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Old August 4 2012, 01:47 AM   #1
NebulaClassGuy
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Location: Dallas, Texas
External HD Help Needed

Hey, all... I'm having a helluva time with an external HD I have, and I'm hoping and praying that somebody here can help me. I need to explain the entire story about this, so please do bear with me, because it might be a little long, but it is relevant.

This all began when I experienced a problem with my Western Digital My Book Essential 1.5 TB external HD, which had been running perfectly for months before that point. The WD HD would not register on my PC. So, I finally took the HD to my best friend, who ran a diagnostic on it, and told me that it had numerous bad sectors on it. He used Recuva to salvage most of the files that were on the HD, much to my relief. I then sent the damaged unit back to WD, since it was still under warranty. NOTE: This first WD HD was a USB 2.0 interface.

A few days later, I got a brand-spanking new identical WD My Book Essential 2.0 TB external HD. The documentation that came with it stated that WD didn't have a 1.5 TB model to send me, so they upgraded me to the 2.0 TB model free of charge, which I appreciated. So, I eagerly plugged the new unit in, and began using it. Everything worked perfectly.

For exactly two weeks.

Now, let the record state that I am using a Windows 7 Home Premium PC, with USB 2.0 ports. The new WD HD is USB 3.0, but IDK how that affects anything, since it was working for a full two weeks up to this point. But in the event that that's important, there it is. Anyway...

After the two weeks, when I plugged in the unit, it would not register in the device manager. I updated the device driver software, and that enabled the unit to physically show up in my PC directory. However... as soon as I click on the icon representing the WD HD, the green progress bar that indicates something is loading in a given window not only moves incredibly slowly, but just as the green progress bar is just about to get to the red "X" at the end of the box, the whole thing freezes. Not only that, but I cannot do anything else on the PC, while all this is going on... I have to restart to free the PC again.

I have also tried hooking the new unit up to my netbook, which is running Windows XP Home Premium, and get the exact same result. I even tried it on my father's laptop and desktop, which both use Windows Vista, again, with the same result. This unit is only two weeks old (AFAIK)! Why the hell is this happening?

So the meat of it is that I cannot access the drive, or open it, to access my files. I have a LOT of stuff on that HD that simply cannot be replaced, if lost. At this point, I don't even give a flying frak about the HD itself... all I want at this point is to gain access to my files inside just long enough to copy them to my PC, so that they're safe. Then I'll take the WD, and throw it in freeway traffic.

Can ANYONE who is really tech-savvy here help me figure out a way to gain access, or is it a lost cause? I spent about an hour on the phone with tech support somewhere in India, trying to explain the issue, only to have them send me a new USB cable, which didn't help at all. Any advice or help is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old August 4 2012, 07:03 PM   #2
Marc
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Re: External HD Help Needed

If you're prepared to blow any remaining warranty, pull the unit apart and plug the actual hard disk into a desktop computer and see if it's recognised.

The units use standard Sata disk drives so if then drive is recognised by the pc then you're okay.

If the pc doesn't recognize the drive then it's dead and you only option would be professional data recovery and that will cost.
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Old August 4 2012, 10:37 PM   #3
NebulaClassGuy
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Re: External HD Help Needed

^

Thanks... I'll give that a try, since if indeed the HD is bad, voiding the warranty won't make much of a difference. At this point, I have nothing more to lose by trying.
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Old August 5 2012, 02:49 PM   #4
JustAFriend
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Location: South Florida, USA
Re: External HD Help Needed

... and the lesson you should learn is: NEVER trust all your important data to one drive.

Drives fail. They're nothing but a bit of rust on a spinning platter read by a coil of wire flying less than the diameter of a particle of cigarette smoke above the surface speeding by at many hundreds of miles an hour.
Backups save you.
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Old August 5 2012, 07:47 PM   #5
NebulaClassGuy
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Re: External HD Help Needed

JustAFriend wrote: View Post
... and the lesson you should learn is: NEVER trust all your important data to one drive.

Drives fail. They're nothing but a bit of rust on a spinning platter read by a coil of wire flying less than the diameter of a particle of cigarette smoke above the surface speeding by at many hundreds of miles an hour.
Backups save you.
Word.

Trust me, this was a lesson well-learned, but learned hard. From now on, I am going to have multiple backups on everything, on various media formats. I will also never buy anything made by Western Digital ever again so long as I draw breath.
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Old August 5 2012, 09:30 PM   #6
Marc
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Re: External HD Help Needed

NebulaClassGuy wrote: View Post
JustAFriend wrote: View Post
... and the lesson you should learn is: NEVER trust all your important data to one drive.

