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Windows 7: Yet another thread about an external HDD problem

02 Jun 2012   #1
Lava King

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Yet another thread about an external HDD problem

Hi all,

A friend brought his Seagate Free Agent Go to me after it had developed a problem.

I first tried connecting it (USB) to my Windows 7 Home Premium 64 desktop. The computer recognized that something was connected, but it didn't show up in My Computer or Disk Management.

I then connected it to a Linux machine (Ubuntu 10.04) where it mounted but warned of imminent failure (sector reallocation count). All folders were visible (according to my friend). I then started copying the contents of the folders onto the Linux machine. About 3 GB into the copy, it stalled and then finally timed out with a disk read error and then the drive unmounted. Upon remounting the drive, the majority of folders that were previously visible were now gone.

So, just for completion, I plugged the drive into a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. It mounted and showed all the folder names I had seen earlier, but as zero-byte files.

I've already made it clear to my friend that his drive is toast and the files are gone forever, but are they really?

Anyone have any suggestions?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jun 2012   #2
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

All of these external drives consist of a standard 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch drive inside a plastic case.
Unless the drive is quite old the interface is standard SATA.
There is a 'connection block' of some sort that makes the USB to SATA interface conversion.
Portable drives have USB to SATA power connections. Desktop drives connect the SATA power connection to the external A/C adapter.

So in almost all cases 2 things can be happening:
  • The connection block is not secure and the drive is failing due to the bad power or data connection.
  • The drive is failing.
In your case the next thing I would try is to test the actual hard drive in a desktop system (to search for files or run diagnostic software).

You can pry the connection block off the drive casing. This will expose the standard SATA drive connectors underneath.
Sometimes you can fit the standard SATA power connector from your desktop's power supply, and a standard SATA data cable right on the drive.
Sometimes the casing gets in the way. Then you have to crack open the casing to get the drive out.

Once connected directly to the PC you have eliminated the connection block as a potential problem and you are now dealing with a typical internal drive.

One note: a desktop SATA power connector has a 12v lead on it. 2.5 inch drives run on 5v, but will normally have the 12v lead connector blanked out. But both drives still use the same type of SATA power connector.
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 Yet another thread about an external HDD problem




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