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death of external hard drive
Old 04-19-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
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death of external hard drive

My external hard drive seems to have died (it's not showing on the PC). Is there anything to be done?

LaCie
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:28 PM   #2
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The problem could be with the actual hard drive or with the electronics in the enclosure/connector.
The easiest way to find out would be to take the actual drive out of the enclosure and put it into a computer as a second drive.

You'll need to make sure the drives and the computer are compatible (desktop or laptop drive, PATA or SATA).
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:35 PM   #3
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My external hard drive seems to have died (it's not showing on the PC). Is there anything to be done?

LaCie
Also, if there is important data you do not wish to lose, you can take it to someone who can try and get the data off the drive... but I think it cost some money to do this....
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Also, if there is important data you do not wish to lose, you can take it to someone who can try and get the data off the drive... but I think it cost some money to do this....
It was the backup backup, so there's no immediate problem.

Was it the wine and/or the cat hair?
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:39 AM   #5
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Assuming a Windows Operating System (only because that's all I know of):

You should first unplug the USB cable from the computer , wait about 30 seconds, and plug it back in to a different USB Port. Hopefully, you will hear the disconnect/connect sound. With luck, it will install again.

If not: Go to Start/Administrative Tools/Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management and see if the device is recognized by the system. If it is get back to me.

I know you said it contained unimportant data but if you change your mind, I have had good experiences with R-Studio found at:

Data Recovery Software and Undelete from R-TT

On the other hand, since External Hard Drives are so inexpensive (relatively) -- around $100 for a 500gb version at Micro Center, for example -- you may want to just throw the old one away and use all that time and energy saved to fix a Margarita.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Is it dead, as in no power? That would sound like the enclosure, and 2good's advice might help.

Or dead, as in power, but not spinning? Listen for the spinning noise as it starts. If none, that sounds like a dead drive.

Or do you hear spinning, but windows just doesn't recognize it? The drive is probably fine, but maybe the USB cable is bad or the PC port is bad. This seems fixable.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:43 AM   #7
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A word about external hard drives...

...make sure they have a fan in them that circulates air.

A whole bunch of these are made to be quiet and hope you wont leave them on very often so they wont overheat.

Aside from the checking for power and whatnot suggested above, if you've determined its truly dead then unplug it and open up the case to see what kind of disk is in there. You might get a free one.

How old is the unit? If theres a seagate disk in it, those OEM drives carry a 5 year warranty. If its a western digital, many of their OEM models carry a 3 year warranty.

All you'd need to do is go to the manufacturers web site warranty section, put in the disks serial number, and it'll tell you if its under warranty.

Most externals as a whole unit only carry a 90 day or 1 year warranty. But if you twiddle a few screws to get at the internal disk...

If the screws to open it arent evident, peel off any rubber feet on the bottom. Should be four screws on the side or bottom to get the top off, then four screws to remove the old drive, pull off the one or two cable connectors on the back.

If anyone wants to make an external from a case and SATA drive, I just bought a couple of these and like them:
Amazon.com: Antec MX-1 USB/e-SATA 3.5-Inch Hard Drive Enclosure: Electronics

They're often sold with a rebate that brings them down to about $20-22. Buy.com has that deal right now, but they're out of stock.

Big flat slow moving fan in the bottom under the drive, USB and eSata connections, runs ice cold and is quieter than any other external drive I've used.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:54 AM   #8
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Krex Computers is also a good (online) source for "do-it-yourselfers."

Krex Computers, Inc

Micro Center is also quite handy, particularly if you live close to one of their Brick and Mortar locations.

Micro Center Online | the center of .computer shopping

(There are, of course, many others --these are merely my favorites -- including Egghead, and perhaps the new version of CompuUSA... oh just Google for a list.)
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:53 PM   #9
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Cheap. Good. One of the few externals with a 5 year warranty.

Seagate® FreeAgent™ External USB 2.0 Hard Drive, 500GB at Office Depot.

$99 at OD. Seems to be $120-130 everywhere else.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:36 PM   #10
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I recently had similar symptoms after moving some things around. My externals didn't like the hub that I plugged them into and will only work when connected via a port on a USB card attached to the motherboard. They worked for a while after I switched them to the hub, and then began to disappear about a week apart. Back on the USB card now and no problems.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:58 PM   #11
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I recently had similar symptoms after moving some things around. My externals didn't like the hub that I plugged them into and will only work when connected via a port on a USB card attached to the motherboard. They worked for a while after I switched them to the hub, and then began to disappear about a week apart. Back on the USB card now and no problems.
I had the same problem after rearranging the computer room. One of the techs at work said Windows didn't do well resetting USB ports especially the ones on an expansion card. Once I got the external drive back on the original port everything worked like new. Windows would usually find the drive but the port wouldn't not control the sleep mode properly. The port that works is connected to the mother board.
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:13 PM   #12
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This is weird.

I plug both of the external hard drive USB plugs directly into the PC and it shows up just fine.

Why did it work OK on a hub for months and then disappear; and now shows up OK on direct plug in?
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:23 PM   #13
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This is weird.

I plug both of the external hard drive USB plugs directly into the PC and it shows up just fine.

Why did it work OK on a hub for months and then disappear; and now shows up OK on direct plug in?
You just thwarted Mr Gates' attempt to get you to stimulate the economy by buying a new HD. You know this will go on your record.
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:49 PM   #14
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Could be a couple of things.

Some devices count on some power from the USB end of things and sometimes that croaks in a hub without affecting a fair number of devices that dont count on any of the USB power signals. Most USB hubs carry both the USB signals and some DC power thats sufficient to power many small devices...some regenerate the signals.

