Introduction: after my 6-month old WD Elements 1TB HDD died for no apparent reason, I decided to try a different approach, using an USB 3.0 enclosure. But this setup has it's own problems, apparently.
The setup (the relevant stuff):
Lenovo ThinkPad T420 (Lenovo 4180AG8 motherboard, Intel Core i5 2520M CPU, 8 GB RAM, 180 GB Intel 520 series SSD) with Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
Sharkoon QuickStore Portable Pro USB 3.0 external storage enclosure with Western Digital Scorpio Blue 2.5 1TB (SATA II, 5400 RPM, 8MB Buffer memory)
The drives works normally when the laptop is turned on - the performance is good, no problems so far. But when putting the laptop to sleep (stand-by / suspend), the drive shuts down, makes a single click sound, then spins up again, and repeats this process continuously.
I have to unplug the drive from the USB port to avoid this, but sometimes I'm in a hurry and forget. I'm afraid that this problem might shorten the life of the drive and/or damage the HDD R/W head assembly.
What I suspect:
My suspicion is that the USB 3.0 port is powered during standby. When the system goes into sleep mode, it sends a certain signal to the peripherals to notify the new state, so the the HDD spins down. The enclosure detects that it's powered, and spins-up the HDD again, and so on.
How can I prevent this from happening? Is there a solution to fix this in Windows or BIOS, or do I need to buy a different enclosure?
I left the office in a hurry last night, forgetting to unplug the external USB enclosure after putting the laptop in standby, and when I returned today morning and switched back on, it didn't detect the HDD.
It tries to spin up 5 times, then nothing. Not detected in partition management, not even as RAW.
I tried plugging the HDD in a different enclosure using eSATA (should see it as local HDD), and the same sequence occurs - 5 attempts to spin & seek, abort.
If no one could answer my first question, at least regard this as a warning to change the enclosure if HDD keeps restarting when in standby. Otherwise you risk burning your drive, just like I did.
My suspicion lies on badly-written firmware for the enclosure.
HDD Model: Western Digital WD10JPVT-00A1YTO (1TB, SATA II, 5400 RPM, 8MB Buffer)
Enclosure Model: Sharkoon QuickStore Portable USB3.0 BLACK