What gives with my drive?
April 5, 2007 8:13 PM   Subscribe

HardDriveFilter: I'm getting some weird behaviour from my external drive. Help! And I don't mean it's wearing funny stockings and a mask!

I bought an ADS external USB enclosure last year and put a Western Digital 320gig 7200rpm drive into it. I've got a total of 4 of the same config I use as backups (NOT RAID) for my video, music, books in case of fire, flood, zombies, etc.

Today I was copying files from one external drive (#1) to another external drive when the receiving drive (#2) started doing something weird. It would be copying files, then click, pause, and then continue working." It did it every so often. I checked the SMART info, and it was working fine, with no errors or bad sectors and temp was good. So I figured I should try switching enclosures, but that is a pain in the old caboose. So I pulled the power plug out of the power strip and plugged it into a different outlet and LO! it works with no "click, pause, continue" routine. I just copied 140 gigs to it with no problem.

What the heck gives?

Replace the drive? Enclosure, Power strip? House electrical system?

posted by damiano99 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: UPDATE: It did it again, but at a much lesser interval. After posting, I decided to recopy the data to try to reproduce the problem and it has occured again, just at a vastly lower rate of occurence.
posted by damiano99 at 8:26 PM on April 5, 2007

The "Click...Pause" routine is almost certainly the drive recalibrating after an error. If I ever hear it more than once, I replace the drive.
posted by pjern at 8:30 PM on April 5, 2007

Response by poster: UPDATE 2: I took the top of the enclosure to get a good listen to the drive and lo and behold when the click/pause/continue happens, the drive actually spins down as if turned off. Power to the enclosure is constant. I can't tell if the drive power is constant though. When I put my hand on the drive you can feel it spin down but it seems to still have some power.
posted by damiano99 at 8:31 PM on April 5, 2007

Get any unique data off of there immediately! That drive is as good as gone. Send it back the manufacturer, if it's still under warranty.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:49 PM on April 5, 2007

Don't rely on S.M.A.R.T. info to tell you the health of your harddrive. It's pretty much worthless in most instances, as some engineers from Google determined.

Every single catastrophic harddrive failure I've experienced in the past few years never pre-announced itself via S.M.A.R.T. monitoring.
posted by melorama at 4:35 AM on April 6, 2007

I'd switch the drives in a couple of the enclosures, as this is likely to be less of a pain in the caboose than buying a new drive and having it do exactly the same thing.

And if it did turn out to be the drive, I'd buy a Seagate or Samsung to replace the WD.
posted by flabdablet at 5:42 AM on April 6, 2007

I've had something similar happen to me with using small laptop hard drove enclosures. It turns out the problem was an issue with the power supply and that it simply wasn't getting enough power through the USB port. I assume your drives have a plug to go into the wall though, so maybe it's an issue with the main power supply?
posted by perpetualstroll at 1:27 PM on April 6, 2007

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