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Old 01-17-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
Maritime Q-Scout
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Default So My External Hard Drive is Acting Up [Bumped Ancient Thread]

by acting up it's not being picked up by my computer, and it's making a clicking noise.

It's under warranty which is fine

HOWEVER

I have a few files that I really don't want to lose (resume, job applications)

I have a number of mp3's that it'd be a pain in the butt to get back

I have over 10,000 pictures that are essentially irreplaceable that I don't want to lose

I have a few movies that I really couldn't care about if I lost them or not.


SO

Is there anything I can do to get the files on the hard drive off? Could a tech shop open it up and save the files? A quick google search said that putting it in the freezer would reset the platters (seems kinda sketchy). Have I lost everything?

The big kick in the nuts if the fact I put everything on there so I wouldn't lose it, as my desktop hard drive is 5 years old and I don't know how much longer until it kicks the bucket, so I transfered everything to the external that's only 2-3 months or and it dies!
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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Hard drive clicking = very very bad

Try the freezer thing (yes, it sounds weird, but I have heard many stories of it working). And if that doesn't work then since you are already in the freezer take out an icepack for your 'nads that were just kicked.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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it's in the freezer now . . . next to the icepacks
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maritime Q-Scout View Post
it's in the freezer now . . . next to the icepacks
You removed the physical hard drive from the external chassis and then vaccum-sealed it in plastic or a plastic bag right?
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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^ Just to follow-up:

If you didn't seal it when you froze it, then have the computer on and waiting for when you take it out. You'll have all of 30 seconds before it melts. Should do this anyway regardless, but at least when its sealed there is a significantly reduced amount of moisture.

The whole idea is that you get one chance, because once the hard-drive melts it is shot.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:36 AM   #6
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It didn't work, I have the ice pack on my nads currently. However, I transfered pictures from my hard drive to the external, so I'm running Undelete Plus to see if the files are still lingering on my desktop hard drive. If they are it's my lucky day and I'm buying a 6/49 ticket, and will donate 1% of my winnings to the site.

Thanks for the help
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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Clicking is usually the death rattle of a drive - it is the read heads bouncing off the stops.

Edit: and after going 4 years without a drive failure, I've had 2 in last month (and one was brand new - it was never written on)
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:59 PM   #8
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This thread makes me scared... as in, wanting to buy another external to use as a backup...
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:06 AM   #9
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1. Your hard drive is a complex system of parts moving at extremely high speeds.
2. Every hard drive will fail, including yours, including mine.
3. Some will fail tomorrow, some will fail in 2039, and nobody knows when yours will fail.
4. When your drive fails, you will lose all the data that you didn't back up.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:23 AM   #10
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The key with externals is to turn them off whenever possible. A regular harddrive inside your computer will usually spin down and power down automatically when your computer's ACPI power management kicks in. In most externals, the drive stays on the whole time which is incredibly damaging, not to mention how hot they get. The only way to prolong drive life (nomatter how long that might be) is not to use them.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDVAN View Post
This thread makes me scared... as in, wanting to buy another external to use as a backup...
guess what I'm buying another of! Hard drive on the desktop is recovering deleted files. I got lucky, so very very lucky, and now thanks to Bobblehead's advice I also have cold nads
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:08 AM   #12
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I have an encredible run going on. I have NEVER had a HD pack in on me. MOBO's on the other hand.....

/knocks on wood
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hack&Lube View Post
The key with externals is to turn them off whenever possible. A regular harddrive inside your computer will usually spin down and power down automatically when your computer's ACPI power management kicks in. In most externals, the drive stays on the whole time which is incredibly damaging, not to mention how hot they get. The only way to prolong drive life (nomatter how long that might be) is not to use them.
Not correct, sorry. The drive staying on the whole time is not incredibly damaging, and drives are designed to run warm, otherwise they wouldn't get warm.

Google released a study that showed that hard drives running too cool (ie outside the manufacturers expected operating environment) had a similar increase in failures as drives running too hot. Additionally, all drives suffer wear and tear from spinning up and down - load/unload cycles on the drives heads, as well as thermal expansion/contraction from heating/cooling cycles, etc all accelerate wear and tear on the drive when you turn them on and off constantly.

Now, a poorly designed drive enclosure could cause a drive to run hotter than designed for, which could shorten the life of the drive, and for that reason I'd look for an external drive enclosure with a metal casing that will do a better job dissipating heat than plastic, but if you stuck your hand inside a computer, which has airflow and generally lots of open space around the drives, you'd be surprised how hot some models get. Some server hard drives even have burn warnings printed on them, and they live in high airflow enclosures in air conditioned rooms!

At the end of the day, your data is in all likelyhood more valuable than the cost of a single hard drive, and for that reason, its worth it to do your best to not have single copies of data out there, whether its on a hard drive, a tape drive, or a DVD. You need two copies minimum if you value your data.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Not correct, sorry. The drive staying on the whole time is not incredibly damaging, and drives are designed to run warm, otherwise they wouldn't get warm.

