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Poll: Has your external hard drive(s) failed on you before?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 29, 2008 3:59 PM PST

Has your external hard drive(s) failed on you before?

-- Yes. (How so, and what brand?)
-- No. (What brand is it?)
-- Not yet, but I'm starting to encounter some problems now. (What problem and what brand?)
-- I don't own an external hard drive.

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Power issues.
by strumhead / February 1, 2008 7:56 AM PST

Yes, my I/OMagic harddrive has failed on me before, but it may or may not have been due to carelessness.
I was using a very poor quality powerbar and one day there was a power outage... Well, after that it didn't work. I'm sure I can maybe fix it somehow, but I don't feel like it's even worth it.
R.I.P. 7000 music files. Sad

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No Problems (Yet)
by CorkyMuldoon / February 1, 2008 8:01 AM PST

I've presently got two connective via USB 2.0. I've got an Edge DiskGo! 120GB drive that I use primarily to store my MP3 collection and another 120GB SATA drive in a USB enclosure that I use for D2D backup.

Like I said - no problems (yet). I happen to agree with the line of thinking that with hard drives, it's not IF they'll go bad - it's WHEN they'll go bad.

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Western Digital Failed Me
by jmarkross / February 1, 2008 8:07 AM PST

WD faileth me! Maxtor has been the best for me....but that's about all I have had.

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Western Digital+Adaptec
by TrackStar1682 / February 1, 2008 8:15 AM PST

They've been good to me thus far. I got a new machine two years ago, and then around this time last year, I decided that the 120 GB worth of space was doing me no good if I couldn't readily use it, so I bought an Adaptec aluminum drive enclosure and now I'm using it to expand my storage. So far, so good. Other than an issue with it not coming back to life after standby under Vista, it's been flawless. And even that, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem.

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Failed External drives and Good Ones
by ProToolsGeek / February 1, 2008 8:17 AM PST

One thing I learned is that the main enemy of external drives is heat. I will never again buy a drive that doesn't have a fan, and I don't care what the manufacturer says. I went through two LaCie drives in short order and went to Avastor which all have nice internal fans and have yet to have any failure.

Forget about "convection cooling" or the rap that the external wall wart can't contribute heat so you don't need a fan. There's so much heat coming from the drive itself that it has to be cooled by forced air or your looking for trouble, especially if you use the drive in a hot environment.

Now I use Avastor HDX800 series, usually 500 Gigabyte for recording and video editing. They're extremely fast especially on the high speed firewire bus.

They're not cheap, but are worth the cost. I won't even go into how much time and aggravation the other drives cost me through lost data.
Now I back up each Firewire drive to another Firewire drive just in case. Eventually it'll be time for a RAID system so the backing up is automatic, but for now I'm happy with what the regular FireWire drives are doing.

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no issues
by altoid1 / February 1, 2008 8:20 AM PST

I have a WD 250 Gb Passport external. Use it with a MacBook and Leopard's Time Machine. No problems. Seamless backups. Easy retrieval, but I really haven't needed it.

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I've got a 500 gb WD My Book
by 7aji88 / February 1, 2008 8:22 AM PST

and it didn't failed me and I hope it won't!! So far I didn't have any hard disk issues with any of my hard disks (internal and external) I know it sucks to lose all of your data since my uncle had a problem with his old laptop hard disk and he lost all of his data! (that's why he bought an ex drive to backup his stuff)
For me I backup my files on my WD external drive, but I don't trust hard disks that much so I burn my important files on DVDs sometimes.

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External Hard Drive
by man4857 / February 1, 2008 8:23 AM PST

My 120gb Maxtor external USB 2.0 never failed me yet. I've formatted it plenty of times, took it traveling, dropped it I believe twice, still works without a hitch.

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by thebug / February 1, 2008 8:32 AM PST

It's a Seagate and I use Seagate for all my customer repairs if they need a hard drive ! I have never had trouble with Seagate.

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My External Drive Had Died ... Or So I Thought
by tonyny77 / February 1, 2008 8:55 AM PST

I have a Maxtor OneTouch II. To begin, let me point out that I was never able to get the OneTouch function ? the button on the case that can be used to start a backup ? to work. However, I still used it very effectively for manually-run backups using Norton Ghost.

One day it just wouldn't work, period. Yes, the drive did spin-up as normal, but nothing I tried would make my XP SP2 system recognize the drive. I de-installed and re-installed the drivers two or more times, but nothing worked. I know drives can simply die for a variety of reasons ? the electronics, a corruption problem, or even a major mechanical failure ? but for some reason, I hesitated to believe it was really and totally dead.

The only reason why I didn't just "chuck" the drive was that it cost me a pretty penny. I also had a feeling it might actually not be busted. I was hopeful for two reasons. First - Because I'm very easy-going with my hardware; translation: if a component has high-speed moving parts, I never touch or move it while it's up and running. Yes, I know they can take a certain amount of jostling, but the way I see it, the less jostling, the better. Second - I kept wondering whether one of my recent Windows updates may have included a patch that rendered the drive unusable.

