Is an ext. hard drive that has been rebuilt by repair software safe to use?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by salty15, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. salty15 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2015
    Hi there, just wanting some advice on whether a repaired external hard drive will still be safe to use or whether I should discard it and get a new one?

    I have a mid-2011 iMac and the drive in question is a Lacie one. A few months ago it started automatically unmounting itself and yesterday it unmounted itself and I could not get it to remount. It would appear grayed out in Disk Utility but not in the sidebar of Finder. I tried mounting it on another Mac (a MacBook), with the same result. Disk Utility could not repair it, so I used Disk Warrior to fix it. It appears to be working fine now, but I have been using it as my back up drive and I'm just wondering whether it will be safe to continue doing so or whether I should consider it corrupted and chuck it. Any advice would be much appreciated. :)
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I will -guess- that the drive may be ok "physically" but that you had directory corruption.

    Hence, DiskWarrior was able to rebuild the directory and get the drive working again. DW can often repair directory problems that Disk Utility can't.

    What I would do now:
    - Try Disk Utility's "repair disk" function on it now. Do you get a good report?
    - If so, REPEAT the "repair disk" function 5 or 6 times. Do you get a good report each and every time?
    - If you do, I'd keep using the drive. At least for now.

    Directory corruption is "in software", and if there has been no physical damage to the drive, usually a re-initialization "cleans it out".

    You could also shop for a replacement backup drive, and once you have it, "downgrade" the current drive to "secondary" or "non-mission-critical" storage needs.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I would never trust that drive again and toss it straight in the trash can.
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Well, how much is the data on it worth to you? You can get a 3TB external for just over $100US.

    The directory can be corrupted in different ways. But it can be a symptom of both other hardware and/or software issues. And not necessarily with the drive itself; it might be say a power or USB problem with the enclosure. Unmounting itself is something that would lead me to at least suspect a hardware issue, especially if it's limited to this drive, meaning that it's not a system problem or bad USB port on your computer.

    Get a new back up drive, and perhaps keep this one for offsite storage of non critical stuff, or just big files you don't care about much.
  5. salty15 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2015
    Thanks for this – I will do as you suggest and see what Disk Utility says! Thanks for your help!

    Also, thanks Weaselboy and robgendreau – I might look at getting a new drive as well! But I'm not made of money (and I don't live in the US), so a new drive is $$$ for me – something to look into though, for sure.
  6. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    I always make sure that nothing ever exists on only one drive, and just assume that any drive could fail at any time. So if you do put this one back into service, just be sure that there's a backup of it.
  7. rigormortis, Sep 14, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    USB SATA Brdges blocks s.m.a.r.t. technology, when in doubt the hard disk should be removed from the enclosure and connected to a computer's internal sata port directly and checked.

    AHT and Disk utility no longer reads the smart sensor. you can check it by going to system report

    aht is apple hardware test, it does not check for any disk errors, it only checks to see if one is connected.

    when your smart sensor says a drive is normal the drive is good., and you can run all the utilities you want.

    any other smart error , the hard disk should be discarded entirely, after you get what you can off of it
    once the smart sensor reports an error. no disk utility can clear that error. the drive is shot and you have to replace it. now would be a good time to find your receipt and call the manufacturer with your serial # and see if its still under warranty.

    if your operating system indicates a write or read error ( like sector not found )the drive is shot and its not worth any money spent on utilities. unless you want to recover data from it, it also should be discarded.

    if its a simple error like permissions or lost clusters, or you need your catalog rebuilt with disk warrior then the drive is probably fine.

    the only thing else worth mentioning is time machine backups. no matter how i tried to repair those with disk warrior the time machine backups were unreliable when restored.
  8. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    another thing you can do for free if you have any doubts about the integrity of your mechanical hard disk, is to copy it to another hard disk, and then erase the drive you are having issues with . go into disk utility, and do a full pass erase. don't stop at 1 pass, do 7 complete passes. 3 is good enough. but try 7 or more

    they call this a secure erase.

    if the drive does not report any errors after 7 complete passes, then your drive is fine.

    complete passes does not apply to SSD

    all you can do with SSD is basically read the smart sensor i think
  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    There is a third party driver here that will allow SMART reporting over USB.

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