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I think My 1TB WD external HD went "bye bye"!

By Zen ยท 15 replies
Apr 28, 2012
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  1. Well after close to 5 years worth of use, I think my Western Digital external 1TB hard drive went "bye bye"! I'm not really pissing and moaning about this, I have no reason to gripe, the drive has served me very well for again, close to 5 years.

    I'd be dishonest if I said that I knew why it checked out. This is just weird, for all day today while my computer has been on, not one problem, not one hick up, not one fart, no nothing......but a fully working external drive. Now within these past several hours, the drive drops off my Windows XP radar and can not be detected.

    I've tried all sorts of "quick fixes", but none have worked. Unplugging the firewire cable for a minute and plugging it back in to see if Windows detects the drive, nope. Unplugging the power adapter from it's socket, letting it sit for up to 5 minutes and plugging it back into power, nope. Tried going into the "control panel" and went into "add hardware" as to see if the system at least detected enough to consider it new hardware, nope. Through MS-DOS I manually disengaged the Windows XP firewire bus control, waited for a couple minutes and through DOS reactivated the Windows XP firewire controller, nope. Restarted my computer, went into BIOS and made sure all my setting were normal, making sure they were as last I left them, they were. I hate doing things this way, mainly out of ego, but I tried taking the cheap and quick way out here by going into "system restore" and having Windows XP go a couple days back, as to when the external hard drive was working perfectly, nope. I messed around with the indented or sunken in black power button behind the drive, as to try and either reset it or power cycle it, nope, nothing.

    I can tell the drive is trying it's best to come back to life. For when it gets plugged back into power, the drive makes it normal start up sounds, I can hear the rocker arm in there moving about. Other than sound with this drive is vision! The normal white colored bar thing, in front of the drive, the light that goes up and down to express hard drive activity and also let you know the drive is on, that white colored light is not there, the front of the drive is dark, no light. Some of the ideas I did earlier were secured right here on the TechSpot forums, I searched for other who have gone through this, tried some things I saw, but no dice.

    It's rare folks, but Zen it dumb founded, I don't know what more I can do here, other than put the drive, en-closer and all in the freezer, for someone around here in another area was saying something about drives and freezers? If anyone here has any idea as to what I can do next, I would sure be thankful for the recommendation, suggestion or advise.

    But do note - This drive contains a butt load of video files, namely purchased video files off of iTunes, the complete box set, season 1 to season 7 of Star Trek Voyager. The complete box set of Star Trek Enterprise, the first and only season of the 2008 remake of the Bionic Woman on NBC and the last thing purchased was the entire 2008 to 2009 NBC re-make of Night Rider. You wouldn't by tell say that those are now permanently lost would you? That was a lot of money! :D
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,205   +4,867

    It may not be the hard drive. Sounds to me like the drives USB controller went out. If you can get the drive out of the external case and directly connect it to your PC, there is a chance the drive will still work. If you find that the drive still works, you could then purchase a new external case for the drive.
  3. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    So is this "busting the hard drive out of it's case" thing hard to do? Never had to bust open a external hard drive case before. I've heard from some of my other friends, who like me are computer technicians, most of them report that the Western Digital My Book external hard drive is one of the hardest to crack open, never to say to re-use once the case has been cracked. I've tried to so some research about the drive, but a funny thing I've found, there is almost not a lick of information on any search engine I've found about what type of drive is inside this thing in the first place. Some say an advanced version of an I.D.E. drive! Some say it's a SATA (version 1 ) drive, some say it's an advanced version of a SATA II drive. If it's a first generation SATA drive, than maybe I'd have a chance, for my old Dell Dimension 5100c that I'm currently using has room for two SATA drives, the first generation type, for it would have to be first generation, seeing my computer was built back in 2005.

    Maybe I'll try one more "quick fix", maybe I will try to locate the external hard drives USB cable that came with it, I think I just threw that into my old card board box of junk PC parts and such. I think I threw it in there about 2-3 years ago, after purchasing a new firewire 800 cable, for I wanted the faster data exchange, and USB 2.0 just wasn't cutting it, to much bottle necking through the cable. So I may try to find the cable, and see if it's just with the firewire side of the drive, maybe the USB 2.0 side of the drive will work. If not, than maybe I'm going to have to sit down at my work station, bust out my latop computer and look up some spec's on this drive and follow some sort of instructions with opening it up!
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    I'd take it out of the enclosure, without any intent of ever putting it back in. Try it as an internal drive on a desktop PC. If that works, I would immediately (as in before doing any diagnostics) start pulling off data. Once you've got the most important stuff off, then use something like SeaTools on the drive and see if it is really a drive problem or an enclosure problem.

