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Force formatting a corrupt WD external hdd which causes file explorer to freeze?


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#1 krs000a

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 04:36 PM

So yet another WD My Passport is causing me problems. One day it worked fine, the next day it didn't.

When I connect it, it appears as drive E: (like it normally does), but when I try to access the drive, regardless of through which program, the program freezes ("not responding"). For example:

 

* It appears in file explorer as drive E. If I click on E:, file explorer stops responding. As soon as I disconnect the drive, file explorer unfreezes.

 

* If I run diskpart from command prompt while the external hdd is connected, diskpart freezes.

 

* The above described problems happens in Windows 7. I tried in Vista also, then the whole computer (the desktop) freezes upon connecting the drive. When disconnected, everything unfreezes.

 

I have tried different USB ports / cables, no difference.

The drive does not make any weird or unhealthy sounds.

I don't care about the files on the drive, but I would like to format the drive and see if it can be used for anything else. I have had other WD drives that got corrupt and I was able to format them and use them. But I can't format this. When I right click and choose "Format", nothing happens.

Sometimes the drive won't even appear as E: upon connected, simply nothing happens. When I disconnect it, immediately a dialog box popups saying drive E: is not formatted, you need for format it before you can use it (doesn't appears until AFTER i disconnect the drive!).

 

WD support are unable to help me.

Any suggestions how to force format this drive? Why is it freezing if it's not a mechanical / hardware error?



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 05:00 PM

If you do not need data off the drive download Gparted. Burn the iso to a CD by right clicking the iso on any Windows 7 or later computer and selecting Burn Disk Image. Boot Gparted. On a Windows 8 or later computer you will need to disable SecureBoot in UEFI settings as well as Fastboot/Quickboot.

 

At the Gparted Windows you will pick your device in the upper right dropdown box. For your external drive it could be sdb or sdc depending on how many internal drives you have. Make sure you have picked the correct device.

 

If the drive is less than 2 TB create a new MBR (msdos) partition table (Device > Create Partition Table). If the drive is over 2TB then create a GPT partition table. After creating the partition table create a primary NTFS partition. 

 

All steps complete after clicking Apply or the Green check mark. If you still get a freeze using Gparted based on linux it's possible the drive is failing. We can download another bootable disk to check the disk.

Attached Files


Edited by JohnC_21, 13 April 2018 - 05:01 PM.


#3 krs000

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 04:45 AM

Thanks for the reply John.

I downloaded, burned and booted Gparted. At first it said Searching drives for a long time, I thought it was not going anywhere. All of a sudden it switched to "Searching /dev/sdc partitions" and then I thought that was stuck because it kept saying it for like a hour. Finally it finished as well, but I don't see the external hdd in the list of partitions. I only see "dev/sda1" (1.82 Tb) which is my C: drive, and also "allocated space" (1.01 Mb).

So the external drive which I believe is 3 Tb doesn't show. Any ideas on how to proceed?


Edited by krs000, 14 April 2018 - 05:01 AM.


#4 Platypus

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 05:17 AM

Throw the faulty drive out.

Edit: unless it's still under warranty.

Edited by Platypus, 14 April 2018 - 05:18 AM.

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#5 krs000

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 05:40 AM

Update. I ran Gparted again and this time the drive showed up. I created a new partition table. Received an error message saying the partition table had been created, but Gparted couldn't inform the kernel so some of the old partitions were still running and I should reboot before doing further changes.

I rebooted. Now creating a primary NTFS partition, it's really slow or stuck but since the drive is like 3 Tb I guess it could take a long time.

 

 

Throw the faulty drive out.

Edit: unless it's still under warranty.

 

Yeah I suppose I might end up having to do that, but I'm quite upset because these WD passports drives are failing on me a lot lately. I've been using computers since late 1980s and I am yet to have an internal hdd fail on me. But these USB drives seem to be extremely cheaply made. I just wanted to try everything I could before trashing it.

Will update the thread once (if) the primary NTFS partition finishes and let you know if the drive is usable or still causing problems.



#6 krs000

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 06:28 AM

Does anyone have any clue how long (at the very least) it would take to create a new NTFS partition on a 3 Tb drive using Gparted? There is no progress indicator so no way of telling if it's actually doing anything or if it's stuck, and I'd like to know how long I would need to keep this thing going before I give up.



