Is my external hard drive dying? It sometimes doesn't mount, and sometimes it's empty...

Discussion in 'macOS' started by baryon, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I have a 2TB Samsung HD204UI SATA hard drive docked into a USB 3.0 Sharkoon Speedport Duo that I use to backup another external hard drive from time to time. I'm using it on a 15 inch Retina MacBook Pro and El Capitan 10.11.3.

    Here are the symptoms:
    • Sometimes it will take longer than other disks to appear on the desktop when I mount it (often a minute or so)
    • There is a "DamagedFiles" folder on it with two ".DSstore" files on it (probably some normally-hidden Finder files)
    • Even if it does mount properly, sometimes it appears as if there was nothing on it (0 items)
    • Sometimes applications complain about not being able to write to it
    • Running First Aid in the new Disk Utility says everything's fine
    • Most of the time, everything is fine even if it takes a bit longer to mount

    So, I'd guess these are symptoms of a failing hard drive (It's just a backup so if it does fail I don't lose anything important). But before I get a new one, I want to make sure this is really the issue and not something else.

    Could it possibly be the dock behaving strangely? Should I try reformatting it? Or should I just not take risks and steer clear of this drive and get a new one?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd get all the important data backed up to another drive.

    Then, I'd re-initialize the problem Samsung drive.

    Then, I'd use the "repair disk" function in Disk Utility on the drive.

    Run it 5 times in succession.

    Do you get "a good report" each and every time?

    If so, I'd trust the drive again. At least for "non-critical" storage...
  3. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    Is there any possibility the problem is the Sharkoon? Can you attach the drive through a different interface?
  4. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    It's possible, I could try with a USB 2.0 interface and see if that helps!

    But all the other disks I use with the Sharkoon are totally fine (an old 500GB WD and a new 2TB WD), the only weird thing is that if I want to have both 2TB disks in it, it will only work with the WD on Bay 2 and the Samsung on Bay 1, and if it's the other way around, all the blue lights go out and none of the disks show up... I think that's a weird limitation of the Sharkoon.

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