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T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 5, 2001
5,850
6,206
Denmark
I have an external harddrive, which has been sitting underneath my Mac Mini, and I assume it didn't like the latter running Handbrake encodings for hours on end, because it has started failing a few months after I started doing that.

After trying to rescue files from it with Disk Drill (Which reported plenty of bad sectors), I finally gave up and reformatted it without problems using Disk Utility. It then shows up in Finder, but right away Disk Drill reports that it has lost its HFS+ partition, and trying to search for it is unsuccessful. I tried copy a 4GB file to the drive in Finder, and while it said 'preparing to copy' for about a minute, it appeared to successfully transfer. Opening the file after also worked, although it was really slow to open.

I've attached an overview of the bad sectors reported by Disk Drill, and it doesn't look too bad, as I know drives can have bad sectors from the start. I am wondering if the bad sector right at the beginning is the reason that the HFS+ catalog appear to be problematic?

So my question is this: Chuck it because I should expect it to fail again shortly, or is it 'okay' that it is just slow and I should expect it to work in the future?
 

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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
24,692
9,924
Erase and test it again.
Still getting bad sectors?
If so... probably time for a replacement.
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 5, 2001
5,850
6,206
Denmark
Thanks, also what I was thinking. Did another format, and that didn't change anything. It is working, but veeeery slowly.
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 68020
Feb 22, 2015
2,145
585
Erase would need to be 7 passes or more to map out bad/weak sectors. A quick erase does not.
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 68020
Feb 22, 2015
2,145
585
I would reserve your hdd for an extra rarely used backup. The Samsung T7 SSD might be on sale. Quiet, fast 900MB/sec is not shabby.
 
I would reserve your hdd for an extra rarely used backup. The Samsung T7 SSD might be on sale. Quiet, fast 900MB/sec is not shabby.
I recently purchased a Samsung T7 1 TB External SSD for $139 from Newegg:


Right now, the 500 gig version of that SSD is on sale for $79.99 (suspect connected with Black Friday, so this might be the last day):


And yes, it is quiet and fast (at least via the USB-C connection).
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
Does Disk Drill show bad factory sectors? To my understanding, some apps do NOT show bad factory sectors.

Do you know the reallocated sector count? Do you have any additional drive data? You can try doing a secure erase and then testing, but that isn't a drive I would personally trust, and you can get a 3 TB HDD nowadays for like 80 bucks.

Additionally, when you say it was sitting under your Mac Mini, was the Mac Mini sat on top of the HDD's enclosure? If so, that combined heat can be a cause for concern--any SMART data on temp exposure? Additionally, HGST was absorbed by WD a while ago - how old is the drive? 5-7 years?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 5, 2001
5,850
6,206
Denmark
Thank you for the SSD suggestions, but I don't need speed, I need space. I just mention speed issues, because it is working abhorrently slow, compared to how a normal HDD should behave. It is a 3TB drive, and I will swap it for a 12TB drive, if I decide it can't be salvaged.

Does Disk Drill show bad factory sectors? To my understanding, some apps do NOT show bad factory sectors.
Disk Drill simply shows bad sectors, and doesn't report their origin.

Do you know the reallocated sector count? Do you have any additional drive data? You can try doing a secure erase and then testing, but that isn't a drive I would personally trust, and you can get a 3 TB HDD nowadays for like 80 bucks.
No. And what do you think of, when you mention additional drive data?

I will do a secure erase, and see if it works, and then test it out. My guts is also saying chuck it, but if it can be used as a backup drive and only be written to less than once a year, then it would be fine.

Additionally, when you say it was sitting under your Mac Mini, was the Mac Mini sat on top of the HDD's enclosure? If so, that combined heat can be a cause for concern--any SMART data on temp exposure? Additionally, HGST was absorbed by WD a while ago - how old is the drive? 5-7 years?
It was actually positioned underneath. It is a NewerTech 3TB miniStack Quad Interface External Hard Drive, which was announced back in 2007, so it sure is old. But it has the exact same size dimensions as the Mac Mini, and was also advertised as being stackable, so I've been using it as such. I can't remember when I bought it, but 10 years ago is not unlikely. I've been using it as a media drive for my Plex server, so limited write/read usage though.

