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Old 03-24-2014, 01:02 PM   #1
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I have a small external hard drive which have been using for a couple of years. Yesterday, when I tried to use it for the first time in a month I was not able to access it. The drive shows as 0GB in Windows and any attempt to open the contents will result in messages from Windows saying to insert a disk in the location or stating that Windows cannot access it. Similar messages from Windows.

I have reassigned the drive letter and no change, I tried running chkdsk but wasn't able to as Windows kept saying that the drive was not ready.


Any ideas of what I can do?

I am not too bothered about the contents of the drive, it is only a backup drive so would be fine will a full format (If there is a way to actually do this)
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:46 PM   #2
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Hi Kid:

I've got some suggestions for you. First, have you tried plugging in the small external hard drive (usb, right?) into another working windows computer? can be a desktop or a laptop, doesn't matter. Does the other computer recognize the external drive? If so, there may be a problem with the usb port(s) on the computer you are using? Can you provide some specs on that for us, please? Is it a desktop or a laptop? Make/Model?

If testing your external drive on another computer fails to work, it's highly likely you are looking at some kind of a failure with either the external hard drive itself, or the boot partition table on the external, or with the electronics inside the external drive enclosure.

Here's a link to a similar problem I found to yours on TSF that describes the necessary steps to check those things. https://www.techsupportforum.com/foru...ed-183274.html

What you have to do is to use the DISK MANAGEMENT utility, located in System Tools within Windows. There are other linux-based tools that we can have you use to determine whether it's a software or hardare problem with your hard drive. But, first, use the DISK MANAGEMENT utility built into Windows. This is the best tool to start with. Use the procedure mentioned in the link I gave you to take a screenshot and post back here. This will help us to guide you throught the troubleshooting process. If you can't figure that out, use a Camera Phone and take a picture and upload it to us.

Once we have a screenshot or snapshot of the DISK MANAGEMENT utility, that will help us. Also, make sure to disconnect any other external hard drives, flash drives, or printers that are on usb ports on the computer you are using to troubleshoot your external hard drive problem. Also, if you have a usb hub plugged in make sure to disconnect that as well. We are only interested in examing a single usb device, in this case your external hard drive. If it fails to show up in DISK MANAGEMENT, we still have some other things to try. But, that indication is usually that the hard drive has just plain failed. Again, we have tools you can use to help make that determination. If it is the hard drive, you simply have to replace the external hard drive and start over. Sometimes, it's faulty electronics in the enclosure as I mentioned above, and taking apart the hard drive enclosure and replacing the hard drive still will not fix your problem.

Read the link I provided, and post back your screenshot/snapshot, and we'll guide you from there. Lastly, it would be helpfuly to know the exact make/model of that external hard drive and the capacity.

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Old 04-03-2014, 03:45 PM   #3
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Hey there, sorry about the late reply. Got bombarded with work at uni this week.

I attempted disk management before and upon trying again now had the same result - the disk appears but nothing can be done with it. See screenshot below:

https://i.imgur.com/HfLdOr4.png


It's not my USB ports, the ports work with all other external hard drives and USB flash drives that I try in them.

I dual boot windows 7 and Ubuntu if this will help by having an increased range of utilities (Already attepted a format in GParted, no options to do so)


The external hard drive itself is one I salvaged from the European version of the 40GB PS3. It has been placed into a tsunami SATA II to USB enclosure.


Can't follow that guide because that's a different issue to mine. No formats apparently possible from what I've tried so far.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:33 AM   #4
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The screenshot of Disk Management only shows the drives that are healthy with files on them in the bottom pane and not the troubled drive. Scroll down the lower pane to show the troubled drive. I see in the upper pane, the troubled drive has no drive letter.
First try Partition Find and Mount to give it a drive letter. If that doesn't restore it,
Try and recover your files using the Free TestDisk Program. You will need another drive of the same size or larger to restore your files to.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:46 AM   #5
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Hi kid: no problem on the delay. Spunk makes a good point about the 2 unnamed drives. Also, great job on getting us that screenshot; that helps quite a bit.

You're probably really busy, but it would be helpful if you could give us the exact make/model of that hard drive as I said in Post #2: "Lastly, it would be helpfuly to know the exact make/model of that external hard drive and the capacity."


