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Possibly damaged Seagate Backup Plus drive that fell on the floor


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:33 PM

Desktop: Dell XPS 8700, Win 10 Pro 64 bit version 1803, Avast Premier, Malwarebytes Premium, all current.  Laptop: Dell Inspiron 5537, Win 10 Home 64 bit version 1803, Avast & MBAM as for the desktop.

2 TB WD My Book external HDD usually attached to the desktop machine.  3 TB Seagate Backup Plus external drive used mostly for Macrium Reflect backups of both machines, not connected except during backups.

 

A week or so ago a couple of large rambunctious dogs got into my workroom momentarily.  Before I could eject them they had hit the power cable of the Seagate drive and yanked it onto the floor from the 28 inch high table on which it rested.  At the time the drive was powered up, but not connected to either computer.  The floor is linoleum over wood.

 

Today I wanted to use the Seagate to run a Macrium backup.  I found that connecting the Seagate to the desktop computer disabled the mouse (wireless) and the keyboard (hardwired) and the control connection to the APC UPS.  The computer would boot up, but would receive no input, and generated continuous error messages of several kinds.  Disconnecting the Seagate external drive's USB 3.0 cable restored normal function of the computer.

 

This is a major nuisance, but not a disaster (I have a 2 TB WD My Passport drive on which I can make the planned backup, and if necessary could buy another external drive and repeat the full backups of both computers).  Question arising, how to find out what's wrong with the Seagate Backup Plus, and if possible retrieve the files from it?  Bearing in mind, of course, that recovering the data is not worth more than the cost of a new drive.  Replacing the drive would be the worst-case scenario, since the full backups are repeatable and contained nothing that is not still on the computers.

 

I live in a small farming village; the nearest "computer repair facility" is probably a Staples store about 50 miles away.  I'm probably the nearest thing to a "computer tech" in these parts, but a) I am out of practice and B) I don't have any diagnostic equipment at hand and c) that Seagate unit doesn't look like a DIY service job to me <G>.  It lights up when connected to a computer (but not when powered up but not connected via USB) and is definitely spinning (you can just barely feel it) when powered up.  Also: the My Passport is perfectly happy connected to the computer using the same USB 3 cable I used for the Seagate.  So I have to think hitting the floor did something to the Seagate.

 

Thanks for enlightenment!



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 04:24 PM

In order for this to work you will need to disable SecureBoot in your UEFI settings if you have it. You will also need to disable Fast Startup. I would disable Fast Startup in any case. It can cause issues. After disabling open an elevated command prompt and type

powercfg.exe -h off
shutdown /s /f /t 0

Reboot

 

Download Mint Cinnamon. Burn the iso to a DVD. Boot Mint and when at the desktop attach your Seagate. If linux can mount the drive a USB icon will appear on the desktop and a File Manager Window will open. If Mint does mount the Seagate click Computer on the Desktop. Your Internal drive will be in the lower left pane showing the size in GBs. Click on it. You can then copy files from the Seagate to the Internal drive. After copying your data I would recommend you run Seatools for Windows and do the short/long tests. If it passes both tests then I would reformat the drive.

 

https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3597



#3 mightywiz

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 04:49 PM

unfortunately being powered on when the drive hit the floor is bad, you probably damaged the heads & platters when it dropped and the drive cant access the firmware on the platters.  now if it would have been off and the heads in the parked position you might have been ok.

 

usually when the drive being plugged in locks up your computer it's a firmware issue with the drive whether it be a damaged sector in the firmware area or a bad head.



#4 saluqi

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 04:49 PM

Thanks mightywiz, that's about what I think happened.  Back in the day, when these things were more fragile than they are now, I spent years assembling computers and setting up networks.  We were always careful not even to move them while the drives were spinning.  That Seagate Backup Plus drive is very heavy for its size, and that probably didn't help.  It's about the size of a paperback book, and weighs just under two pounds.  I wouldn't want to drop it on my toes.

 

Thanks JohnC_21, I'll try that, but I'm not optimistic.  I think mightywiz is probably right, the heads bounced off the platters and gouged them.  I've never actually had that happen before, but as noted I've always been aware of the possibility.

