External USB drive recovery, Diskwarrior -- disk failure?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by theman, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    I'm running 10.5.8 on a 2007 MBP. I have been using a 500GB external USB drive for TM backups and storage of large files like movies for a couple years now. Suddenly today when I plugged it in, I kept getting beachballs and apps were freezing (which hardly ever happens), and so I decided to restart. Upon restart, the volume on my external drive does not show up in Finder. The drive showed up in disk utility but it was listed as unformatted...

    I decided to log into the root account. Still not showing up in Finder, but in disk utility, the volume shows up below the drive, but is grayed out. When I try to mount or eject the drive it beachballs for a few seconds and then says "the volume failed to mount/eject".

    So after doing tons of googling, I decided to run Diskwarrior to see if I could even recover any data from the drive. I ran disk warrior, which didn't take especially long. However, it is telling me that "the disk is too severely damaged" and that it can't replace the volume. I can view the preview of the recovered volume however, and it appears as though everything is there. I'm trying to find a harddrive to borrow that I can copy everything onto.

    So is it really a hardware malfunction? I googled around and some people are saying Diskwarrior 4 erroneously throws that error even if the drive itself is not physically malfunctioning. Do I need a new drive? Or could this somehow be a software issue?

    First thing I'm going to try to transfer all my files to another drive, then maybe format mine -- but should I trust it to hold my data anymore?
  2. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    It may not be failing, or it may be. That error doesn't necessarily mean a hardware failure, just a severely damaged file system/directory. If you can afford it, it wouldn't hurt to replace the drive, but you can certainly try erasing the drive and reloading the data once you get it backed up. I would recommend zeroing the drive, as that will help you determine if there are any bad sectors or blocks.

  3. theman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    I suppose that's true. At this point, I think I'll just buy another drive, that way I can at least have a backup drive since I have data that only exist on a single external drive which is just asking for trouble. Once I get things copied I'll use disk utility to zero the drive .

    Another question, will my TM data still be usable if I copy it over to another drive, or will I have to start over with backups?

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