#7 Platypus

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 06:47 AM

Just creation of a partition takes very little time - establish metafiles and update partition table. If the partition is undergoing a full format, that can take a long time, but I can't say if that is the default behavior for GParted.
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#8 krs000

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:21 AM

Okay, so the whole thing stopped and gave me this error message:

"An error occurred while applying the operations"

There was an option to save a detailed error log, but I couldn't get it to save as it insisted on saving it onto the CD-R which Gparted was burned to and I couldn't find a way to select a different destination, so unfortunately I can't provide this error log.

 

If anyone has any suggestions on what I could do as a last desperate attempt before trashing the drive, feel free to let me know.

 

If you still get a freeze using Gparted based on linux it's possible the drive is failing. We can download another bootable disk to check the disk.

 

John, if you could let me know how to do that, please do.



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:45 AM

I think that drive is done as Platypus said. Most of the large WD external drives use a proprietary bridge card. If you remove the drive you cannot access the data but you may be able to put it into another enclosure or use a USB adapter. If a portable the bridge cards are integrated with the HDDs PCB. Yours may be a bridge card problem but I doubt it.

 

Pull the drive if the drive is not under warranty and you get no response from Parted Magic.

 

Download UBCD. Burn the iso like you did Gparted. On the Menu Screen select Parted Magic. At the Parted Magic screen click on Disk Health. It will scan your drives. If you see a red drive it indicates a failure. Click on your drive and do the short and long tests if at all possible.

 

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

 

http://mirror.sysadminguide.net/ubcd/ubcd538.iso

 

Here are some links on WD external drives. 

 

https://carltonbale.com/western-digital-mybook-drive-lock-encryption-failure-and-recovery/

 

https://community.wd.com/t/wd-my-book-duo-data-forever-lost-if-drive-enclosure-dies/6496

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1999501/book-data-recovery-issue-encryption.html

 

https://community.wd.com/t/inherent-design-fault-in-all-my-books-usb-solder-connection-faulty/2137


Edited by JohnC_21, 14 April 2018 - 08:46 AM.


#10 krs000

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 01:06 PM

I think that drive is done as Platypus said. Most of the large WD external drives use a proprietary bridge card. If you remove the drive you cannot access the data but you may be able to put it into another enclosure or use a USB adapter. If a portable the bridge cards are integrated with the HDDs PCB. Yours may be a bridge card problem but I doubt it.

 

Pull the drive if the drive is not under warranty and you get no response from Parted Magic.

 

Download UBCD. Burn the iso like you did Gparted. On the Menu Screen select Parted Magic. At the Parted Magic screen click on Disk Health. It will scan your drives. If you see a red drive it indicates a failure. Click on your drive and do the short and long tests if at all possible.

 

Thank you so much for the instructions and your help. Will try it, and if it still doesn't work I'll trash it and move on.



#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 01:15 PM

If it fails on Parted Magic at least try to remove the drive from the enclosure if the USB port is not soldered to the PCB of the hard drive.



#12 mightywiz

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 01:31 PM

you probably have a corrupted firmware on the drive and that's caused from bad sectors in the firmware area of the platters.

 

I do data recovery and this is common for WD drives



#13 krs000a

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 01:24 AM

you probably have a corrupted firmware on the drive and that's caused from bad sectors in the firmware area of the platters.

 

I do data recovery and this is common for WD drives

 

Is it possible to fix the firmware if it's corrupted?



#14 mightywiz

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:33 AM

it is, but if the problem is produced from a bad sector then it's just going to be an issue in the future.

we don't trust drives that have had a firmware repair.  some people will sell those as refurbished on ebay (stay away).

 

also download the western digital lifeguard diagnostics software and see if it gives you any errors.

Then go and check the warranty on the drive if it reports an error, goto the website and put in the serial number on the check warranty page.

 

 

you might get lucky.



#15 krs000

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:56 AM

it is, but if the problem is produced from a bad sector then it's just going to be an issue in the future.

we don't trust drives that have had a firmware repair.  some people will sell those as refurbished on ebay (stay away).

 

also download the western digital lifeguard diagnostics software and see if it gives you any errors.

Then go and check the warranty on the drive if it reports an error, goto the website and put in the serial number on the check warranty page.

 

 

you might get lucky.

 

Is it easy (for an average computer user) to fix a firmware error like that?

I have tried the WD Lifeguard Diagnostics program but it freezes as soon as the drive is connected (and unfreezes as soon as it's disconnected). Warranty is unfortunately expired since at least a year or maybe even two.






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