Is it possible for EVERY sector to be bad on an external HDD???

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by octopuswiggles, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. octopuswiggles macrumors newbie

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    #1
    This is a long and sad story... I'm at my wits end. I have an external HDD, Micronet 250GB drive (one with similar form factor to a Mac Mini)... I was using it as my Time Machine back up volume with NO problems for almost 2 years.

    Then, two weeks ago, I connect it to my macbook via firewire, and find that the HDD won't mount. I can feel it spinning, but out of the blue, it will not mount. I get an error window saying the drive is not readable, and do I want to initialize. No...So, I do the following:

    1) Check Disk Utility. It can "see" the drive, but has only a generic name, and SMART is unsupported? Disk utility does NOT allow me to verify or repair the drive.

    2) System profiler can see the disk, but again, only as a generic volume.

    3) I try and connected the HDD with different cables, and via USB. Nothing. I also try to connect it to other computers... still NOTHING. Same problem as above.

    3) I run DiskWarrior... it cannot even see the drive, so I can't do anything with that program.

    4) I run TechTools, but that program can't see the drive, so nothing there.

    5) I run FileSalvage. As the program is scanning the drive, it basically reads every sector as bad... thousands and thousands of them. It doesn't find a single file to salvage, only all bad sectors.

    Is this possible? How can such a thing happen? Is all my data gone gone gone from this HDD? In addition to the TimeMachine backup, there was an iPhoto library that I really, really want to save. Is that just toast?

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks...
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #2
    Sorry to say that yes, it can happen.

    Disk Warrior is very good - if it shows hardware failures or other reasons it can't repair the drive, the there's a good chance the drive has failed. I would make further attempts getting Disk Warrior to see the drive. It might be able to create a temporary directory and allow you to get some of your data off the drive.

    SMART isn't supported over Firewire or USB, so the only way to read its status is by installing it as an internal.

    It's a hard lesson, for sure. Sorry if this sounds preachy, but I just want to drive the following point home: precious media such as photos or video need to be backed up in multiple ways and on multiple media (2 hard drives and a CD/DVD, for example. One drive can be Time Machine.)

    (I know, I know: 20-20 hindsight doesn't help)
     
  3. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #3
    hmmm it might be a wierd suggestion but i dont think that the hard drive has any problems with it, it could possibly be the case "controller" of the hard drive. (i.e. the interfaces USB/FW etc that connect the two together).

    could you possibly connect the HD to another case? or plug it into a computer etcetc??
     
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #4
    Could be a possibility. I saw the OP had used USB and was thinking it was a different case.

    OP - is the drive clicking or making any other "strange" sounds?
     
  5. gmanterry macrumors regular

    gmanterry

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    #5
    Can't access drive.

    A few weeks ago, I bought a LaCie 301371 500GB Rugged All-Terrain FireWire 800/ FireWire 400/USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive from Amazon for my Mac Mini to store multi media files. It worked fine for a few weeks and then one day while wtching a video. it quit and unmounted. I unplugged it and plugged it in again and it worked for another 10 minutes. I then tried it on the MBP and it wouldn't mount. I have an adapter from OWC that allows me to run bare drives as USB2. I took the drive and connected it to the OWC adapter and it worked fine. All this is to just state that perhaps the interface is bad not the drive. I bought a Macally enclosure for the drive and it is happily working right now. Good luck with your problem.


    Terry
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #6
    i thought it was just a different interface on the drive, maybe the OP can clarify :)

    nice input!! backs my story up yay hahaha. maybe im not stupid :rolleyes: :eek:
     
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #7
    I'm hoping for their sake it's the case (as in "the case where it's a bad case..." ;) ). That would explain Disk Warrior not being to, at least, create a temporary directory (it should do that, even if the drive is so damaged DW can't write a new one).
     
  8. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 3, 2009
    #8
    gr8tfly... thanks for the quick response. You don't sound preachy at all... i had delusions that I'd be one of the lucky ones, I guess! :) A DVD burner is in my future...

    For now, I'm a true newbie at most of this stuff. I spent hours today reading and checking out forums and trying different things people suggested... so, I won't mind if you treat me like a 5 year old with the advice.

    Do you have thoughts on what I could do differently with Disk Warrior? What would I do to see if can create a temp directory?

    Thanks!

     
  9. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Hi there... no clicks. It's really quiet. I can tell it's spinning by feeling it, there's a very faint hum sometimes.

