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Usb Hard Drive Problem


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#1 KIDRoach

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 04:17 PM

Hi,

I have this problem, my hard drive is really inconsistent lately.

The Hard Drive is a Western Digital 200 GB hard drive, 3.5". I used to have a desktop with this in it. However, I moved and left my desktop, but decided to take the hard drive out and bring it with me. I bought an external casing to accompany the naked hard drive. It was working fine then, with my laptop, a HP dv6500.

A few days ago, it starts acting up. The computer would just stop there and it hanged. The computer would simply become unresponsive. I thought it was the computer. However, when I unplug the drive, my computer is okay again. Sometimes, it would just stops in the middle of me watching a movie from the hard drive. I really don't get it. Also, when I restart my laptop with the hard drive attached on the USB, Vista wouldn't boot up.

Is the problem really on my hard drive? If it is indeed, is there anything that I can do to fix this? Should I buy a new hard drive instead? I don't mind if it suddenly go broken. It's just that it's inconsistent, sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't. I don't know if buying a new hard drive would fix the problem.

Edit: Also, another thing that I might add, the hard drive is already almost 3 years old, if that helps in anyway :thumbsup:

Edited by KIDRoach, 12 January 2008 - 06:26 PM.

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#2 nigglesnush85

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 07:22 PM

Hello,

The hard drives age is a factor, but I would have thought you would get quite a bit more out of it.

Regarding the its performance with the laptop...
When was it las defragged?
What file system is it on?
Does it have any additional partitions?
Is the operating system still installed on the drive?

There are two main reasons for the laptop not booting up with the drive attatched...
1 Your BIOS is set to boot from USB before the internal HDD.
2 There are remains of an operating system on the drive and the laptop tries to start it first

You hopefully shouldn't need a replacement just yet, I'm using a WD and its a couple of years older than yours.
Regards,

Alan.

#3 KIDRoach

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 07:34 PM

It was never defragged actually. :huh: Since there's no system files, and there never was,[I used it as data storage in the desktop] in the hard drive, I never really bothered to defrag it. It only has one partition and I formatted the drive a couple of times if that mattered :thumbsup:


Indeed, in the BIOS, the first option to boot was from a USB floppy drive. I changed it anyway, since it's not very likely for me to buy a floppy drive.

Should I defrag the external drive? It's just that I hate defragging so much. :huh: The last time I defragged the internal hard drive in my laptop, it took almost 5 hours.
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#4 nigglesnush85

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 07:57 PM

Then its most likely it needs a good defrag, dont worry about the time it takes, you don't need to use the windows built in one, 5hrs for that sounds reasonable :thumbsup:

I would recommend one of these two, they are both blisteringly fast (in comparison to the windows one)

http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/download (freeware)
http://www.vopt.com/ (not freeware)

Also, in device manager under that hard drive, does it say that its is optimized for performance?

Edited by nigglesnush85, 12 January 2008 - 07:59 PM.

Regards,

Alan.

#5 hamluis

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 08:02 PM

One thing I noticed with my USB external enclosure/drive...when that drive needs defrag or chkdsk, it impacts the entire system (when XP decides to run it automatically).

You might also take a look in Event Viewer and see if there are clues of any sort.

Louis

#6 KIDRoach

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 12:51 AM

Alright then, I'll defrag it rightaway and see how it works B)

Also, if it's worth mentioning, I've just installed Ubuntu in the Laptop's hard drive. I didn't think it affects the other hard drive in any way, but just because :huh:

And also, I went to the device manager, where do you look for the words that says " Device is optimized for performance" ? I decided that my device is in the USB drive, I looked in the USB root, sure enough, it's there. However, I couldn't see what it is. I only know that it is a Mass Storage Device. :thumbsup: No information whatsoever in the properties too, not even its size.


Edit: I also looked in the event viewer, didn't know how to navigate :huh:

Edited by KIDRoach, 13 January 2008 - 12:56 AM.

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#7 nigglesnush85

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 06:21 AM

Thats interresting, In the device manager, can you select the option for quick removal? Its just added protection. The Ubuntu on your laptop shouldn't have any influence on your external HDD.

Regarding hamluis's thought of the event viewer, http://bertk.mvps.org/html/source.html is a good quick guide on how to use it, look for errors and warnings in both the system and application tabs.

