can a bad USB enclosure kill a hard drive?

By honestbleeps ยท 6 replies
Jun 22, 2005
  1. I've had 2 different 160gb drives go bad within the same USB2.0 enclosure now (made by ADS technologies) - and each time it happened, it was connected to a DIFFERENT computer (once my laptop, once one of my desktops)... Both were formatted NTFS, and both computers are XP, if that matters...

    The two drives are even of different brands (one WD, one Hitachi.. yeah yeah, deathstar)...

    What happens is all of a sudden the drive no longer appears, and using OnTrack EasyRecovery I can get most of the data back -- looks like the partition is getting corrupted.

    The scary thing is -- both drives have made some rather loud clicking noises (not constantly, but sometimes a single loud click, or maybe two) that really make me uncomfortable.. hard drives just don't normally do that...

    Is it possible that the USB enclosure is the cause of this - or is it more likely that I'm the unlucky recipient of two consecutive bad hard drives?

    I'm not sure if the loud clicking sounds could be a result of the USB enclosure sending bad instructions and making the hardware go haywire, or what...

    Any help would be appreciated.. if you think a new enclosure will solve my problems - does anyone have any recommendations?

    Also -- should I be uncomfortable using both of these drives now that the original enclosure has corrupted each of them once? They're both well within warranty...
  2. pangea33

    pangea33 TS Rookie

    If the external case power supply were to cut out for a very brief moment, it would be akin to unplugging the main power cord to your PC. If the drive is reading or writing data this could result in undesired contact with the platter.

    A desktop PC at my office was unplugged without powering down. After that it wouldn't restart. We eventually removed the drive and the thing sounded like an Etch a Sketch when tilted.

    Is it possible something like this happened to you?
  3. honestbleeps

    honestbleeps TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I suppose it's remotely possible -- but highly unlikely to have happened twice...

    On the flip side -- if the power supply is flaky and perhaps shorting somehow for a brief second, maybe that's the problem?

    When the second drive went bad - I had left it FTPing some stuff from another of my home computers to the USB drive. I came back and the comp no longer recognized the drive -- so I really don't think that the power could have come unplugged etc.. who knows though..
  4. pangea33

    pangea33 TS Rookie

    Right, I didn't mean that you unknowingly unplugged the ps :)

    I was talking about a ps failure
  5. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    the heads of any hard drive are at a fixed distance from the platters, and no sudden loss of power can change that.

    hearing any unusual sounds from a harddrive (generally described as clicking, grinding, sometimes repetitive) is a telltale sign of drive failure.
  6. pangea33

    pangea33 TS Rookie

    I am not an expert by any means, so I am not trying to argue with you here.

    How would unplugging the box have destroyed the drive in my computer at work then? My comment was based on what the support guy at work told me.

    Also, if there is no contact, what is the need of parking a drive? Even though its an automatic process nowadays.
  7. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    parking the head refers to the process of bringing it past the edge of the disc. by design, the head and arm stay in this position should the drive be picked up or moved. otherwise, the heads would be bouncing around every time someone moved the drive, which would cause unnessesary wear and tear. in really old drives (we're talking st-405+501's and esdi here) the head needed to be in a parked position to 'find' the platter again when power was restored. with today's ide technology (integrated device electronics), the hard drives had thier own hardware to handle things, unlike the prevously mentioned technologies which relied on the controller for everything.
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