 

It's amazing how much devastation two large, powerful, excited canine extreme athletes can cause in a couple of minutes in a small crowded room, aargh!  These are coursing dogs weighing about 50 pounds each.  They can run 40 mph, jump over an 8 foot fence, and catch jackrabbits on the run.  A lot of other stuff got damaged besides the Seagate drive!



#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:49 PM

I don't hold out much hope either. I agree that it's probably a lost cause but it's something to try. A 2 foot drop while the drive was running does not bode well.



#6 saluqi

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 07:45 PM

I think you're right.  The drop was 28 inches and the drive wasn't just dropped, it was thrown violently several feet.  A rapidly moving dog hit the power cable and yanked the drive off the table and halfway across the room.  I didn't even find it until later while trying to clear up the mess.  Books, piles of papers, file folders emptied out, it'll take me days just to find everything.  The room looks like the aftermath of a tornado.

 

It would be mildly nice to recover those files, but I can start over with a new drive backing up both computers again from scratch.  Anyway I think the 4 TB version of the Seagate is probably a better deal than the 3 TB one.  Probably about the same as what I paid for the 3 TB one 18 months or so ago.  I don't think I'd ever really trust this drive even if I could get it to work again.



#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 08:10 PM

What every you do, do not get the Seagate 3TB. That drive has a class action suit against it for drive failures. One person here who works at a data recovery service does not recommend any Seagate drive. Only WD, and HGST. I will post the link from the member when I find it. Here is the link to the class action suit.

 

https://www.hbsslaw.com/cases/seagate

 

Here is the link

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/677755/laptop-hdds-comparison/?p=4499354

 

The above is for laptops but the 3TB desktop drives had a terrible failure rate.

 

Edit: and here recommending 4TB drives.

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/640173/need-two-new-4tb-hdds/?p=4190307


Edited by JohnC_21, 03 July 2018 - 08:16 PM.


#8 saluqi

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 10:24 PM

Well, the Seagate that fell on the floor was a 3 TB model <G>.  So maybe I should say Good Riddance!  I have seen the 4 TB version recommended, even touted as "best available external hard drive" - I suppose that reflects the power of the advertising dollar?

 

I have a couple of WD My Passport ones, and so far they have been very satisfactory.  Only 2 TB, but they make bigger ones now.  I don't so much care for the glitzy colors (mine are plain black) or the fancy surface textures of the newer models.

 

Question arising, what is the difference between the WD My Passport and the WD Elements drives?  Platter rotation speed?  The "Elements" looks practically identical to my older model Passports. There's about a $10 difference in price (the "Elements" is cheaper); what does that imply?

 

Also, what do they mean by saying the black Passports are better quality than the colored ones?  Surely they are the same except for the case material?



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:19 AM

I forgot to mention that personally I do not recommend WD drives that are in enclosures if they encrypt the data. See the below page.

 

 https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=15150

 

If a WD DAS enclosure fails, the data on the internal hard drive(s) may or may not be accessible when used in another enclosure. 

 

99% of the time it will not be accessible in another enclosure. This is all over the WD forums. Here is my post with links.

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/675513/force-formatting-a-corrupt-wd-external-hdd-which-causes-file-explorer-to-freeze/?p=4482465

 

Notice My Passport drives have the USB bridge card integrated into the drives PCB. If that fails there is no way to pull the drive and recover the data.

 

 The drive's controller board (PCBA) only has a USB connector; there is no SATA-to-USB board

Edited by JohnC_21, 04 July 2018 - 05:15 PM.


#10 mjd420nova

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:57 AM

When an external or internal drive gets a jammed head, stuck in the full extended position, it will hold off the logic off the controller when it can't reset the heads and find the clock track (track zero) to let the boot process continue.  Portable drives are very bad in this respect, quite fragile in a dangerous environment.  It might be possible to place the platters in a working unit but that's expensive to recover, requires spare parts and a clean room.



#11 saluqi

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 04:34 PM

All that duly noted, thanks much.

 

Looking at the WD information table in JohnC_21's first link, I see that all Passport models except the Pro have hardware encryption.  The Elements with USB 2.0 connectors have hardware encryption; those with USB 3.0 connectors do not.  The Passport models are bundled with WD's backup software, the Elements ones are not.(I think they come with a trial version, which for me is just occupying space - I use Macrium for image backups and don't need a file manager to do file copies, Windows handles that just fine).