Since your USB ports on your computer work with other USB hard drives and flash drives, there should be no issue there. However, there are hard drives I've run into that won't recognize via one of the drive caddy boxes you are using. I would take that hard drive (we still don't know if it's IDE or SATA??) out of that caddy, and install inside of your PC as a secondary drive. Since you have a dual-boot OS, this gives you Windows and Ubuntu to troubleshoot with.

If it's an IDE drive, you will have to install it on the secondary cable position as slave, and you might have to re-jumper that drive to "Cable-Select" or "Slave" in order for Windows/Ubuntu to see it as a secondary drive. SATA is much easier, just connect to a 2nd SATA port on your Motherboard; most have 1-5 SATA ports available, you might need an extra SATA cable; you can pick those up at Radio Shack for $5-$10 US. Once your drive is connected in a secondary position, re-run Windows DISK MANAGEMENT utility and post a screenshot. Most 40GB drives are IDE, so you'll probably need to check that jumpering. Jumpering configuration is usually located on the label affixed to the cover of the hard drive itself; if scratched off or not there, you'll have to download that information from the manufacturers website (such as WD or Seagate). There are a few 40GB SATA drives, but I've only run into 1 or 2; that will be the easier of the two to configure as I said.

At this point you can try GPARTED (sounds like you've used before), and get a screenshot of that too for us if you can. I don't know where the screenshot utility is in Ubuntu as I use ISOLINUX more frequently, but it should be in there. From your DISK MANAGEMENT screenshot, it shows that that 40GB drive is completely Free Space which indicates it's EMPTY or has been formatted. GPARTED should show the partition with files in it, even if DISK MANAGEMENT doesn't. If you can live without those files as you stated, try using GPARTED Partition Editor to reformat the drive as NTFS if you can, and give it a drive letter if you can; something like G: or R: or something out of the way of the rest of the devices on your computer. Also, ensure that the "boot flag" is disabled. You don't want your computer's BIOS confusing that drive with your C: boot drive which appears to be a 500GB drive.

After formatting the drive, attempt to boot into Windows or Ubuntu and copy some files over to the newly formatted drive (drive G: or drive R: in my example). If that works, and you can see the drive and copy/retrieve files (use a Word or text file or a jpeg photo file), then you've resolved your problem.
This would then indicate that your drive caddy is faulty and you should replace it. In the meantime you can operate that 40GB drive in the secondary drive configuration for storage until you can get a replacement drive caddy so it can be made mobile again.

One last thing, the last 2 times I had your particular problem, 1 of the drives was made re-usable with this procedure, but the 2nd drive was not. The second drive was a WD MyBook 1TB drive and I had it for 5 yrs. When it failed, I blamed the whole MyBook, drive & caddy, until further troubleshooting *as per above* showed that the electronics in the MyBook enclosure failed.

I was able to take the drive out and put into an external drive caddy and get most of my data off from it. The rest of the data I had to actually move that drive inside my PC desktop as in my outlined procedure, and I got more of it. Finally, that drive completely died while working as a secondary internal. This is a symptom of drive failure, when you move the drive into your PC using a direct Motherboard connection and you have file copying issues or index failures *hash table faults*. Be aware that since this drive is already a couple of years old, anything you store on it will be "iffy", and to keep your eye out for corrupted folders, and inability to copy files/folders to/from that 40GB drive from your main C: drive or to/from other external usb devices (hard drives and flash drives). If this doesn't happen, then you can probably use safely for a few years yet and move back into a Mobile caddy enclosure situation.

A good way to check on this is with GPARTED, and go into ATTRIBUTES, and check for REALLOCATED SECTOR COUNT. Look at RAW value, and if it's non-zero (1 or more), that drive is 39 times more likely to fail in the next 60-90 days, and is on it's way out! Also, take a look at the Lifetime Hours or PowerOn Hours value and see how many hours that drive has on it. (Values typical for a 2 yr. old drive would be 1,000-10,000 hrs. If it's got something like 30,000 hrs. or more on it, then it was a used drive put into the PS3 from some other previous computer or device and is MUCH older than you thought, and it doesn't have much life left on it. If it has a non-zero RSC and it's got tons of hours on it (over 30,000 hrs.), I would not use it for storage at all, but junk it. 40GB drives are all about 10 yrs. old, so my guess here is that this is a recycled drive and is like an old shoe floating about.

Post your screenshots back when you get time, and try my procedure.

Best,
BBJ
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:29 AM   #6
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Sorry about not specifying the hard drive explicitly.

