Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

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Jorpho
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Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:07 am UTC

I have an external 1 TB Western Digital Elements Desktop hard drive (P/N WDBAAU0010HBK-01, to be precise), and it no longer seems to be working correctly. The problem is, there seem to be thousands of people out there with a similar problem, and if a solution exists, it's buried among thousands of threads discussing the outrageous prices charged by data recovery professionals. I'm really quite surprised Western Digital could get away with releasing such a shoddy product. I'm hoping someone here has had to deal with this before and can give me the straight dope.

The drive has never actually worked quite right; I decided it was just unusually picky about being powered on before the system or vice-versa and soldiered on. Unfortunately, I can't coax any life out of it anymore. When plugged in, it definitely spins up, but the LED just blinks continuously; Windows recognizes it as a USB drive, but can't find any partitions on it.

I decided to open up the casing, since it is just a SATA drive with a little USB-to-SATA thing attached to the end. Plugged into a computer (i.e. one that is booting from another, functioning drive), the SATA drive is recognized in the BIOS and even in the Windows device manager, but Windows cannot find any partitions on it. Booting up Linux reveals various drive-not-ready errors while Linux is booting.

There's a vast selection of different troubleshooting steps to choose from at this point; like I said, I'm hoping someone here has some familiarity with this specific variety of failure. What exactly should I try next? (Fortunately there's nothing of particularly great value stored on this drive.)
Last edited by Jorpho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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think_of_a_shape
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby think_of_a_shape » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:52 am UTC

I would leave it where it is, assuming it is still in your computer, and (try) reformatting it with windows and just see if it stays formatted etc, maybe copy some files to it to test.
Having said that you could try recuva on it before any reformatting

Another Hard Disk tool is Gparted, very powerful live cd for examining disks, so be careful! (or use Gparted from your Linux boot)

But for anything remotely dependable; Your original diagnoses would be correct, Kaput.
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yewbie
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby yewbie » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

You can use western digital's diag tool.

The linux ultimate boot disk http://www.ultimatebootcd.com has it, or you could download it from western digital.
It can tell you if there is a S.M.A.R.T error, or possibly something that can be fixed.

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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:04 am UTC

You mean the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic?
http://support.wdc.com/product/download ... =3&lang=en

The drive shows up in its listing, but the program says it has a capacity of 0 bytes. The diagnostics are successful; they complete really quickly.

The funny thing is that at bootup (i.e. right after POST, before the bootloader appears) a message says that S.M.A.R.T. is enabled for the drive. Or at least, it does if I do a cold boot. What happens is that the computer functions normally, but it runs really slowly for a couple of minutes, and then returns to normal speed; if I do a "warm" boot afterwards, this S.M.A.R.T. message does not appear. Something seems to be going on behind the scenes and then stopping.

Where did you see a Linux version of the utility? It does not seem to exist.

EDIT: TestDisk, oft-recommended as it is, fares a little better under Linux and at least reprots the capacity correctly. Unfortunately, it can't seem to read any of the cylinders.

I was kind of concerned that maybe I didn't hook up the drive correctly when I put it in the computer, but I guess there's pretty much only one way to install a SATA drive, right?

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby yewbie » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Where did you see a Linux version of the utility? It does not seem to exist.


Sorry ultimate boot cd actually loads ISO images of everything, for DLG it loads a ISO image of a bootable ms-dos floppy disk.
UBCD is based off of linux mostly.

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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

What troubles me is that I don't know for certain that this should be working. For all I know Western Digital does something dreadful to the drive firmware on these models that makes it impossible to use them as a standard internal SATA drive instead of an external USB, as I've been trying to do. I can't find references that suggest someone's been successful at this before.

[Unfortunately, I've only got one other generic SATA-to-USB enclosure sitting around, and now I want to back that up before I start tinkering with it – and since I don't have a second drive anymore, that means using DVDs!]

I've tried the drive inside a second computer now, and the same behavior persists: the drive can be seen by the BIOS when the computer is first switched on, the computer runs unusually slowly for a few minutes, and on subsequent reboots the BIOS no longer sees the drive. (In this other computer, it basically hangs for a few minutes when the "Intel Matrix Storage Manager Option ROM‎" message comes onscreen.) It is so tantalizingly close to not-disfunctional!

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:48 am UTC

Welp, I guess I'm going to haul this drive off to get evaluated by the data recovery people tomorrow. It might be clicking a little, but it's definitely not clicking continuously, as I understand drives tend to do when there's serious head failure.

Once I persuaded the Ultimate Boot CD to work correctly, the only thing I could get out of the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic included therein was error code 0132, which apparently means incorrect version.