Fast-forward a little. I'd occasionally retry the drive, but always nothing ... until one day, I clicked the heels of my ruby slippers, and BINGO, it worked again.

I can't prove it one way or another, but I suspect that one Windows patch broke it, and a subsequent patch fixed it. Note that I've since moved this drive to my Vista Home Premium system and it worked without having to install any extra drivers. Make sense? Just my two cents worth.

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Only my internal drives have failed!
by edbrady / February 1, 2008 9:28 AM PST

When I purchased the current computer, I didn't know until I cracked it open, it uses a SATA drive. I've always used PATA, and I keep all my non-operating system files on a secondary drive (WDC 120 gig).

I quickly learned that SATA and PATA don't play well together.

So, I got one of those kits and mounted and connected the secondary drive through the USB port.

Have all my files, and haven't had a problem yet.

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(NT) Seagate HD purring awy after 4 years
by pagaynor / February 1, 2008 9:51 AM PST
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Old reliable
by montdor1 / February 1, 2008 9:58 AM PST

I have twin 60GB Maxtor external hard drives. I have had them for one at least one year. With an IPOD, a SANSA MP3 player, programming packages -- and I suck as a programmer, and the other "crap" on my disks, coupled with my loose use of powerful commands while in my IDEs("FDISK that"), this is pretty good.

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Failed Hard Drive
by SlamX / February 1, 2008 10:05 AM PST

In all the 17 yrs of computing I had only one hard drive fail. It was one I put in a usb external enclosure. It just totally failed after loud crunching noises were heard. It was out of warranty. It was a backup drive so I really did not lose anything. Bought a new one and did fresh backups.

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by SlamX / February 1, 2008 10:09 AM PST
In reply to: Failed Hard Drive

Sorry forgot to say it was a Western digital.

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Hard drive failures
by boojieman / February 1, 2008 10:05 AM PST

I have two WD externals; so far, neither has failed, but 1 case did. Got another case for about $20, and all is fine.

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Poll: Has your external hard drive(s) failed on you before?
by margsi2 / February 1, 2008 10:34 AM PST

I bought my Western Digital 7200 100 GB drive years ago when they were the largest capacity available. Think about that! I have never had one problem that I can remember. It has all my backup files and still runs like a charm. I have a new 320 GB but just haven't gotten around to installation yet. That's on the to do list and I hope that gets done before a creash! I'm still safe though, because I learned years ago to have more than one backup on different media. Flash drives are wonderful for that!

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external drive failure
by Ardy Mattox` / February 1, 2008 10:37 AM PST

I bought a 60 gig Simpletech drive to copy and move files from one computer to the other.
When I copy, it doesn't just destroys. Then the file can't be found on the external drive! Obviously this isn't good.
I don't 'think' it is my fault... can do the same thing with different external drives fine. So, it looks like Simpletech is just a lemon.

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External Hard Drives
by Technogeek24 / February 1, 2008 10:39 AM PST

Have a Hitachi 40 Gig, Worked great without a hitch for more than 2 years. Still use every day. Have 2 500 Gig Seagates, run constantly, work perfectly, they are silent and cool to the touch. Have 2 Iomega 500 Gig, they are extremely noisy and get too hot to touch after a couple of hours, can't remain on for more than minimal time. One crashed and wiped out all my data when only 2 weeks old. Guess what brand I will buy next?

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Hard Drive Failure
by Beaminator / February 1, 2008 11:41 AM PST

I had a western digital hard drive, a my book raid setup it malfunctioned within days and i kept thinking it was a microsoft windows problem. I tried in vain to get help from WD without ANY help for weeks. Finally It completely failed adn then WD told me my warranty was invalid from my purchase at best buy. Avoid these drives.

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Yes it has
by nighthawk47 / February 1, 2008 12:42 PM PST

At times I have gone through 2 Maxtor 320 gig external hard drives and 1 Seagate 500 gig drive. I now own a WD 500 gig external and so far so good no problems.


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Seagate WD internal and WD passport
by wildkat3000 / February 1, 2008 12:56 PM PST

I have had problems with four different drives failing to work properly.
The first was with a 40GB Seagate drive that I installed into an external USB box that was to be used for daily backups at work, this unit worked for some time until I believe a Microsoft update stopped it from working, I replaced the drive, and had the same problem, with the same message, then the exact same problem was encountered with with a different drive a WD 200GB unit installed in the same type of device stopped working after updates to my home computer. I might add that all the units were formated NTFS so that drive images could be backed up, and the software used came with the external box called Vipower and Saturn box. I pulled the WD200GB disk and installed it into another computer formatted and installed xp pro and it worked great untill the power supply failed. in the meantime I purchased a WD 60GB Passport drive, that has twice lost all my backup email details, although I was able to retrieve the information using System Mechanic Pro, it has made wary of External HDD backup units, I have had problems with CD and DVD backups as well with errors like "Cyclic Redundancy" messages poping up from time to time as well so now I keep multiple digital copies of jpegs and mpegs I want to keep

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Never had a failure...
by smartipants / February 1, 2008 1:33 PM PST

