Help!!! External hard drive failure bonanza!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cmcbridejr, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #1
    I've got a 2008 iMac running the latest version of Leopard with several external hard drives connected. The hard drives are all older than two years, so are out of warranty, but none are older than six years.

    I use a 500GB WD to store Movies for iTunes and a 500GB Lacie to backup those movies. Since I have so many movies, those drives are nearly full and I know that I will upgrade to 1TB soon. However, the WD just suddenly started having problems, which I am guessing may have occured due to a power outage a few weeks back during a storm.

    Anyway, when I turn on the WD, it mounts on the desktop and shows that about 65GB is still free. However, when I click on the drive icon to view the contents, nothing shows. Disk Utility will not repair because it says it will not unmount, though the drive is showing up in the app and on the desktop. The WD feels like it is constantly being accessed, as it just continues to vibrate when powering on. No big deal since I have a backup on the Lacie.

    So, I power up the Lacie (which is an older drive) and it takes nearly 15 minutes to show up on the desktop, all while the blue light flashes repeatedly and I can hear a loud click two times every other minute. Uh, oh! When the drive finally mounts, it is acting very slow and I keep getting the spinning beach ball, even though it is connected via FW800.

    So, I boot into DiskWarrior to repair the drives. The Lacie takes ages, but finally finishes. The WD just does not succesfully rebuild. When I boot back into Mac, the Lacie mounts on the desktop and is running fine. However, it reports that nothing is on the disk and that the entire drive is free. The WD still mounts like before, but nothing has changed - the drive never stops spinning, no contents are showing in the drive (though it reports only 65GB is free), and Disk Utility or Finder can't do anything since it keeps saying the disk will not unmount.

    I am guessing there is a corrupted file on the WD, since I do not hear any clicking noises (hardware malfunction). I am not even sure what to think of the movies just disappearing from the Lacie after using Disk Warrior, though the drive seems to be working better than before now that it is empty.

    Like I stated before, this is almost 500GB of movies!!! What are my options, other than spending a fortune on data recovery services?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #2
    Is my explanation just too long to read?

    Please help me!!!
     
  3. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

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    #4
    Thanks, dude
     
  4. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #5
    Cheer up :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]


    Anyways, I hope you have all those movies on DVDs.

    If they are home movies or something, the data recovery services are worth it.

    If the movies are downloads from iTunes, try calling Apple and begging for them to let you download them again. If you downloaded them under your iTunes account, they should have a record of the downloads to prove that you did in fact purchase them. It all depends on the mood of the Apple rep on the other end of the line as to if they let you do this.
     
  5. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #6
    What do you think of Data Rescue? I don't want to waste $100, but if anyone thinks it might work, then I may give it a shot.

    Also, I don't think it is a mechanical problem with the drive, just some data corruption preventing it from unmounting. Should I really just throw the disk away or is there something that I can try to do with it?
     
  6. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #7
    Well, it *might* still be under warranty, so you could get it replaced without charge. No warranty includes data recovery though.

    There is a possibility that there is something wrong with the enclosure and you could try to remove the drive and place it in another enclosure. This will only work if the drive is a SATA or IDE drive (WD sometimes uses a proprietary connector). Opening the enclosure will void the warranty, so you can forget about getting it replaced, but it is worth it if the data is important.
     
  7. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #8
    Thanks for keeping up with me here during my moments of sorrow.

    I did call WD support yesterday and they told me that I was out of warranty. I never registered, so they went by the manufacturer's production date. Either way, they did not provide much help.

    Is there not anything that can be done to even attempt to erase the disk and reformat? This disk shows in Finder, but Disk Utility says it can't do anything since it won't unmount. Certainly something can be done, right?

    Any Terminal users out there with suggestions?
     
  8. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #9
    I've used alot of external drives . One Lacie that worked pretty good, some g-drives, a few MyBooks.

    My biggest suggestion is that if you are having issues with the drives unmounting randomly or whatever, call up the manufacturer and get a new power supply. For the three drives i've had fail, it was ALWAYS the power supply. Once I got a new one, the drives worked flawlessly. I assume my power is pretty clean. None of my other devices die like this and I run it all first through a little safety thing that plugs in at the wall then an APC then to my devices.