So far the most verbose message I've gotten out of anything is the frantic output of the Linux kernel. Here's a sample, if it means anything:
Spoiler:
78.865105] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 78.865107] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 78.888042] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 78.904811] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 78.904817] ata1: EH complete
[ 78.905012] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 78.905015] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 78.905020] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:08:18:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 78.905021] res 51/04:08:18:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)
[repeats]
[ 78.944941] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 78.944943] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 78.967786] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 78.984645] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 78.984651] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 78.984654] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 78.984658] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 78.984660] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 78.984670] 00 00 00 18
[ 78.984673] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 78.984678] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 24
[ 78.984680] Buffer I/O error on device sdb, logical block 3
[ 78.984689] ata1: EH complete
[ 78.984770] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] 1953525168 512-byte hardware sectors (1000205 MB)
[ 78.984905] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 78.984908] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 78.984913] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:08:18:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 78.984914] res 51/04:08:18:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)
[more repeats]
[ 79.183468] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 79.183470] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 79.207016] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 79.215154] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 79.215160] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 79.215163] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 79.215167] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 79.215169] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 79.215179] 00 00 00 18
[ 79.215182] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 79.215187] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 24
[ 79.215196] ata1: EH complete
[ 79.215278] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 79.215281] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 79.215417] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 79.215420] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 79.215425] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 79.215426] res 51/04:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)
[ 79.406942] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 79.406943] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 79.430297] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 79.446699] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 79.446706] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 79.446709] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 79.446713] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 79.446715] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 79.446725] 00 00 00 00
[ 79.446728] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 79.446733] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 0
[ 79.446741] ata1: EH complete
[ 79.446964] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 79.446966] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 79.446971] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 79.446973] res 51/04:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)
[and more repeats]
[ 79.623491] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 79.623493] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 79.645603] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 79.662246] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 79.662252] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 79.662255] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 79.662259] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 79.662261] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 79.662271] 00 00 00 00
[ 79.662274] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 79.662279] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 0
[ 79.662288] ata1: EH complete
[ 79.662299] unable to read partition table
[ 79.662364] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
[ 79.662489] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 79.662764] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 234441648 512-byte hardware sectors (120034 MB)
[ 79.662779] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
[ 79.662782] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 79.662804] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 79.662826] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] 1953525168 512-byte hardware sectors (1000205 MB)
[ 79.662839] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 79.662841] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 79.666770] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 79.667991] sd 0:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
[ 79.668013] sd 0:0:1:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 0
[ 79.668033] sr 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 5
[ 79.668050] scsi 1:0:1:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 5
[ 79.674271] sr0: scsi3-mmc drive: 40x/40x writer dvd-ram cd/rw xa/form2 cdda tray
[ 79.674276] Uniform CD-ROM driver Revision: 3.20
[ 79.674333] sr 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr0
[ 79.683763] sr1: scsi3-mmc drive: 40x/40x writer cd/rw xa/form2 cdda tray
[ 79.683822] sr 1:0:1:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
[It keeps going!]
[ 80.232343] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 80.232345] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 80.256640] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 80.272907] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 80.272914] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 80.272917] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 80.272921] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 80.272923] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 80.272932] 00 00 00 00
[ 80.272936] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 80.272940] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 0
[ 80.272951] ata1: EH complete
[ 80.277720] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] 1953525168 512-byte hardware sectors (1000205 MB)
[ 80.277742] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 80.277744] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 80.277858] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 80.277882] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 234441648 512-byte hardware sectors (120034 MB)
[ 80.277895] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
[ 80.277898] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 80.277919] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 80.277940] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] 1953525168 512-byte hardware sectors (1000205 MB)
[ 80.277952] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 80.277955] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 80.277975] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 85.990794] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[ 85.990807] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
[ 97.002795] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 97.002837] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[ 97.025711] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
[ 97.034414] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/33
[ 97.034421] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE,SUGGEST_OK
[ 97.034425] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Sense Key : Aborted Command [current] [descriptor]
[ 97.034430] Descriptor sense data with sense descriptors (in hex):
[ 97.034432] 72 0b 00 00 00 00 00 0c 00 0a 80 00 00 00 00 00
[ 97.034441] 74 70 6d 00
[ 97.034445] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
[ 97.034450] end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 1953524992
[ 97.034452] printk: 2 messages suppressed.
[ 97.034454] Buffer I/O error on device sdb, logical block 244190624
[ 97.034506] ata1: EH complete
[ 97.034686] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 97.034732] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 97.034778] ata1.01: cmd 25/00:08:00:6d:70/00:00:74:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 97.034779] res 51/04:08:00:6d:70/04:00:74:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)
[The fun!]
[ 97.226054] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] 1953525168 512-byte hardware sectors (1000205 MB)
[ 97.226133] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 97.226135] sd 0:0:1:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[ 97.226229] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 97.226275] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x65
[ 97.226320] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:18:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 12288 in
[ 97.226321] res 51/04:18:00:00:00/04:00:74:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)

yewbie
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby yewbie » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:20 pm UTC

Your getting I/O error's when reading the first 0-20 sectors, that really bad.

