External drive problem

I have a Toshiba MK2365GSX external drive. Every now and then it acts up and can't be detected for some reason; my PC still registers that there's a drive hooked up but I can't actually access its contents. In the past I usually am forced to just reformat the drive and start all over, but recently I accidentally stumbled upon a fix. While using Fat32Formatter to format my drive it failed to actually do so and instead a bunch of messages start showing up:

The parameter is incorrect.
Fat32WriteBootSector#WriteFile1 Failed
Fat32WriteBootSector() failed!
Error in StartFormat
Failed to format partition!

However, my drive is suddenly "activated" again and now I can see my files. I've been able to recreate the same fix several times after that but recently I have failed the last couple of times and the program reformatted my drive instead of failing and then reactivating my drive.

What i want to know is what is the actual problem of my drive in the scenario where it becomes inaccessible, as well as the science (?) behind the accidental fix so that I can recreate it without having to resort to something as risky as a botched formatting which could unintentionally become successful.
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More about external drive problem
  1. I have an Hitachi ext drive which goes into sleep mode after 5 mins non-use and I often have to wait up to minute before reading or writing to it commences (system waiting for it to wake up). Sometimes I have to unplug/reconnect it's USB cable to wake it up.

    It's a well documented annoyance with Hitachi ext. drives and Hitachi have no utility available to disable sleep timer. Nothing wrong with drive, just an annoying feature. My 3 WD ext. drives are thankfully not afflicted with this annoyance.

    Same problem may apply to your Toshiba drive. Check their website to see if they have any software for disabling the sleep timer.
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