    If it was just an enclosure problem, and you didn't want to keep the drive in your desktop. I'd suggest investing in a USB/eSATA docking station for the drive. I've had one for a couple years now and found it to be an invaluable tool for the small amount of PC Repair I do for people, and I've used it to troubleshoot an external enclosure of mine too.
  5. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    Well I got the sucker out of it's enclosure, plugged it into my computer, via the aux. SATA hook up, and what do you know, the drive has indeed gone "bye bye"! When hooked directly to the computer, I could hear it try and spool up and then started the God awe full metallic metal on metal clicking sounds. When the clicking slowed a bit, I guess the engine got one last command, and that was to spin or spool out of control, the ticking sounds, within seconds turned into a broken metal sounds inside the drive. And now it won't even spool, spin, nothing, it's dead. Oh well, it lasted close to 5 years, I got my money's worth out of it. Thanks SNGX and clifford for your help here, now I just need to save up some cash, drive to Fry's and buy a new one!
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,205   +4,867

    Sorry to hear it was the drive that died. :(
    I was hoping it was the ext case at fault.
  7. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    Yeah, I was kind of hoping that it was just the enclosure and not the drive itself. The only thing that really sucks about this, is all that iTunes money that has now been wasted. The Voyager set alone set me back approx. $120.00, needles to mention the cost of the Star Trek Enterprise set. I'm going to try and research if there might be a way, once proven ownership of the downloaded iTunes material is proven, if they offer some sort of recovery services and allow the download of the already purchased materials. I'm to tired right now to do this, plus I'm a little frizzled by the events with this now dead drive. I'll approach this iTunes thing tomorrow.

    But I've learned one thing, it always isn't a sure shot to just use an external drive to put my materials on. I think I might invest in two external drives, one always connected for my normal "day to day" use, and another tucked away some where, never connected, but only in times of backing up what I download off iTunes.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    I think you can get the iTunes stuff back. iTunes has a check for purchased content option.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,205   +4,867

    I was wondering if iTunes allowed for future downloading of purchased content.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    I think it does. Did you try it?
  11. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    Yup, I looked into this and if I'm reading this right, iTunes recovery server says I've got 15.3 hours remaining on my all my purchased content! I guess their recovery servers don't shot things as quick as their regular servers. For when I buy something and that download starts right away, I'm getting like 1.2 to 3.0 MB's speed, but right now I'm trucking along in between 350K to 425K speeds. Before the download is complete, today I'm planning to go to Fry's and buy 2 external hard drives, one for everyday use, the other stashed away and only comes out to back up purchased content.
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Well, good! Yeh, if I had the money I'd buy a 2.5TB drive (or 2 actually) to backup a lot of my media. I just don't have $250 to spend on that right now (hopefully in a couple years we can look back on this post and laugh at how expensive HD space was).
  13. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    Since my old external drive was only 1TB in size, and that served me very well, I think I'm going to stick to that size! Fry's Electronics here in town is holding two matching Hitachi 1TB XL Series external hard drives for me. This is what I'll have within the next couple hours or so.....

    The Hitachi 1TB XL External Hard Drive

    Not a bad deal, $89.99 each, plus tax!

    So one for everyday and one to back up and put away!
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    Yeh, good. I wasn't trying to sell you on a 2.5 TB drive. I was only saying if I had money to buy one I would, sadly I'm poor.

    I have a ton of data though, and I'd hate to lose it, so I only have my very most important stuff backed up. The rest I can lose if it came to it, but I'd prefer not to :)
  15. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 765   +49

    No big deal at all, I knew you were just advertising what you want and need, I knew you weren't trying to pawn 2.5TB sized drives on me! Oh yeah, by the way, I'm home, and I got two new little friends that are dying to get hooked up and going! ;)
  16. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 314

    If your data is valuable I would not let price govern my decision on what brand of hard drive to buy.. Since they are all electro/mechanical they all WILL fail, its just a matter of when. Even SSD's fail as do all storage mediums. Even though the drive that failed was a WD, I still trust that brand the most over all other manufacturers. This is from experience. I've seen some WD's go for 10 years or more. Rarely if ever have I seen Seagate, Samsungs, Maxtors (except SCSI) or whatever last too much longer than 5 years and really more in the range of 3 years typically.

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