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Windows 7: External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?

07 Apr 2018   #1
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 
External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?

Very little hours, very little use, catastrophic failure. The hard drive was never dropped. What could have caused this? Is there anything this can be used for? e.g. recording TV? or is it no good what so ever?

The warranty expired years ago. The HDD self test claims it's "ok"

What could have caused this?




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External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?-read.png External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?-write.png External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?-zero-fill-verify.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Apr 2018   #2
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Looks like that drive has some serious problems.


The 3 most important SMART values are highlighted and are all high. I would replace a drive for much less. Drives at this stage tend to get worse over time and you have no way of knowing how long that will be. 100 bad sectors today might be 1000 tomorrow.


In most cases the cause of failure is unknowable. Drives deteriorate with age quite independent of usage. Some drives have internal issues that limit their useful life to less than the average. Some people would consider a drive that is 5 years old as due for replacement, regardless of the SMART numbers. And as the drive has been out of warranty for several years it is by no means new.


I would consider the drive useful only as a paperweight.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2018   #3
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

I am guessing, once there are bad sectors - more will follow? so even if all the bad sectors were reallocated, more could appear?

I think it's a shame that, despite being taken good care of and having seen little use, the drive deteriorated in such way. At least it's good to know that, it wasn't necessarily my fault.

This will certainly change how I look at these things - I used to believe that if I took good care of them, they would last a long time.

I will look into taking my (apparently completely fine) 1TB Western Digital USB 3.0 HDD (2012) out of service and replacing it with something new before that randomly fails on me, too. After all, drives are replacable, data isn't.

Thank you for sharing your views on this, LMiller7, I appreciate it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Apr 2018   #4
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TheDeerDude View Post
I will look into taking my (apparently completely fine) 1TB Western Digital USB 3.0 HDD (2012) out of service and replacing it with something new before that randomly fails on me, too. After all, drives are replacable, data isn't.
I wouldn't suggest that you do that, unless you have a reason to suspect the drive. But I would suggest that you do regular backups, so that if a drive fails, you can recover by doing a restore to another drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2018   #5
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

Thank you mrjimphelps, that sounds more reasonable. I'll keep back-ups of it on another, much newer external drive.

To be honest, all those years before this happened, I never had or made any backups. Now, I back up weekly using FreeFileSync (suits my needs). It doesn't hurt, it doesn't take a long time, but it's good to have a backup, for when you may need it
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2018   #6
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

FreeFileSync sounds like it backs up irreplaceable files, such as your data files, photos, music, etc.; but it likely doesn't do an image backup of your computer. What that means in plain English is, if your hard drive crashes, you won't have a quick and easy way to get going again.

You need to have a way to reinstall Windows, and all of your software, in addition to protecting the irreplaceable files. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
  • Do full-image backups of your computer on a regular basis.
  • Have your Windows install disk, plus all of your software, plus all install keys for Windows and your software; plus, all of your irreplaceable data.
Obviously, a full-image backup makes it easier to recover in the event of a crash. But you have to have somewhere to keep these backups. And you have to hope that they are stored on reliable media. Therefore, you could keep regular backups on one drive, and the most recent backup in a second location, such as online or on a second backup drive.

If possible, have a way to reinstall a basic copy of Windows. Also, if possible have a way to do a factory restore of whatever came on the computer when it was new. All of these are options that will give you some way to get back up and running in the event of a disaster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2018   #7
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

Oh, yes - you are correct - FreeFileSync only backs up personal files. The backups it makes are not an image of the entire hard drive - just copies of the folders I chose for it to back up.

I've used Macrium Reflect in the past - and I must say, it is convenient in terms of getting things up and running again quickly (no need to re-install windows, drivers, software and apply all the settings and customizations) however due to the backup image file size I decided to go with only backing up personal files.

Shall anything bad happen - I will have what matters to me the most. It is no problem for me to get back up and running manually. However, it's definitely good to know I have options, and I really appreciate your good advice, thank you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2018   #8
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

To address the space problem, do a full-image backup of your computer from time to time, rather than regularly -- basically, when your computer is working really well, do a full-image backup of it. Then, in the event of a disaster, you will be able to get back to one of these "good condition" backups. Three or four "good condition" full-image backups would give you a few options for getting back up and running.

If you have a few of these full-image backups, plus if your data is currently backed up on FreeFileSync, you will be able to get up and running easily and quickly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2018   #9
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

That was another reason I was not in favour of making those - they take time, I would only do them occasionally. But really, a solid full image backup, along with those files I back up with FreeFileSync, that sounds like the perfect solution. Why didn't I think I could do both, I don't know, but thank you, kind sir!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2018   #10
TechnoMage2016

Windows 7 Ultimate, SP1, x86
 
 

You said one thing, that made my hair stand up! Western Digital!

Therein lies your problem. Get a new External HD from just about any other source and you'll have something that you can better depend on.

My worse case scenario is one WD drive that I had to exchange three times in one summer. The last one, I just gave to a friend of mine and it lasted less than a month before it also crapped out.

So WD is on my Sh** list!

I get great service from Seagate, Samsung and Toshiba drives. I'm in the PC business, so I see a LOT of hard drives.

Good Luck,
TechnoMage
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 External USB HDD - Bad Sectors, cause of failure?




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