Drives fail. They're nothing but a bit of rust on a spinning platter read by a coil of wire flying less than the diameter of a particle of cigarette smoke above the surface speeding by at many hundreds of miles an hour.
Backups save you.
Word.

Trust me, this was a lesson well-learned, but learned hard. From now on, I am going to have multiple backups on everything, on various media formats. I will also never buy anything made by Western Digital ever again so long as I draw breath.
Think you're pretty much damned which ever way you go these days but there can be some that are worse than others such as the IBM 20GB (IIRC the correct model) that earned the nicknane of death stars because of their failure rate and more recently the Seagate 7200.11's (lost apile of stuff when one of those died without warning).
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Old August 5 2012, 10:01 PM   #7
NebulaClassGuy
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Re: External HD Help Needed

^

LOL... well the thing that gets me is that I had the original faulty WD drive for just over 6 months when it crapped out, and the replacement WD drive only two weeks! Before I bought the first WD, I had an Iomega drive that lasted over five years! I only sold the Iomega and got the WD because I wanted the 1.5 TB of space. But if Western Digital makes crap that goes bad after such a short period of time, I think they've lost my business.
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Old August 6 2012, 06:54 AM   #8
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: External HD Help Needed

Overall, I've heard more bad stuff about WD & Hitachi (the aforementioned "desk"star), so I've avoided them altogether.

I've had a Seagate go bad, so yeah, the advice to have back-ups is sound. Though that 2GB Seagate was a media drive, so it got a lot of use.
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Old August 8 2012, 06:14 AM   #9
ngc7293
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Re: External HD Help Needed

Just a thought, I know you said the USB 3 drive worked on your USB 2 port, but have you tried contacting your friend to see if He has a computer with USB 3? I would try that before tearing apart the drive.
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Old August 8 2012, 06:35 PM   #10
Robert Maxwell
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Re: External HD Help Needed

The USB standards are all backward compatible. Plug a 3.0 drive into a 2.0 port, it will operate at 2.0 speeds. For it not to operate at all speaks to a flaw either on the host computer or in the USB device (and that failure could be due to a defect in the enclosure, the drive logic board, or the drive's internal mechanism.)
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Old August 11 2012, 06:45 PM   #11
STR
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Re: External HD Help Needed

Ar-Pharazon wrote: View Post
Overall, I've heard more bad stuff about WD & Hitachi (the aforementioned "desk"star), so I've avoided them altogether.

I've had a Seagate go bad, so yeah, the advice to have back-ups is sound. Though that 2GB Seagate was a media drive, so it got a lot of use.
The idea that any major manufacturer is more reliable than another is demonstrably false. Data centers, which often use tens of thousands of drives at any given time, have shown they all have similar failure rates. Moreover, they all have similar failure sequences. Most likely time of failure is actually when you first plug it in (defective out of box failure). Chances rapidly decrease, until it's about a year old, where failure rates slowly increase with time.

That doesn't include SSDs, though. Some brands (Intel, Crucial/Micron) do appear to have lower failure rates. However, we're only on the 3rd generation of widely available drives. Reliability can change with a new line of models. Things will settle down there too, eventually.
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Old August 14 2012, 08:14 PM   #12
NebulaClassGuy
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Re: External HD Help Needed

^

I'm sure this is true, but the fact remains that I have had two consecutive failures of the same model WD external HD... one of which was only 2 weeks old. That's enough for me to take my money elsewhere from this point on.
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Old August 16 2012, 06:01 AM   #13
Marc
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Re: External HD Help Needed

NebulaClassGuy wrote: View Post
^

I'm sure this is true, but the fact remains that I have had two consecutive failures of the same model WD external HD... one of which was only 2 weeks old. That's enough for me to take my money elsewhere from this point on.
Except you had two different models.
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Old August 22 2012, 05:11 PM   #14
EmoBorg
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Re: External HD Help Needed

i have been using seagate free agent go portable HD for 3 years now and it still works fine for me. The latest version of seagate portable HD is called goFlex.

If you got tons of videos and music, go for 1 TB and above. If not settle for 500 GB.
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Old August 28 2012, 08:11 PM   #15
NebulaClassGuy
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Re: External HD Help Needed

Marc, I had the exact same model both times... the only difference was the memory capacity. But the model was the same.

EmoBorg, Yes, I do have tons of video, plus a whole iTunes music library on the external HD, which is why I originally got the 1 TB model. I'll look into Seagate for my next HD purchase.
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