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Two Systems no longer recognize 1TB External HD


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#1 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 07:42 PM

[NOTE: System info, etc is at end of post]

Some months ago, I began experiencing problems with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda HD, only 14 mos old then (w/ 5 yr warranty). It was in a quality, new ext enclosure (Acomdata), hooked to my laptop via USB. (It can run USB3.0, but the cable is backwards compatible to 2.0 – all the Sony Vaio has.)

Problems began with “Write Delayed Failed” errors, which I researched a lot, trying different things. Sometimes it would say “it lost connection, etc.” Back then, the problem was intermittent then and a reboot usually got it working again, so being busy w/ other things I didn’t dwell on it. Over time the Vaio wouldn’t even recognize the drive/ assign it a letter. I switched cables, enclosures, etc and nothing helped. Other drives worked fine in those enclosures & with those cables. With summer, I got busy with a remodel, gardens, and other things, and further diagnosis took a backseat.

Recently, I tried to see if my desktop would produce a different result, both via USB and via SATA from inside the system. For a brief time, and only after tons of hassle, did I manage to get a drive letter and retrieved a small amount of data. When I could no longer see it in MyComputer or Disk Management, I took the drive to a shop – a friend I’ve known for 30 years & a good tech. After 4-5 days of trying to create a disk image (he got it to assign a letter), image creation was unsuccessful!

I’ve since tried again here at home – numerous things and still nothing. I’m about to return it to Seagate, and knowing this is my LAST CHANCE to possibly save any of about 850GB of data, I’m wondering if there’s anything else I can possibly do. (I cannot afford prof data recovery services, and tho I have some good data recov software, with no drive letter you’re out of luck even with that.)

I didn’t try it in Safe Mode yet. Would that be an option/ worth the time? I’m a bit rusty these days, and not sure USB would even work in SM, so might need to reinstall internally, and for nothing. Even so, would running in Safe Mode produce any better result, all considered?? I’ve delayed returning the drive in hopes that something would come to mind whereby I might save even s-o-m-e of the data. Suggestions greatly appreciated.
Regards, Mike

PS. Those USB 3.0 cables are thicker/heavier and always seemed very “touchy,” in that they could easily lose connection from the slightest touch or movement (the cable, the laptop, etc), and sometimes did so just by themselves. (Never had this issue with thin/lighter 2.0 cables).

When the above happened, I’d hear the drive click & typically an alert msg was generated – so, I was extra careful with that. Someplace I read that this type of abrupt disconnection can cause drive errors and, at worst, damage the HD. Is this true? (It was usually set for “Quick Removal,” but did change settings more than once, meaning it was write caching some of the time.) Lastly, in recent testing I used the 2.0 and 3.0 cables with the same results. During the brief time I managed to obtain a drive letter (using my desktop sys), I ran SeaTools and it failed miserably. Do I “bite the bullet” and send it back? Yea or Nay? 

Systems Info:
SYS ONE: Sony laptop Model VGN-FS742; XP ProSPK3, w/ all current updates, all driver updates.
Intel Processor: x86 Family 6 Model 13 Stepping 8 Genuine Intel ~1729 Mhz; 80GB Internal HD. System is in great shape – not the issue.

SYS TWO:Dell XPS400 but little of it’s stock– 4GB RAM, upgd NVidia GPX, etc.
XP Pro spK3 + all updates, and driver updates.
WD 320 GB HD. Slave= 1TB Seagate Barracuda.
As with Sony Laptop, the system is 100% fine and not the issue.

ERRORS:Problems typically occurred while watching movies via WMP, but that’s what I mainly used the Sony for. Error could occur when using Outlook, or just having Explorer window open.

I no longer have text of “exact” “Write Delayed Failed “errors, but were something like: [Delayed Write Failed for file M$msft. It could result in data loss or corruption. Drive may have lost connection or it’s hardware failure. Save the file somewhere else, etc.] Of course, one could never find what file they were even talking about, let alone where you were supposed to save it!