How did the defragging go?
Regards,

Alan.

#8 KIDRoach

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:06 PM

^Well, there's no option for it, at least not that I know of. I can find the disable button, but there's no "quick removal" button. I'm not sure I get you though :thumbsup:

And yeah, the defragging went great !! The hard drive is nice and fast now :D

Thanks a lot !
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#9 KIDRoach

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:28 AM

Right, I thought the problem was solved. It isn't after all. :huh:

It gets worse now. I can't access the drive at all. Before this, it used to be when I play movies, it would suddenly stops. And then, I'd just unplug the cable, plug it back in, the movie continues back on. Seems like this doesn't work anymore.

I can't access the drive at all. Whenever I try to access the drive, click on it or anything, my computer stops working. It suddenly becomes unresponsive. I can't click anywhere. It just... hangs... :thumbsup: Then, I would unplug the drive and the computer would run back smoothly again.

I just don't understand. Now, I can't even access the disk management with the drive connected. The program would stop responding. So can't I defrag with the drive connected. Any idea what's the problem here?
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#10 nigglesnush85

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:59 AM

Its a 200GB hard disk, how much is used? also, bring up task manager before you plug in the drive, note which processes spike.
Regards,

Alan.

#11 hamluis

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:58 AM

Well...everytime you do a hard shutdown (pull the plug), chances are that it creates corrupt files and it shuts down the system with files in disarray.

The normal way to overcome some of this is to run chkdsk /r after any hard shutdown, BSOD, etc. It probably would not hurt to defrag after the chkdsk completes.

The normal way to overcome corrupt system files is to run sfc /scannow or do a repair install of XP. Since we are talking about system files on an external drive, a repair install would not help and I suspect that there are not many system files on an external drive.

Causes of Data Corruption - http://ezinearticles.com/?Causes-of-Data-C...n&id=817785

Louis

#12 KIDRoach

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:01 PM

It's a 200 GB hard drive, but since the Windows calculation is different, it displays it as about 186 GB. I have about 14.6 GB free, the last time I could access it. As for the task manager, the explorer.exe CPU usage spiked for a split second. Also, whenever I plug in, not the whole laptop stops. Only the windows explorer stops working. Sorry for the confusion :thumbsup:


Also, I just remembered that there was a couple of times the blue screen came out recently, when the hard drive was still working. Can't remember exactly what I was doing though :huh:

Will try to run the commands as soon as possible. By the way, did I mention that I'm running Vista?

Edit: Would it help to mention that the drive would appear for a split second in "My Computer", right after I unplug the drive, and then disappear again, since after all, it is unplugged.

I also ran the commands but nothing came out. B) Then, I got a little mad, unplug the drive again. The following lines came out :huh:

The type of the file system is RAW
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

Edited by KIDRoach, 15 January 2008 - 04:55 PM.

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#13 hamluis

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:51 PM

You have a bad drive...I think. Or maybe a bad external enclosure. The drive exhibits many of the symptoms I've experienced with bad drives I've had, which isn't a lot of experience but sometimes a little is enough :thumbsup:.

I would remove the drive from the enclosure and attach it temporarily to one of my IDE channels and see how it behaves there. I would change the jumper setting after removing it from the USB enclosure.

Wait for others' opinions before acting.

Louis

#14 KIDRoach

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 08:48 PM

^Yeah, that was what I was thinking. But then, I don't have anywhere to test whether it is a bad drive, so... :thumbsup:


Edit: Could it be the external enclosure?

Edited by KIDRoach, 15 January 2008 - 10:24 PM.

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#15 hamluis

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:22 AM

As I indicated, it could be either. Drives develop problems all the time...and any man-made device can go on the fritz :thumbsup:. Humans do, why not their artifacts?

You don't have a desktop system? Don't have a friend with a desktop? Don't have access to a desktop at work? It won't take forever to check it out by attaching it to a known good system.

At the minimum, I would run chkdsk /r on the drive...and then maybe run a diagnostic program obtained from the website of the HD manufacturer.

XP Chkdsk, Using the Graphical Version (My Computer) - http://www.updatexp.com/windows-xp-chkdsk.html Put check marks in both boxes that appear when following these instructions.

Louis




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