TechSpot

For Geniuses – Strange Problem

By reflect
Jan 22, 2007
Topic Status:
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  1. I’ve got 2 USB hard-drives and 1 Firewire HD.

    USB 300GB
    USB 250GB
    FIREWIRE 160GB

    They are all MAXTOR and all in various external enclosures.

    Here’s the problem. I plug the drive in, and turn it on (this happens for BOTH USB AND FIREWIRE)

    Windows recognizes the drive. It takes a little bit, but eventually it pops up.

    It loads the data…

    I open Explorer and access the drive – no problem.

    I copy files from any of the 3 hard-drives to my main computer.

    The copy starts, it transfers a few files (which seems to be random) then hangs up. The transfer light on the hard-drive enclosure stays on, but it remains stuck on one file. The internal HD in my computer is silent, no activity.

    So I thought, OK, problem with my computer, right?

    Wrong….I used a Dell at work with XP Pro, no good. I used a laptop at home with XP Pro, no good. And I tried this on an older computer with XP Home, no good. All 3 drives hang during the transfer. I’ve never had any problems before.

    I tried to pull off the data on one using a software recovery program, it hangs the drive. Then my computer freezes and I have to reboot.

    I enter windows, everything seems fine, then I try again….boom same problem. Any guesses?
  2. foozy

    foozy Newcomer, in training Posts: 267

    There's your problem.

    Try reformatting them? Does it copy ANY files at all?
  3. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    yes, it will start to copy files, it gets to a random point every time, sometimes 35 megs, sometimes 16, it varies....but some files come across

    is it possible that my other computer zapped the drives? This is all I can figure, becuase they worked before I hooked them up to my main computer. Once there, the drive seems to start up fine, then it CLICKS once and then the problems begin. This has happened to all 3 drives on both firewire and USB...does windows imprint any info on the drive when it first detects the drive?

    I find it hard to believe that the USB port it zapping the drive because the firewire port had the same problem, and the internal drive works just fine on all 3 computers...

    And I have valuable data on the drives so I don't want to format.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    If by clicks you mean normal data transfer noise (or the noise you get when it spins up) thats ok, if you mean clicks by an actual loud click then you have the odd concidence of all 3 drives failing. Or some really bad external enclosures that maybe somehow are causing the drive to behave oddly.

    Test the drives by themselves, pull them out of the USB/Firewire enclosures and put them in your computer. An external drive is nothing more than an internal in an external enclosure. If the drives work fine in your computer nothing is wrong with them and the problem gets a bit more complex. If they don't, you'll need to download a drive diagnostic tool (powermax?) to test the drives.
  5. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    I took out one of the HDs and put it in the system. Only one of the drives is actually clicking now, th 160GB one.

    The 300GB one I pulled out of the external drive and put it in the computer. The computer won't boot into windows, but I can access BIOS. What can I do from there?

    All 3 USB enclosures are different brands as well, so I don't think it's those, not to mention I've used them with various drives before. It seems like the system I'm pluggin the drive into is actually killing the drive somehow...but no one seems to think this is possible, but it certainly sounds logical, unless all 3 drives did indeed die at the same time, and my computer happened to crash just before all 3 died....Which sounds less likely...
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    Make sure your jumper settings are correct and your BIOS is set to boot off the correct drive.

    Your USB isn't killing them if its happening with Firewire as well. Its also not powering the drives, all its doing is providing enough power for the data transfer to happen over the cable, the external power supply is what is powering the drive. I'd get a diagnostic tool and run on that drive you put in your computer. Here is a downloadable ISO for PowerMax which will test your drive.

    Its not a hardware issue on the computer end since you tried 3 different computers. That leaves the physical hard drive, the circuitry in the enclosure, or the USB/Firewire cable.

    Do you have any added common software to all 3 computers that interfaces with external drives?
  7. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Well, just Windows XP, but I've used Pro and Home with no difference. One comp doesn't have Service pack 2, but the other does, so that was different, but still the same problem on both systems


    Is it possible that I can't copy mass files as once? I haven't tried just copying 1 file at a time...not that this should matter, but is there anything that would prevent it from doing mass copies?


    btw, I will get that diagnostic tool and run it with the drive installed. I have to go home first and get it set up. Thanks for the info though, hope it works.
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,623   +82

    Are you still online, I can help have 3 of these so called drives and they are Maxtor. I've notice that you can only hook up 2 max. Eventhough they have their own power still two. The 3 one doesn't show up. How many PCs you got on your network you could share one of these drives out to one of those then pull in the data over the network. That's what I do to save different images of my systems from laptop to desktop over the network using Acronos Image. Ghost Walker can do that same.

    Also note if you here a knocking or metlic sound from the drive it's going bad. I would clone that drive to another HDD right away before you loose the data.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    Is there any of this clicking going on while Windows is trying to boot? At what point during the boot up process does it hang?

