TechSpot

Check Disk on External Hard Drive

By Jagged112
May 16, 2007
  1. Hi.
    Running on vista
    I'm having problems using my external hard drive. When powering up it comes up with two windows suggesting I should run scan disk on the drive. Both the windows pop up at the same time, one behind the other. Running scan disk from either of these options fails to work properly (them seem to interfer with each other)
    When booting the PC with the external HD already turned on a going to it in My Com. and using the tools there it gets about 1/2 way through and seems to stall.
    I can't seem to run a disk scan on start up for the external drive, only for the hard wired in drive.
    Having the disk on in the back ground does seem to interfer with windows operation even without me activly accessing the disk.
    I'd rather not scrap the disk as it has a lot of music on which i don't fancy losing. With a bit of mucking about I could pull these files off onto the C: drive, but the external drive seems to stall when doing this 9making the operation less than practical)
    Any ideas?

    If someone would walk me through running a disk checker upon start up that would be fantablous. I'm running vista upgraded from XP (does this make any difference?)
     
  2. gavilan

    gavilan TS Rookie Posts: 136

    Sounds like your drive has a bad sector or two. Let scandisk run; when it stalls it means it is hitting a bad sector, so it will go a lot slower, but when it finally finishes the bad sectors will be marked on the disk eliminating the stalling problem. Once this is complete, copy all of the data off of the drive so that you have a backup in case the drive fails later on down the road. Sometimes the drive will continue to run without any further issues for a long time, but if it starts getting bad sectors soon after, then it's probably on its way out.
     
  3. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It does not seem to want to get past the bad sector. The machine has been left on overnight and progressed no furthur.
    What is causeing the two windows to pop up? These seem to get in each others way?
     
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    Jagged112,
    take that external drive over to another non-Vista computer or to a friends house and see if you can run Checkdisk (not scandisk) on it. If it still fails to complete the check, replace the drive
     
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    COPY EVERYTHING YOU CAN!!!!


    Now. THEN play around with the chkdsk etc.




    :)
     
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    Good advise CCT :grinthumb
     
  7. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It throws hissy fits when copying etc. Even moving files around on the disk is difficult
     
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    Replace the drive...
     
  9. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Replacing the drive would be a pain.
    Have almost shifted all the needed information off it. Going to let disk check run over night and see what happens.
     
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    Once you get the data off, try doing an all Zero's write on the drive. You can get the writing utility from the drive manufacturer's website
     
  11. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Will that leave the drive usable? Or just an expensive paper weight?
     
     
  12. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    Run chkdsk /f /r until it finishes or hangs.

    If it hangs, try the zero-fill.

    If the external is capable of disassembly, the enclosure 'might' be reused for another drive.
     
  13. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    eh? not sure i follow
     
  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    After doing the "zero fill" or all 0's write, you will do a standard format. If no errors are detected during the format you can know that the drive is ok and you can use it normally. If errors are still detected or the zero fill fails the drive is bad and it will have to be replaced
     
  15. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    have zero filled the hard drive. It is now longer being recognised as such. Comes up as a USB mass storage device under "devices and drivers" but is not getting a letter assigned.
     
  16. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    Right-click on My Computer, select Manage, Disk Management and select the the USB device from the list. Right-click on it and select Format
     
  17. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 6,504   +6

    You could have recovered the data from this drive with a lot less hassle (and a far greater chance of success) with Spinrite.

    http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

    It could likely recover your data in this case. Its probably just throwing the hissy fit at a single bad sector. Spinrite will find and repair this.
     
  18. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cheers

    Seems to have worked
    Running scan disk again to check for bad sectors
     
  19. Jagged112

    Jagged112 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Still seems to have a damaged sector on it.
    Anything more I can do or is it to the bin with it?
     
  20. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 9,431

    When you run chkdsk and tell it to scan for bad sectors, it also marks these sectors as bad in the filesystem, so after the scan these sectors will no longer be used and everything should be OK. That is unless these "bad sectors" are mutiplying or intermittent..
     
  21. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,929   +167

    "That is unless these "bad sectors" are mutiplying or intermittent.."

    If this is the case, then to the bin with the drive!
     
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