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#2 jhayz

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

You might get some luck using this method first, since retrieving files is the main objective. http://help.artaro.eu/index.php/data-recovery/recover-files-from-hard-disk.html#.UGZZDlE4Ejl

Tekken
 


#3 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 04:25 PM

I appreciate your reply, although that seems to more suited to one having OS issues, which isn't the case on either of my systems. Rather, it's all about an external drive that will no longer ID itself (show up in Windows), which leads me to believe the drive may be toast. Frankly, I was hoping there might be some way to still access that drive to retrieve any amount of data. Several years ago, I used EasyRecovery Pro to successfully retrieve files on a drive that was near death, but in that case I could still at least SEE the drive letter – even tho' it wasn't reading files/folders as usual. While I still have that software, without being able to direct recovery efforts to a specific drive, sadly it's of no use.

If there isn't some "trick," which I'm not aware of, to get that drive to show up...then I guess that's it. No way can I afford professional recovery efforts, costing thousands of $$$, where they take apart the actual drive. <_< In any case, thanks for the suggestion.

#4 James Litten

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 09:46 PM

Hi

When you connect it directly to the motherboard via SATA, does it show up in the BIOS when you boot the computer?

James

#5 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:12 AM

Hi James,

It's been a while since I installed it interally, but as I recollect it did not show up in the BIOS. Maybe it's worth giving that another go, since not 100% sure, tho' it sure seems that I checked BIOS at the time. Assuming it doesn't show up, then what? You think it's "toast?" Or, if does show, what needs to be adjusted in terms of settings?

I've been hoping that if I could just get it to ID, then I could run Error Checking – possibly fix those or ignore bad sectors – or possibly I could make use of my recovery sofware to transfer data off the drive.

Thanks, Mike

#6 jhayz

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:51 AM

If the drive is toast, then the link is not usable. If its only the windows system not able to detect, you can still try running the ISO cd and hopefully puppy linux will help you transfer your files to another storage and then RMA the drive after.

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#7 NorCal_Mike

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:50 PM

UPDATE:

Taking the drive out of its USB enclosure, I again hooked it up internally via SATA, with the following results:

The drive did show up in BIOS, tho took forever to boot into XP (10-15x the normal wait). Opening MyComputer – likewise very slow – it'd sometimes show the drive, but when clicking on it, an error msg would say "It'd lost connection." Actually, before I did that I opened Device Manager to see if showed there, which it did (at first anyway.) Trying to run various recovery programs, it'd say something like, "the path didn't exist or couldn't be found." I tried too many things to list here, all to no avail. (BTW, sometimes after closing MyComp or Dev Mngr and then reopening either, then the drive wouldn't show up. And, when I scanned for "hardware changes," if the drive was showing it would then disapper.)

Next, I booted into Safe Mode, and again it took way longer than normal. The drive showed up, and I became hopeful when clicking on it, the main folder set opened. Sadly, that's as far as it'd go, since clicking on any of those folders would generate an "I/O (input-output) error." Likewise, none of the recovery software got any further. Interestingly, by checking 'Properties' I saw that both partitions indicated their right size (6ooGB and 333GB), as well as the amount of data each held. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING BECAUSE I KNOW MY DATA IS IN THERE!

Personally, I believe the disk's file system/table became corrupted by the sudden USB cable disconnects (mentioned above), and that's what is preventing access to all that data, which just sitting there intact! Also, there could be some magnetic/ physical damage, since often when the above caused the system to lock up, I had no choice but to do a hard shut-down/ reboot, which isn't good for any drive. So, there are possibly bad sectors along with the file structure having compromised. Logically, were there some way to gain access to the drive, whereby those file table errors could be corrected (using CHKDISK or similar), and have the drive "ignore bad sectors," it seems to me that the data could then be saved.

The question remains, how can that be accomplished when you can't gain access to the drive long enough to effect any repairs?? I'm about at the end of the trail in terms of what to try, as well as needing to RMA the drive asap, so if anyone has further ideas or suggestions, I'd most appreciate hearing them. Minus a solution coming soon, I have no choice but to return the drive, and with it there goes all my data.
Thanks in advance, Mike

PS. Has anyone heard of or tried doing 'a low level format' in situation like this?? That assumes, of course, it would allow access to accomplish this. I read in a couple places, rather hurridley, about some who'd done this to rebuild the file tables, etc. I think (but am not sure) they then used software that could recover deleted files, which the low level format didn't really erase or damage. Thoughts, anyone?

#8 James Litten

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:21 PM

Hi

I would no longer trust that drive and replace it. You can try Jhayz's suggestion for recovering the data. It often works because Linux is much more forgiving than Windows when it comes to reading a failing drive.

James




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