    Yes try the diagnostic tool, its really the only way we can eliminate the drive itself being bad.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,623   +82

    Really shouldn't have those drive hookup while booting up the PC as the system would go to external source and by-pass the HD.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    What are you talking about tipstir? He can't get it to boot into Windows when its hooked up internally. EVEN if he had them hooked up by USB/Firewire and on when he turned the system on no system defaults to booting off an external device unless manually set that way, it will always look for internal options first.
     
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,623   +82

    I just know on DELLs at work or thumb drives if hooked up won't boot system you just get a blank black screen. That's what I am talking about with these USB drives. Yeah you can have them to back-up or restore data like we do here using Maxtor 200GB drive. Then force them to bootup to USB/DVD or Onboard NiC using the F12 key.
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,758   +157

    Move all the useful data off one external at a time, and format each Western Digital external using Windows XP's FORMAT command. Forget about copying the Western Digital utilities and autorun crap, it's not necessary. If you want the utilities, download the latest from WD's site... Don't argue with this! It will make your Externals run like they were designed to work
  14. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    Are you in the right thread?
  16. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,758   +157

    I can't believe all the drives are bad... Do you? This is the right thread if reflect can just format one of those Maxtors... Sorry about the Western Digital comment. The hard drive brand really doesn't matter. The drives may all be corrupt, but they can't all be bad
  17. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Could my main computer be corrupting the drives when it accesses it? They worked before. I'm doing the diagnostics tonight. I don't want to format, just incase one of them fails, if they're starting to go bad or what. There has to be a way to retrieve the data first
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    Nope. I don't think they are all bad, I think if one clicked abnormally that it might be, I didn't hear the click so I can't say for sure, I'm asking him to check that with diagnostic tools though. I know the drive brand doesn't matter for this issue, but you said western digital more than once and he said maxtor earlier, so I asked. You also bolded your whole comment like you were the final authority. Also with your western digital comment you mentioned autorun crap, nobody ever mentioned autorun crap, and its apparent that these weren't store bought WD (or any other brand) factory made externals, seems to me like these are external enclosures that he put hard drives he bought at different times in them (because he mentioned having other drives in them in the past), so there would be no branded autorun software on these drives at all.

    They could be corrupt, but if you format he loses the data, and he can't get to the drives right now, so I was earlier asking about the cables and asked him to put the drives inside the comp to take care of that issue. At that point he's only removed 1 drive and is going to go with that one now, so thats why I'm pushing the diagnostic check now, because for the time being we are dealing with 1 drive.
  19. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,758   +157

    Yes SNGX1275,
    I have a Western Digital store bought external 250GB right here. I guess that I was just preoccupied with getting it reading and writing properly
  20. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    I ran the maxtor diagnostic tool as requested, and got some wonderfully bad news....

    all 3 drives gave me the "warning this drive has errors during the drive recal test....

    "This drive is failing and must be replaced." on all 3 drives

    I called Maxtor with the diag. code and the drive all needs to be replaced....

    I can't afford the $ to get data recovery off of the drive...and of course their warrenty doesn't cover it.

    What's next? And is my main computer causing this issue? I'm scared to hook up another drive. What say you?
  21. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,494   +292

    Man sorry to hear that. Do you treat these things bad? Move them a lot when they are spinning?

    Well regardless to your answers to that, there are some ways you can attempt to get data off the drives, but I don't have much knowledge. Perhaps one of the other guys in this thread can give you some advice on that. I'd suggest a forum search on data recovery in the meantime, I know there are tons of threads involving that subject.

    I agree this is pretty odd (like I said in my first post) that all 3 would go bad, but it shouldn't have anything to do with your computer, the only link is a usb/firewire cable. It may be possible you are getting bad power to your drives from their power supplies, but I don't think there is any way you can blame a computer for the failures.
  22. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,758   +157

    I agree SNGX1275,
    this is just too wierd... 3 Maxtor drives bad. What are the odds??? All the possible tests have been done. Are all the drives the same capacity or model?
  23. reflect

    reflect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 21

    lol, no I keep them as still as possible. I haven't even touched one of the drives before two days ago. It's the wierdest thing I've EVER encountered. I should be getting a new drive in tomorrow. If this one f's up when I plug it in, I'm going to go nuts....
  24. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 Newcomer, in training Posts: 574

    Try running an xcopy through a cmd shell.
    Something like this (below); it will not stop even if errors exist.

    The >C:\copyresults.txt is a piped text file from the copy so you can see what it got and what it missed. Replace the drive letters and paths as needed.

    xcopy E:\*.* F:\Files-from-E-Drive /h /i /s /c /e /r /k /y >C:\Copyresults.txt

    Make sure the folder exists on the drive you are copying to (eg: Files-From-E-Drive).

    Let us know how you go :grinthumb
  25. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Even on the Maxtor, it is fairly simple (if you have a good fourth drive) to install the maxtors, one at a time, as slave drives, then drag and drop all the data to the good drive.
    It is also easy to use data recovery programs to copy the data on the bad Maxtor to the good drive...
    Be advised that you must not turn off the Maxtor until all data is transferred, because you do not know when it will never work again.
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