No temperature data.

ministack-desktop.jpg
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 5, 2001
5,850
6,206
Denmark
Update: So I tried doing a secure erase using Disk Utility, but alas, the application can't even make the disk passive.

f6c.jpg
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
No. And what do you think of, when you mention additional drive data?

If you are ever totally and completely bored, even though you've already found it bad, this app might be of interest - there is a free trial and, provided the enclosure supports it, you can pull a lot of drive data (same as Windows' CrystalDiskInfo but with a much nicer UI). My guess is you would probably see some reallocated sectors.
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 5, 2001
5,850
6,206
Denmark
If you are ever totally and completely bored, even though you've already found it bad, this app might be of interest - there is a free trial and, provided the enclosure supports it, you can pull a lot of drive data (same as Windows' CrystalDiskInfo but with a much nicer UI). My guess is you would probably see some reallocated sectors.
I am never bored, but I am always looking for things to procrastinate with!

DriveDX couldn't even do a short drive test, due to a read failure on the drive... And overall it doesn't look good. I think the reallocated sector count shows that it really is dead. But great app, thanks for suggesting it!

Also, it appears the original HDD that came with my 2011 iMac is on its last legs, so I better back that up too. Just to be safe! Even the SSD I added is starting to dwindle in health, but everything on that is also synchronised in iCloud, so I am not afraid of that one (Love iCloud Drive!).
Skærmbillede 2020-12-02 kl. 12.38.51.png
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
I am never bored, but I am always looking for things to procrastinate with!

DriveDX couldn't even do a short drive test, due to a read failure on the drive... And overall it doesn't look good. I think the reallocated sector count shows that it really is dead. But great app, thanks for suggesting it!

Also, it appears the original HDD that came with my 2011 iMac is on its last legs, so I better back that up too. Just to be safe! Even the SSD I added is starting to dwindle in health, but everything on that is also synchronised in iCloud, so I am not afraid of that one (Love iCloud Drive!).
View attachment 1685004

Oh yeah...that thing is nuked. I had a feeling you would see a high reallocated sector count. Between that, the high heat, and the 7.5 year power on time, it's time to send that one to the pasture. I love DriveDX - it's such a great UI and it has consistently been able to predict drive failures for me as well as warn me when a drive is overheating.
 
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babushka

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2020
4
0
Please help! An APFS external hdd (WD My Passprt) partition table disappeared, so MAC (Mojave) disk manager cannot see it. Windows Paragon shows unallocated partition. It is full of data that I must get back by all means. I tried several datarecovery apps for Mac but they cannot see this hdd, so there is nothing to access. Is it possible to repair or rebuild somehow the damaged partition table? If so, will I get back all the data? I am totally upset. (Sorry for my English.)
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 68020
Feb 22, 2015
2,145
585
TimeMachine wasn't being used? Never used a good backup program to clone / mirror synch changes... Doing a sector / byte copy - using a $400 ish disk to disk device.

You probably want a couple disks drives to play with and to have redundant copies going forward: daily and weekly, plus TimeMachine.

List what you did try using. I'm not up on the state of recovery utilities with APFS, though you probably have more with Mojave than Big Sur.
 

satcomer

Suspended
Feb 19, 2008
8,592
1,787
The Finger Lakes Region
Please help! An APFS external hdd (WD My Passprt) partition table disappeared, so MAC (Mojave) disk manager cannot see it. Windows Paragon shows unallocated partition. It is full of data that I must get back by all means. I tried several datarecovery apps for Mac but they cannot see this hdd, so there is nothing to access. Is it possible to repair or rebuild somehow the damaged partition table? If so, will I get back all the data? I am totally upset. (Sorry for my English.)
Sounds as if the drive went south without you! :;)

hHopefully you open it up and put a 5400 NAS drive into it if you drive to last long because the 5400 drives are built better, that’s why they can be more expensive because they tend to last many years!