    The drive has both Firewire and USB connectivity. I just changed cords when I tried USB. Tried both firewire and USB on different computers and got nothing.

    Is the suggestion to get a different case altogether?

     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #10
    thats my suggestion yes, is it a notebook hard drive inside there or a desktop one??
     
  11. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    gmanterry --- thanks for this. Gives me a bit of hope. Sorry for a few stupid questions, but what's an OWC adapter... and do you have a link for where I'd get one, or a Macally enclosure?

    Thank you!

     
  12. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Hi DoFoT9 - I haven't opened it up yet. Haven't ever done that with an external HDD... or any HDD for that matter. It's an external drive... the case is shaped EXACTLY like the mac mini... the drive was initially designed to be stacked with the mini. Does that help? Or should I just open the thing up?


     
  13. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #13
    if it resembles something like these then it is safe to presume that they use a desktop (3.5") hard drive, so if you eventually do go down the road of getting an external case to test it with you will need to make sure that its 3.5" compatible.
     
  14. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    It looks EXACTLY like that. Thank you so much for the hint. I will definitely try to go down the new external case route. Quite a project for a newbie, but it's worth it for the learning, at least!

    I don't suppose it's as simple as removing the old case, and popping the drive into a new one?


     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #15
    if possible, to test, i would try to take out the hard drive and plug it directly into a desktop PC (if a friend has one??) that could possibly debug the problem more.

    it REALLY is that easy! undo the screws and take it out and you are laughing!
     
  16. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Thanks! I'm going to ask a friend today if they can plug it into a PC, and we'll see what happens... then, if needed, I'll buy a case, no problem! THANK YOU.

    You guys are terrific, by the way. The so-called "geniuses" at the Apple store were totally useless.


     
  17. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #17
    It's called the Universal Drive Adapter:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/U2NV2SPATA/

    This in an EXCELLENT piece of equipment. Take any hard drive out of its case/computer and hook it to this. If you're still having problems, you know it's the drive and not the enclosure. I've used mine on numerous occasions.

    Definitely check out the enclosure. Decent chance that's the problem and not the actual drive.
     
  18. i.shaun macrumors 6502a

    i.shaun

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    #18
    I don't think plugging it into a PC would be very useful unless it was formatted FAT32 or NTFS. Or if my some chance your friend has purchased Macdrive for his PC.


    If it was a time machine drive I'd have to assume it was HFS+ in which a PC probably would not even pick it up
     
  19. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #19
    Thanks. I hate to be a "see, I told ya so" ;)

    +1 on the Newer Universal adapter. I've had one since they first came out. They go from USB2 to, well, basically everything (except SCSI). Out of the box, they do 3.5"/2.5" SATA/PATA. Very handy for troubleshooting, or just replacing (cloning) a drive.
     
  20. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #20
    thats a good point but i already have an arguement for that. all we would be trying to achieve is to get the PC to recognise the hard drive. if a "initialise disk" or something similar came up then that would mean that it is correctly working and not corrupt (to a mounting extent anyway)

    macDrive would be a better solution to ensure that all data can be read, but that access is somewhat limited atm..

    excellent, let us know how you go!
     
  21. octopuswiggles thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Well, all... sad news to report. I went ahead and removed the drive from the encasement. It's a Maxtor (IDE) by the way. A friend of mine had an encasement, and we popped it in, plugged it in, powered it up.... and.... nothing. Same problem.

    Looks like I've got a doorstop, and fond memories instead of some pictures. Let it be said... I have learned my lesson! :eek:

    I might hand the drive over to a friend to see what he can do... as a last resort, but I'm not hopeful.

    However, just wanted to thank all of you here for your help and advice!!


     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #22
    damn! thats not good man, did your friend plug it into a mac or PC? laptop or desktop??

    there are many many programs that can recover data, but the hard drive needs to spin up for it to be successful at all haha!

    sorry to hear it :(
     
  23. Gladbags macrumors newbie

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    Oct 20, 2013
    #23
    me too

    I'm experiencing the same.

    I'm using FileSalvage 7 on a drive that won't mount.

    It's currently reporting 750,000+ bad blacks and if it continues at the same rate, it may end up with close to 3 million bad blocks.

    That doesn't sound right to me (even though gr8tfly says it "can happen"...:))

    I've emailed SubRosaSoft and I'll post their thoughts...
     
  24. shiekh macrumors member

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    #24

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