Just opened up the enclosure to take a look. This should tell you all.

https://i.imgur.com/WVsKU6m.jpg

Will start work on the instructions posted by you both now...
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:35 AM   #7
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Oooops, sorry about disk management, didn't realise I hadn't scrolled down.

Here is the full pane. The problem drive is G:

https://i.imgur.com/CVfTvnV.png
(The blank partitions listed at the top, I assume, are my Ubuntu file system and swap partitions).

Each time I reconnect the drive, it reinstalls the drivers for it, as if it had never been connected to the system before, as shown here:
https://i.imgur.com/ccCmle5.png
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGBEARJEDI View Post
I would take that hard drive (we still don't know if it's IDE or SATA??) out of that caddy, and install inside of your PC as a secondary drive.
Sorry, I should have specified this beforehand. I use a laptop. I only use laptops too so don't have access to a desktop to do this with either - I don't think my uni would be too happy with me dismantling their systems either
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGBEARJEDI View Post
then it was a used drive put into the PS3 from some other previous computer or device and is MUCH older than you thought, and it doesn't have much life left on it. If it has a non-zero RSC and it's got tons of hours on it (over 30,000 hrs.), I would not use it for storage at all, but junk it. 40GB drives are all about 10 yrs. old, so my guess here is that this is a recycled drive and is like an old shoe floating about.
This shouldn't be an issue. I took the drive from my PS3 which was bought brand new a year or so after the PS3 release. It's spent the past 3 years in this caddy only and has just had occassional use (I have a 500GB external drive fro my important backups).

This is, unless Sony ripped me off.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
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Tried using TestDisk in Ubuntu. The device cannot be found at all.

https://i.imgur.com/oNcGLbF.png

(Had problems running in Windows, hence the switch. I'll try again in Windows if I can get it sorted considering Windows at least recognises that there is "some drive" connected.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:36 AM   #11
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Everything points to that drive being toast. Yes, it does happen, it doesn't matter that it's been in storage for the past few months. If anything, storage can very much contribute to the failure if moisture and particulate matter is anything to go by.

Does the drive spin up when you plug it in? You can hold it while plugging in and feel for it spinning up. If it does, hold it close to your ear and listed for a continuous clicking sound. I've encountered drives that failed and had that infamous sound, but not loud enough until you listen closely.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:27 AM   #12
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I can't believe I didn't check this before. It's not even spinning up
Urm... see the below post :/

I've never had a hard drive actually fail on me. I have some that are 15-20 years old that still function fine. Thus it never occurred to me to just listen to it. Ironically, this is probably the drive I have had least use of out of all that I own.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:31 AM   #13
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Actually... scratch that.

I feel very silly.

it turns out the drive actually being plugged into the caddy is a pretty important part of operation.

I guess when it's been moved it was shunted hard enough and in the right direction at some point to dislodge it from the seating.

I'll jam it in place using something and I will continue to use it.

Thank you for your time and sorry :(

To be fair, unless you asked for the model number of the drive, I would probably not have dismantled the case and wouldn't have realised that it had unseated itself.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:39 AM   #14
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I too have seen drives outlive their host pc, but I have also seen drives fail barely two months after purchase. Happened recently with a 500gb Passport.

I didn't quite get the last post. Does that mean it wasn't properly seated and is now adjusted and operational?
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
Well, that's not good at all. That means only the logical controller (brigde/circuit board) is being detected by Windows, but the actual storage media (disc) is not accessible. No disk operations are therefore possible. Sorry mate, seems like it's time to bid it good bye.
I don't think you saw my other posts :)
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkid106 View Post

I don't think you saw my other posts :)
Saw it but it was too late. I did edit, but you had already replied :-)
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stancestans View Post
I didn't quite get the last post. Does that mean it wasn't properly seated and is now adjusted and operational?
Exactly that. It has jumped out at some point (Probably whilst opening and closing the draw that it is in. I didn't notice at first when I opened it (As in the photo) as there is still no gap and the drive appeared to fit the caddy well). it turns out there is meant to be a slight gap at the top of the caddy.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:06 PM   #18
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Well, I'm glad this ended with a positive note. Cheers
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Thank you for your time and sorry :(
Don't apologise for seeking help, we'll always try our best to assist. You are most welcome.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:23 PM   #20
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Looks like it was a Team Effort, kid. Glad we could help!

Best,
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