD hard drives. Which hard drive do you have? When I called Vantec they said that they didn't design the enclosure to expect people would put an enterprise level drive like mine in, but nonetheless they said it should work. They thought it was some sort of power instability issue, they weren't sure. Friendly enough though and I had no problems with them RMAing it. just wished they paid for shipping. We'll see how the next one goes....
April 27, 2009 11:11:21 PM

victor_vvv said:
Ya, it's definately not the hard drive. It's the enclosure. One reviewer on newegg complained about the same problem. I couldn't return my to where I bought it as I don't use it often and it had been 3 months before it died. So I ended up rma'ing it. Cost me $17 to ship it to them and it's almost a month now and still waiting for the replacement unit. Funny though that more people aren't complaining of this problem considering the number of people that have WD hard drives. Which hard drive do you have? When I called Vantec they said that they didn't design the enclosure to expect people would put an enterprise level drive like mine in, but nonetheless they said it should work. They thought it was some sort of power instability issue, they weren't sure. Friendly enough though and I had no problems with them RMAing it. just wished they paid for shipping. We'll see how the next one goes....


Hey Victor_vvv I'm using the WD5000AAKS Caviar SE16. It's a 500GB SATA II drive. 7200 RPM Drive... pretty standard my friend.
May 19, 2009 8:49:09 AM

This, from Vantec's web site (http://www.vantecusa.com/front/faq/index) may be of interest:

"Q. My computer sometimes recognizes the NexStar, but sometimes gives me errors.
A. If your computer is giving you problems with the NexStar, be sure to connect the USB cable to a rear port, directly off the motherboard or USB PCI card. The cables connecting front USB ports are not always properly shielded and cannot properly handle USB 2.0 speeds, thereby corrupting the signal between the NexStar and the computer. "

Interestingly, I use a Dell Optiplex at work and there is no doubt that the rear (motherboard integral) USB ports perform much better than the front ones. As an example, the OS sees the front ports as USB 1.1 but the rear ports as 2.0 and data transfer speeds reflect this difference...
July 20, 2010 11:54:36 AM

The issue is not with the enclosure or the hard drive, its the power supply, i changed the power supply to a 3 pin earthed unit and it works everytime, just to make sure i removed the power supply without moving the enclosure and replaced it with the original and it failed every time i turned it on.

in short i think the unit needs to be earthed or just buy an earthed power supply.

hope this helps if someone is searching for a solution
!