Google released a study that showed that hard drives running too cool (ie outside the manufacturers expected operating environment) had a similar increase in failures as drives running too hot. Additionally, all drives suffer wear and tear from spinning up and down - load/unload cycles on the drives heads, as well as thermal expansion/contraction from heating/cooling cycles, etc all accelerate wear and tear on the drive when you turn them on and off constantly.

Now, a poorly designed drive enclosure could cause a drive to run hotter than designed for, which could shorten the life of the drive, and for that reason I'd look for an external drive enclosure with a metal casing that will do a better job dissipating heat than plastic, but if you stuck your hand inside a computer, which has airflow and generally lots of open space around the drives, you'd be surprised how hot some models get. Some server hard drives even have burn warnings printed on them, and they live in high airflow enclosures in air conditioned rooms!

At the end of the day, your data is in all likelyhood more valuable than the cost of a single hard drive, and for that reason, its worth it to do your best to not have single copies of data out there, whether its on a hard drive, a tape drive, or a DVD. You need two copies minimum if you value your data.
My main point was than an external should see minimal usage and I still believe that is true. I turn on my externals only about once a month when I go through a backup cycle. I absolutely don't trust the power regulation circuitry on those things. I've had expensive higher-end enclosures short and totally burn out two Seagate drives. Fortunately, they are built with an overvoltage protection chip that works like a fuse. I learned from a Seagate engineer that I could just pry off the melted chip with some pliers and would be able to use the drive normally and recover my data.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:04 PM   #15
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I've never actually had a bad crash before. That being said I'm terrified of it actually happening. I currently have a mac with my most important files on it that backs up hourly to a 1 TB external drive. Because I do agree with Hack's suggestion that a drive shouldn't run constantly, I then have a 500 gig drive that I plug in once a month to backup anything new and important I may have acquired. This drive stays in a closet when not in use.

This is my dream set-up:

http://www.drobo.com/

Essentially, it's a casing that holds up to 4 hard drives but shows up as one giant drive on your desktop. anytime one drive begins to fail it auto-dumps all your data to another drive. Once the drive has died you swap it out for a new one and all your data is safe. $500 though. I'd love to have one.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hack&Lube View Post
My main point was than an external should see minimal usage and I still believe that is true. I turn on my externals only about once a month when I go through a backup cycle. I absolutely don't trust the power regulation circuitry on those things. I've had expensive higher-end enclosures short and totally burn out two Seagate drives. Fortunately, they are built with an overvoltage protection chip that works like a fuse. I learned from a Seagate engineer that I could just pry off the melted chip with some pliers and would be able to use the drive normally and recover my data.
Do you unplug them from the wall as well when not in use?
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:12 PM   #17
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Do you unplug them from the wall as well when not in use?
Yes, I just pull the cords out from the back of the drives.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hack&Lube View Post
The key with externals is to turn them off whenever possible. A regular harddrive inside your computer will usually spin down and power down automatically when your computer's ACPI power management kicks in. In most externals, the drive stays on the whole time which is incredibly damaging, not to mention how hot they get. The only way to prolong drive life (nomatter how long that might be) is not to use them.
Yeah. I was going to cheap out and buy some crappy ones from Futureshop but then i decided to spend an extra $40 and get the mybook from Western Digital. It turns off when your comp turns off.

I also had to do the hard drive freezer thingie except with mine it had my operating system on it. My wife was so pissed off. I didn't back up any of my photos from 2002-2006! hehe. She was getting ready to file for the divorce when i did the freezer thing. Put it in for about 8 hours and then i was holding the frozen harddrive, hitting it with a screwdriver until I could load into windows to do a back up of my pics. Dvd was at 98% when the whole thing starting smoking. Got most of my pics but lost everything else.

Man i wish USB drives were a common thing back then.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #19
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Yeah. I was going to cheap out and buy some crappy ones from Futureshop but then i decided to spend an extra $40 and get the mybook from Western Digital. It turns off when your comp turns off.

I also had to do the hard drive freezer thingie except with mine it had my operating system on it. My wife was so pissed off. I didn't back up any of my photos from 2002-2006! hehe. She was getting ready to file for the divorce when i did the freezer thing. Put it in for about 8 hours and then i was holding the frozen harddrive, hitting it with a screwdriver until I could load into windows to do a back up of my pics. Dvd was at 98% when the whole thing starting smoking. Got most of my pics but lost everything else.

Man i wish USB drives were a common thing back then.
I've actually done the freezer trick 3 or 4 times and the drives became fully usable again and I still use them to this day (although for nothing serious). Lucky I guess.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:39 PM   #20
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I assume I am missing a lot here but could the actual platters not be removed and re-installed in another drive, by someone qualified of course?

Is it the case that when a drive goes down it scrubs all the data? I thought the platters themselves still had the data but the drive would not access them?

Am I way off?
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