Western Digital external harddrive ABOUT to fail?

verklighet

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
84
Hey,

First of all I wanna thank you guys for setting up and participating in such an amazing forum! Truly, this is by far amongst the best forums I've seen out there. Can't believe it took me this long to stumble across it.

Okay, so I have an Western Digital 250 GB external harddrive. I've bought it last summer and since then I've been playing movies, music and various softwares right off the drive, and all my torrents, they download straight to that drive. Until 2 weeks ago when I heard that you'll eventually burn your drive if you overload it with performance.
I didn't completely stop after that, since I was dependent on some of the instructional videos I had there and since my internal/main harddrive was full (40 GB main drive). Although I did cut down on some of the external harddrive activities after being told to.

Before I move on to the 'crash', I'd like to point out that my new computer setup is being ordered next Monday so I will have completely new computer by next Friday hopefully. That's one reason (bad one) I kept using it as a regular drive, I figured the drive might last until then atleast. (dumb I know...)

So today, when I woke up to check on my fresh torrents I could hear that it was working 'harder' than before, but I didn't really bother doing anything about it. So I opened one of newly downloaded files (avi file) and it worked hard for few seconds, then a warning popped up saying file couldn't be detected. Shortly after, my torrent application started popping up messages, one after another, saying "Torrent can't be found for upload" (something in that manner), as if I never had the files that it was uploading a few seconds earlier. So I closed down the application and started checking other, older, files to see if the drive was ok. But half of my files were gone, totally disappeared! And some of the visible folders wouldn't open because they were "Undetectable".

I panicked ofcourse. 8 years of worth in that drive. But I settled down and after a few minutes I rebooted my computer. And what do you know, everything seemed to work fine again. But my external harddrive still makes a way louder noise than before, so I decided to close it down and put it aside until I get the new computer.

Yet, there is 250 GB that I want to transfer off that external drive, that means a lot of hardcore work for that drive. Does it matter? Is there anything else I can do?
I'll probably not use it after I've transferred my files, but I want to make sure that my files are safe first. Any Suggestions?

Thanks again, and Happy new year!
 

MrWizard6600

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
5,779
Your hard drive being louder than normal means its finding a half-dead file and trying to reconstruct it. A couple bad bits in the wrong place wreak havok to your file system.

and I'm assuming you're defragging this drive once in a while...

If your really concerned about the data, back it up!!

If you really want (as in $80 worth of want) to keep that drive alive as long as possible, Spinright will get every last second out of your data short of a $1,000 platter swap.

Often there are sectors on a hard drive which are simply damaged beyond repair because the aluminum layer is 0.01 microns to thick, or jupiter an saturn alligned on the day it was created, regardless, spinright will find these sectors and mark them in the drives firmware as never to be written to under any cercomstances. If you try to do your 250GB swap and one of these sectors exists, its possible the drive will try (and fail) to write to a bad sector possibly damaging the data.

So if this data is really really important to you, I'd buy spinright for $80 (its good to have anyways), run it on both drives, backup the data to that 2nd drive, and be done with it. If you dont wanna spend that $80, I'd give it a shot anyways, and you might (might) lose a file or two, which 99.99% of the time is no biggie, as it can be replaced or remade.
 

parityOCP

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
142
Another thing you may want to consider, when you replace that dying external, is to purchase an external case that supports RAID 1, either Firewire 400/800 or eSATA. Then populate it with 2 units that are known to be fairly reliable.

WD RAID Edition, Seagate Barracuda ES.2 and Hitachi UltraStar are pretty good units. I personally have two WD RAID Edition 250GB units in a RAID1 array that serves as my system disk. Been running it 24x7 for three years.
 

verklighet

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
84
Excellent responses!

MrWizard6600, As I just invested in a $1200 system, I'm gonna put Spinright on hold until the computer arrives ---> Back up the information on the new computer; Harddrive - WD Caviar 640GB 7200 rpm ---> Then invest in Spinright once I get everything backed up and see if it can repair the damage inside the external drive. Thanks for the tip! And the valuable information too.

ParityOCP, I'm actually planning on setting up a RAID 1 with two of the WD 640GB, I figured it'd be cheaper than having drives fail on you and replacing them one after another. Besides I do value my files so it is way more secure like you say. Thanks!

I'll keep this updated when I've had my computer assembled and transferred everything, just incase I find something valuable to share.

Cheers!
 
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