Hopefully you can open the external and get to drive to replace it! I say this if Windows also sees it down it’s the disk or the cable, my bet it the cheap disk in that external!
 

babushka

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2020
4
0
I am using Time Machine with my Mac. This external hdd is nit mine. A Macbook user user friend asked me to copy some movies to it. I plugged it to my Mac, copied the asked things, rejected normally, unplugged, gave it back, but her mac did not mount it. Since then my mac did not recognize either. The blue light on the ext hdd is on, the windows sentinel says that it is healthy
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
I am using Time Machine with my Mac. This external hdd is nit mine. A Macbook user user friend asked me to copy some movies to it. I plugged it to my Mac, copied the asked things, rejected normally, unplugged, gave it back, but her mac did not mount it. Since then my mac did not recognize either. The blue light on the ext hdd is on, the windows sentinel says that it is healthy

I recommend trying to get drive health statistics with the program I previously mentioned. If it confirms the drive has physically failed and you absolutely must have that data, I would considering data recovery services.

The app will let you know if the drive is failing/has failed, but you can also post the health statistics here and we can give you a better rundown of what might be going on. If this app says the drive is healthy, then there is a reasonable chance you are dealing with corruption and not physical failure.
 

babushka

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2020
4
0
I recommend trying to get drive health statistics with the program I previously mentioned. If it confirms the drive has physically failed and you absolutely must have that data, I would considering data recovery services.

The app will let you know if the drive is failing/has failed, but you can also post the health statistics here and we can give you a better rundown of what might be going on. If this app says the drive is healthy, then there is a reasonable chance you are dealing with corruption and not physical failure.
Thank you for your answer. The external hdd cannot be seen at all in the list of this program.(neither in mac diskutil, not even "diskutil list" in Terminal, although the system information/hardware/usb shows that it is attached. That is all. I don't know what to do.
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
Thank you for your answer. The external hdd cannot be seen at all in the list of this program.(neither in mac diskutil, not even "diskutil list" in Terminal, although the system information/hardware/usb shows that it is attached. That is all. I don't know what to do.

That is not encouraging. What does the System Information show? When you plug the drive in, can you feel the drive spinning up? (I'm assuming you have already tried a different cable and listened closely for any clicking sounds.)
 

babushka

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2020
4
0
That is not encouraging. What does the System Information show? When you plug the drive in, can you feel the drive spinning up? (I'm assuming you have already tried a different cable and listened closely for any clicking sounds.)
Yes, the hdd seems working normally. I do not think, that it is a hardware problem. Instead, the partition table went wrong, disappeared in a mysterious way. Win Paragon and linux partition manager see it, but shows only unallocated space.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
24,692
9,924
babushka wrote:
"Please help! An APFS external hdd (WD My Passprt) partition table disappeared, so MAC (Mojave) disk manager cannot see it. Windows Paragon shows unallocated partition. It is full of data that I must get back by all means. I tried several datarecovery apps for Mac but they cannot see this hdd, so there is nothing to access"

Folks, HERE'S WHY I always, always recommend HFS+ instead of APFS for external data drives.
If something goes wrong, it might still be possible to use 3rd-party drive repair and recovery tools to "get at" the munged-up data.

But with APFS???
Much more difficult!
If you can get to it at all...
 
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IowaLynn

macrumors 68020
Feb 22, 2015
2,145
585
Where all the systems that touched this ext. drive at least on Mac, running same version?

You copied video files - I would have opted for one of my many SDXC 256GB cards. And it is the other party's responsibility to provide a spare drive, not their only copy of data.

APFS partition tables are not the same today and with 11.01 Big Sur as even six months ago let alone earlier in 10.14
Seems i can format in Big Sur and then use and format in latest Windows 10.

Not to forget cables and controllers play a role with drives.
 
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Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
890
235
Hi IowaLynn and Fishrrman et al,


Get my 1st mac in a week, looking forward to it.
However, I’m getting a bit of headache about sorting out backups though ?


Is this APFS formatting still new tech, and best left alone until 3rd party apps etc. And hard ware set ups catch up etc?


Seeing as I’m coming into macs a total newbie, it would be good to embrace the newest storage standards, for a clean uniform landscape. Situations like this thread do kinda concern me though. It is sods law that stuff breaks at the worse possible moments.



Hope you can advise

Regards
Martin
 
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