Unfortunately I think data recovery is the only option :(
Thanks for posting a follow up though!

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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:21 am UTC

Bah, the guy wanted authorization to make a minimum $500 charge before he did a single thing. :P I may have to shop around.

One thing he did point out was that I really should have brought along the enclosure/USB-to-SATA thing, since indeed, sometimes these drives encrypt data such that there's no way to get readable data off of them without the adapter. Maybe I gave up too easily on those grounds.

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Freezer and ddrescue

Postby arbyd » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:13 am UTC

I've had some luck putting the drive in my freezer, and running GNU ddrescue (not dd_rescue). Leave the failing drive in the freezer, run the cables out to the running computer.

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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:05 am UTC

Really? I thought that was an urban legend, or whatever the technological equivalent is.

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:50 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Really? I thought that was an urban legend, or whatever the technological equivalent is.

Nope, it's a real thing. At this point, probably nothing to lose trying it.
"Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work." -Elon Musk
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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:23 pm UTC

How exactly do you keep condensation from forming on the PCB and doing horrible things?

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:08 pm UTC

Keep it cold while in operation (as you don't get condensation until warm, moist air hits cold metal), seal it in a plastic bag while in the freezer (see previous), move to Saskatchewan (wtf is moisture?)....

I'd imagine that condensation on an unpowered drive wouldn't be too bad as long as you let it evaporate (thoroughly - 24 hours under a lamp sort of thing) before applying power again, as well.
"Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work." -Elon Musk
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:03 am UTC

Well, I've got a few other options in the pipeline before I'll resort to that. (Cables running from the freezer to the computer, yay!)

In the meantime, just what is the Linux command to re-check for partitions on a device?

yewbie
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby yewbie » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

Heh, I have seen the freezer method work more than a handful of times on failed drives.
I think someone did some research and basically their are some pads where the head parks itself (or something like that it was a long time ago), and freezing shrinks these pads and allows the head to move out of its park.

Or it was something else
/oldage

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Jorpho
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:34 pm UTC

Someone pointed out to me recently the intriguing possibility of a dead TVS diode.
http://forums.seagate.com/t5/Barracuda- ... m-p/118908

Somehow this didn't come up when I was last poking around. Are any of you familiar with this?

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:32 am UTC

I'd like to give a shout-out to the folks at http://www.onepcbsolution.com/ , a Canadian company with fast, friendly, and relatively economical service. They weren't able to fix my problem, but for a fee they were at least able to tell me that there was apparently nothing wrong with my drive's PCB, and thus saved me considerable anguish in trying to muck with the aforementioned TVS diode. I was kind of hoping that the diagnostic process might mysteriously reset something in the firmware that would cause the drive to spring back to life, but no such luck.

Guess the professionals are the only option.

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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby eviloatmeal » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:16 am UTC

Sorry that this isn't actually "helpful" in any way, and merely related to the topic.

Coincidentally, my WD external hard drive has died recently. Although it seems to have been quite reliable in comparison - it survived for five or six years, and even shrugged off a couple of gravity-aided trips from my desktop to the hardwood floor. But finally a couple of weeks ago Windows refused to recognise it properly, and now it doesn't even show up as a connected device, much less a hard drive.

I also did dig out the actual hard drive from its shell, and plugged it into my computer, and the drive spins up, but doesn't compute.

On another note, the slight gyroscopic effect of a spinning hard drive seems to be noticeable by holding and tilting it! Probably not the most healthful thing to do to a hard drive, but since it wasn't working in the first place...
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Re: Diagnosing a Kaput WD External Hard Drive

Postby Jorpho » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:34 am UTC

I keep hoping that maybe I'll save the life of a data-recovery business owner some day. Or perhaps marry the attractive daughter of such a business owner.

I thought I'd report that a chance to give SpinRite a chance recently presented itself, so I fired up a spare laptop and gave it a try. It seems like the drive wasn't properly detected by the BIOS until after it spun down for whatever reason - after which point launching SpinRite caused it to hang on its "Discovering..." screen. So much for that.


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