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Windows 7: HDD formatted on one docking station unreadable on other docking stns

2 Weeks Ago   #1

w7 Professional SP1, 64bit
HDD formatted on one docking station unreadable on other docking stns

I have over 60 8TB, 4TB and 3TB drives. Data on theses spans 5+ years.

I have several docking stations, each from a different supplier--2, 4 and 8 bays.
Most of my drives were purchased as self contained, backup units like Seagate and WD.
My work involves downloading various file types to the drives.

For downloading, I keep them in their enclosure. When I'm done, I connect them to a dedicated desktop or laptop, whichever is available and use 2 USB3 ports to copy to a blank drive.

I always used docking stations but this year, I have a desk space limitation. I'm using the circuit boards from the Seagate and WD hard drive enclosures.

I don't use disk duplicators because my live downloaded disks are always fragmented. Since every downloaded drive requires a final backup, copying does both disk defrag and backup at the same time.

I first noticed the problem (title above) 5 years ago. I've run into this with W7 and W10 and a combination of the two. I've seen it with different docking stations and yesterday, I saw it while using circuit boards (as explained above).

For an 8TB drive, over a period of 2 months, I will download, delete, change, modify and download more files until the 8TB is full. These past 2 months I've used a 4 port docking station. I've used a Seagate 8TB drive. Last night, my 8TB was full. I took it to my copy station. My Acer laptop wasn't doing anything last night so I used it. It's W10. (W10 isn't an issue because as I said above, I've seen this over 5 years and it's not OS related). Connected the 8TB to the circuit board from the enclosure and fired it up. No drive visible. A look at hard disk manager showed the drive as having 2 partitions, one 20GB!!! This specific description isn't meaningful because this issue (title above) has presented it itself in at least (counting last night) 4 different ways. The bottom line is that the drive formatted on one docking stations isn't readable on another docking station. I went back to my to make sure I didn't damage the drive when I removed it. read it perfectly. So I swapped the circuit board connected to the Acer for an Allertech 2 bay drive and everything was fine. Just finishing up the copy now.

2 days ago, I did the exact same thing with a different 8TB downloaded drive using the circuit boards with the same (mfgr) 8TB drives and there was no issue.

The facts that don't change over the past 5 years are: it happens with different disk mfgrs; different docking stations (including hard drive enclosures); different OS's; different size HDD.

After 5 years, 20+ HDD backup copies and several new docking stations/circuit boards, the problem pops up every now and then.
I'm wondering if it happens a lot more and people just reformat their drives, thinking they made a mistake.

I stupidly did that the first time too, all 8TB. But when I was done, for some reason, I was suspicious so I put the drive in the docking station I used in the first place and it wouldn't read it. In other words, a drive formatted in one docking station, in repeated tests back and forth, could not be read in another.

Last piece of information.. Drives are always formatted 64KB/NTFS/GPT.

Hoping someone else has noticed this too.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #2

Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x86

Oooo! So many numbers makes my eyes burn.
You probably already have come to realize, that the problem lies in the 'Interface' that lets your PC talk to the drive in use. I've never had that problem, with hard drives, but I've definitely seen it years ago in Floppy Disk drives, where a disk written on one drive could not be read on another drive.
I bought alignment disks and performed countless disk drive alignments, on both Commodore and IBM drives. (both 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drives)
I've even seen similar mismatches between CD drives. Those were all (mostly) mechanical problems, but your case seems to be all Electronic. I won't trust any interface from WD. I've seen too many of those fail.
I've had several WD external drives given to me, because they failed. In every case the hard drive was OK, but the electronic interface FAILED.

I can only sympathize with you, but there's not a thing I can do to help you. I surely would, if I could.

Looks like we're both Floridians. Eh?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

The good ol' days! Yes, I remember that sometimes a 5.25" or 3.5" floppy formatted in an IBM PC was not readable in an non-IBM PC; and vice-versa. I guess that HDDs can behave in a similar fashion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

2 Weeks Ago   #4

w7 Professional SP1, 64bit

I'm a half Floridian. 6 months Orlando. 6 months Montevideo (Uruguay). Montevideo now but work knows no borders
thanks for your comment. Unless i'm replaced with a younger model, I have hope that one day I'll stumble across the reason why this happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #5

Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x86

The saddening thing is, that even if you pin down the exact cause, you probably won't be able to do anything about it.

I had to stop using Re-Writable CD's, for my Utilities CD, because I could write one here on my own drive, and take it out to a customers house and it would not read on their CD drive. Arggg!
I actually gave up on CD's for my Utilities disk that I use when working on customer's PC's, in favor of Flash Drives.

Plain old CD-R disks did not seem to fall pray to that failure mode.
I do know, that the frequency of the Write Diode in the CD drive will drift over time and eventually become useless. For that reason, I replace my own CD/DVD/DL drive every year. I had one that only lasted a few months before I had to replace it, due mostly to Frequency Drift. Grrr!

Cheers mate!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #6

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]

Happenned so many times to me few years ago until i discovered that many problems with Re-Writable CD's and Dvd's come mostly from the Firmware of the burner to old for new Gen CD and Dvd. I always care to update firmware of my Dvd/cd/Blu Ray burners as they tell in change log, better compatibilities with severals CD/Dvd new brands.

Since a little while Hard drive makers can provide firmware for their HDD stockages but it looks only for those that have Embedded functions like Wifi and Cloud connect.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HDD formatted on one docking station unreadable on other docking stns

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