Other devices are very sensitive to being used on a hub or on the effective cable distance, which includes wiring and the hub itself, which electrically appears as an extra piece of cable. Some units specifically note they're not to be used on a hub or only with a cable up to xx feet long. If you use two long USB cables AND a non regenerating hub...well...you're on the edge of the spec for the device.

In general I wouldnt recommend attaching a high volume device like a hard drive or memory card reader to a hub. Those are better for mice, digital cameras, low res USB webcams and the like.

Khan...did the hub have a power supply or was it an unpowered one? The power supply on the hub might have failed, which wouldnt have affected a lot of regular devices but might have affected signal regeneration or USB power dependence.

Either something broke or you were on the fine line of some tolerance level and dropped below it.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:40 PM   #15
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Either something broke or you were on the fine line of some tolerance level and dropped below it.
That was probably my case. Brand new powered hub with 4 external HD's. The two that "failed" are now on the card and two are on the hub and they are all working fine. Too little juice or too much trying to go through the hub, whatever the case, there are definitely limitations to what you can do with a hub.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:24 PM   #16
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4 external HD's
Dude! Thats a lot of porn!!!

Never had a lot of luck with external hubs. Always some sort of glitch or other. Ended up sticking a $12 board inside the machine with 4 ports onboard and a daughter card with 4 more.

Made sure the new machines have at least 3-4 built in.

Worst time i had was with an iMac with a hub on it as I had one more USB device than the iMac had ports. Never worked right. Ended up giving up on one of the devices so I could go without the hub.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:53 PM   #17
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Could be a couple of things.

Some devices count on some power from the USB end of things and sometimes that croaks in a hub without affecting a fair number of devices that dont count on any of the USB power signals. Most USB hubs carry both the USB signals and some DC power thats sufficient to power many small devices...some regenerate the signals.

Other devices are very sensitive to being used on a hub or on the effective cable distance, which includes wiring and the hub itself, which electrically appears as an extra piece of cable. Some units specifically note they're not to be used on a hub or only with a cable up to xx feet long. If you use two long USB cables AND a non regenerating hub...well...you're on the edge of the spec for the device.

In general I wouldnt recommend attaching a high volume device like a hard drive or memory card reader to a hub. Those are better for mice, digital cameras, low res USB webcams and the like.

Khan...did the hub have a power supply or was it an unpowered one? The power supply on the hub might have failed, which wouldnt have affected a lot of regular devices but might have affected signal regeneration or USB power dependence.

Either something broke or you were on the fine line of some tolerance level and dropped below it.
I don't understand all this crap.

No offense to CFB.

How do I know if it was power supply?

It worked, then it didn't; with no change I was aware of.

I thought (mistakenly ?) that I could link up several layers of USB hubs.

Other stuff attached to hubs are having no problems.

This reminds me of owning my MG in the '70s: every morning was an adventure re starting.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:08 PM   #18
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Dude! Thats a lot of porn!!!
It's all evidence - I swear.

When I went to Vice I got clued in on how things worked there. One topic was that some of the rules on workplace sexual harassment could not apply. Sex, drugs, rock & roll and porn were just the stuff we dealt with every day. Still, it was weird walking by someone's cubicle and seeing a couple of thousand dollars worth of sex toys stacked there, or see them watching porn movies. It was fun listening in when they called up call girls to arrange dates, or when the johns called one of our undercover lines looking for a hooker.

I may have went a little overboard on the HD's. I've actually got five of the darn things currently attached to the machine, and two full of backups that are off line and stored off site.

You know what they say, there are those people who do backups and those who haven't had a disk failure. Guess which one I am! Guess who ran across a great sale on external drives at Fry's! (Who also has 30,000 photos, 600 Gigs of family video, and Quicken/Money files dating back to 1982)
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Never had a lot of luck with external hubs. Always some sort of glitch or other. Ended up sticking a $12 board inside the machine with 4 ports onboard and a daughter card with 4 more.
I've got the same setup, plus two on the front panel connected to the expansion card via an internal cable. I went the hub route because after updating the firmware on my MP3 player it didn't work right on the front panel USB ports. Other users on a different forum posted that the first fix to try was to connect via a port on the motherboard. There was some other gizmo (the cordless phones I think) that occasionally have to be plugged in, but will only work on the USB ports on the big board. I dug an extra USB expansion card out of my junk box only to find thanks to ginormous video card I can't use my available expansion slot. The hub, actually two hubs (they were cheap) was an experiment to try and do a workaround on the port issues without resorting to getting behind the machine and rewiring half of the peripheral connections every time I wanted to add some music to my MP3 player.

I am going to have to rethink the wiring scheme, but the whole plugging/unplugging, sorting, hiding, etc. of wires is a chore I try to undertake only under dire circumstances.
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:05 PM   #19
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a non regenerating hub...
What is a non-regenerating hub? Never heard of such a thing. I can't imagine how a hub could work w/o regenerating the signals - these things aren't like 'Y' cords. I suppose a switcher might work w/o regenerating (but I doubt they do it that way), but that's not a hub, it's a switcher - not too common in home set ups.

There are powered hubs (usually provide 500mA per port), and bus powered hubs (usually limited to 100mA per port, as they need to draw the 500mA from the host, so only 100mA per port left for a 4 port hub). But non-regenerating hubs?

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Old 04-20-2008, 11:12 PM   #20
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Never had a lot of luck with external hubs. Always some sort of glitch or other.

...

Worst time i had was with an iMac with a hub on it as I had one more USB device than the iMac had ports. Never worked right. Ended up giving up on one of the devices so I could go without the hub.
Man, I don't know what it is with you and Macs. I have external hubs on all my macs, for years - never a problem. Even the old 2000 graphite iMac that the kid uses everyday.

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