 

The USB 3.0 Elements portables appear to have the USB bridge on the PCB rather than separate.  The desktop models apparently have it separate.  The portables draw their power from the USB connection; the desktops seem to have an AC power adapter.

 

Another question: which ones have an internal fan, and which do not?  And does it matter?

 

FWIW I have an older WD My Book 2 TB, P/N WDBAAF0020HBK-0, that seems to be SmartWare enabled (at any rate, it has SmartWare on it) that appears to have been first installed (by me) in January 2010 and has been in continuous use ever since, as a backup facility.  It has thus outlived at least two, possibly three computers previous to this one, and operating systems going back at least to Win XP, if not to Win 95.  It definitely does have hardware encryption.  It contains not quite 5 GB of data, mostly photo and video images.  All of its contents were backed up on the now probably deceased Seagate.  A second complete copy of those backup data is on a WD My Passport 2 TB, purchased in late 2012.

 

I think the reasonable thing to do is accept that no HDD is eternal, and adopt the "belt and suspenders" approach - meaning at least two separate backups of everything, so that if one drive should fail unexpectedly, nothing is lost.  Rather than spend time on a probably futile attempt to retrieve data from the Seagate Backup Plus drive, I'd rather get one (or preferably two) 4 TB portables.  The question therefore is primarily, which ones.  The 4 TB WD Elements drives are available from Amazon at what seems a reasonable price.  The Passport ones are about $10 more, each.  Question arising, do the Passport models - apart from their cosmetics which I do NOT particularly care for - offer any advantage over the Elements?  They do offer the one seeming DISadvantage of having hardware encryption.

 

Unfortunately, having recently been stiffed by two major clients, I have to watch the pennies pretty closely just now.

 

Thanks for any advice or suggestions!



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 05:29 PM

I looked at a teardown video of the Elements Desktop but could not see a fan. I believe an enclosure with a fan would be preferable to one without.

 

Elements portable vs Passport portable.

 

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-WD-Elements-and-WD-Passport-external-HD



#13 saluqi

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:53 PM

I had already looked at just about everything I could find online, including the Quora link JohnC_21 mentions just above.  One contributor there mentions a fan, but doesn't actually say which one has the fan.  I guess the implication is that the more expensive My Passport is the one with the fan - but OTOH the Elements enclosure is slightly bigger than the My Passport one.

 

This is getting really confusing.  There is the WD My Passport Ultra - which a few years ago looked exactly like the old My Passport I have here (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZsyzzfjwIg).  Now the outside has been updated (improved???) to look like the other Passport models.  Question arising, is that change purely decorative (it doesn't appeal to me) or is there a functional improvement?  It seems that now the Elements is almost the only one that retains the old style housing.  The Ultra is not even listed on the WD support site we have been looking at (https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=15150).  Listed there are, however, the "easystore" models, one of them portable and also, it seems, in the "old-fashioned" housing.

 

It would be nice to have more concrete facts about these models - for instance, fan or not? 

 

The Ultra seems to be about 50% more expensive than the plain My Passport.  Haven't yet been able to find the "easystore" models online, to get a price?

 

Amazon seems still to be offering the old-style Ultra, though perhaps only in the 1 TB version?  Old inventory, or "refurbished"?  They do mention "old".

 

I am a scientist (biology and physics) with an engineering background (MIT brat).  I understand why sales literature is intentionally uninformative - but i don't have to like it <G>.



#14 saluqi

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:23 PM

Hmm, a little more enlightenment at https://community.wd.com/t/my-book-passport-vs-easystore/203207.  It seems  the 'easystore" drives are proprietary to Best Buy stores (and I suppose the Geek Squad) and are, or were initially, repurposed internal HDDs of considerably higher value.  Goodness knows what's in those enclosures now.  No wonder it's all a bit obscure <G>.

 

So it seems I am asking for specific information about what may be a very lively moving target <G>.  Oh what fun!



#15 saluqi

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:26 PM

Question arising: is there any non-destructive way of finding out what's inside any of these enclosures?  Or even basic info like the rpm - I just heard that at least the lower-capacity Elements units have 5400 rpm platters instead of 7200 rpm?  Of course I have no way of knowing whether or not that is true . . .






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