    I'm not sure why its been like this for me or if it will work for you but it won't hurt to try.

    Oh yeah, WD doesn't use a proprietary connector (atleast the ones i've cracked open). I just opened my MyBook and swapped the drive out and it was the same SATA connectors we're all familiar with.
     
  9. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #10
    I have a Monster Power Pro 2500 power conditioner/filter, so I am sure the power is clean. Also, since I have a few other WD drives, I have tried using the other ac power cables, but they do not change anything.

    I may need to invest in an APC to protect against future sudden power outages.

    Any other suggestions?
     
  10. nufanec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    #11
    It could be the drive got erased but if that was not done securely (by overwriting the data) then data rescue software might still be able to recover it.

    Try the Data Rescue II demo. Grab a new external drive (you said you needed to boost your storage anyway) and use that to recover data to. Run the demo on the LaCie drive and if you can recover the amount that the demo allows then there is a good chance you will be able to get it all back. If it doesn't then you would perhaps have to go pro for data recovery.
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    I think you may have taken out the controller boards on the drives (burnt out chip/s). If that's the case, you can get the data back from a data recovery service. (They replace the controller board from an identical drive). Rather easy thing to do, but it's dependant on having a duplicate board available (assuming this is in fact the problem). Recovery software can't help in this situation, I'm afraid. :(
     
  12. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #13
    I just tried the demo of Disk Rescue and the Quick Scan produced no results for either disk. The Full Scan seemed like it was going to take days to complete. I guess I will simply give up at this point. Ugh!:mad:

    So, time to buy a new drive and rebuild my movie collection from scratch. Yay!:eek:

    Any ideas of what to do with both of these corrupted drives? Should I just trash them? Some people have said that you can just put a new hard drive into the old Lacie and WD enclosure. Should I attempt this or should I just get a new hard drive and enclosure instead? Both of these drives are several years old, and so, wouldn't the enclosures have older technologies that may not be beneficial to a new disk?

    If I get a new drive, I will want nothing less than 1TB, 7,200 RPM, and have at least a FW800 port. Also, 32MB cache or more will make a huge difference over the older drives that I have now, right? Will someone please explain the benefits of having more cache? Is it for buffering (like when recording audio or editing video)?

    What do you think of these two:

    WD MyBook Studio Edition

    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digit...?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1248481400&sr=1-15

    Lacie d2 Quadra

    http://www.amazon.com/LaCie-FireWir...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1248481536&sr=1-1

    I am also open to other suggestions.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Toss the old drives in the recycle bin. The aluminum alone is worth doing it. ;)

    As for the old enclosures, you'd have to dig into the specs, but given the age, they may not be useful to you.

    As for new drives, you can either get one ready to go, or get a 3rd party enclosure with any interface(s) you wish, and install the drive(s) of your choice. :)
     
  14. cmcbridejr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cmcbridejr

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    #15
    I purchased an enclosure from Fry's one time to put my Mom's old hard drive in it when I upgraded her MacBook, so I am familiar with the DIY process.

    Is there an enclosure that you would recommend? I remember when I bought these old drives a few years back that everyone recommended the Oxford 911 chipset, since I do audio/video work. Is this still the case? Please let me know what is THE BEST enclosure and also a great recommendation for a complimenting drive that fits the minimum specs listed above. Performance is important to me.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    Are you looking for single drive enclosures, or multiple?
    FW800 only, or do you want eSATA, or even USB connections also?

    Such details can steer you in the right direction. There's also a thread or two on this (very recent too), so the answers you're looking for may already be available. :)
     
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #17
    Just get a G-Tech drive if you are doing any creative work. Good warranty and highly regarded on Creative Cow forums (even though most people only post about their problems).

    The drives are all aluminum . The Q series uses passive cooling while their Raid models have a quiet fan. The enclosures themselves are extremely reusable and pretty robust so once the warranty runs out you can rip out the drive and put a new one in.
     
  17. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #18
    HDD cache is pointless. Don't choose one drive over another because of it.

    I always buy my own drives and enclosures so I know what I'm getting and because they last longer than the cheap builds of external drives.
     

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