I've been computerating since Feb. 1995, and I've never had a crash or hdd failure. Never had a virus. The worst I ever had was a worm that dialed some porn sites, which I was able to eliminate immediately. I have three external hard drives, all Iomega. I used to have an Iomega zip drive. Hope I haven't jinxed myself by bragging about it! =)

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External hard drive failure
by rcd915 / February 1, 2008 1:36 PM PST

I own a WD 400gb Elements external hard drive. I did not want to loose any of my precious pictures or important data so I put it all on the WD. DUMB MOVE! I did not own the drive very long when it failed to function. I tried to view it on several different computers but they did not recognize it. Once I plug the usb plug in, Windows said it was recognized. Yet it did not show up anywhere, even in the systems hardware - device manager or my computer. At this point I would like to say I think WD CSR are just about useless. I emailed, I called, I did everything I was told to do. It took me way too long to finally get a human - weeks and weeks. I am not confident in Western Digitial hard drives any longer, if they had good customer service I would not be so harsh, after all anything can break. The end result is they say the drive is dead, it does not respond... and it will take hundreds of dollars if I want to sent it back so that my data can be recovered. Not exceptable, poor product, poor customer service. If I may I have a couple of questions. How do I know what type of hd it is? (eeid,sata???) If there isn't sound do you think it is worth trying an enclosure? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I deleted my data from my computer, very sad. Thanks - Ramona

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No catastrophic failures
by rbsjrx / February 1, 2008 3:22 PM PST

I've had two Freecom transportable hard drives which I've used like super thumb drives. The first one was showing signs of failure, so I replaced it. The problem area was the folding USB plug which uses an internal stranded cable. After enough flex cycles, it's not too surprising that it would fail. So, after a couple of years of reliable service, I began to experience errors. I bought a replacement, transferred the contents, and am now happily using my second one with no more problems. I also took the opportunity to upgrade from a 40GB drive to a 60GB drive.

OTOH, I also use a 500GB Seagate Mirra network backup server and it's been quite reliable baking up 3 Windows machines on my home network 24/7 in the background for the past several years. My only complaint about the Mirra server is that Seagate doesn't offer client software to also back up my Linux machines - despite the fact that the Mirra server runs Debian Linux internally.

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has your external hard drive failed?
by jon1976 / February 1, 2008 3:55 PM PST

I have a freecom 250GB it caused me no end of problems when I was using the software that was supplied with th hard drive. However I have found that it works great if I dont use their software and use it as a mass storage device letting windows xp discover it with plug and play.

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by rbsjrx / February 1, 2008 4:13 PM PST

That was my experience as well, except I never really even tried the Freecom software. Since WinXP recognizes it as an external HDD, all my access to it is via my file manager. This is consistent with my using it just like a thumb drive.

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External harddrive failure, it happened to me twice
by oertel / February 1, 2008 6:26 PM PST

Hi i'm termed as Oertel on this forum, anyway i've had hdd failure twice already, i have a 300Gb Seagate IDE Drive running in a Nexstar enclosure powered by a power supply simular to of a laptop. First time ,.. now get this "a first 4 me" the hdd started vibrating like hell. The following day i took the whole unit to the store where i originally bought it from, explained the matter and had it tested by the tech's at the store. they were blown away on the behaviour of the unit. At first it was kinda funny cause, they've never seen som'ing like this before, well i booked it for repair/replacement. The sad thing is not the entire drive was backed up, and i lost data that took a year to create, and there was absolutely nothing to do cause it just would'nt start up on any machine. The hdd was returned labeled "certified repaired". I started fresh again storing, storing and one day again after 2 weeks it just would'nt start up again, the enclosure led displayed a constant flashing but nothing. I got it started a few times after windows updates after a heavy struggle at times yes, but even then it don't last long cause, after some time it gets hot and then led flashes again and makes a strange pinging sound and then freezes up, thats it. it won't start up after that again. maybe the next day or so, if i'm lucky. I suspected the interface and/or component board on it to be faulty cause the content on the drive itself is not corrupted for the time that it works i can store data on it or copy,cut, whatever untill it malfunctions again , what do u make of this??? I have had the drive installed in other units and pc's as well, nothing. Now the power supply is to hell and gone as well, not working anymore.

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Failed external hard drive
by soldetapou / February 1, 2008 8:56 PM PST

My Elements Western Digital 400Gb external drive expired after just 3 months. The reason? Because I was not aware that it was necessary before closing the drive to use the 'Safely remove hardware' icon in the system tray.

The instructions that came with the drive were minimal to say the least and even after searching their website I couldn't find a reference to the need to take care when closing the drive.

As a consequence I lost about 100Gb of pictures. BUT I had already saved all of them to CD-RW's as well but that didn't cushion my annoyance.

I eventually found out about the SRH button in a French expats forum!!

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It happens
by solitare_pax / February 1, 2008 8:58 PM PST

Let's see - Personally, I've had five external hard drives over the past ten years. Only the first one, a 300 mb or so drive by a now out of business outfit named "Spirit" died on me - but that was after years of faithful service. When it did finally die, it was in use as a backup startup drive. Two of the others - a 1 GB Poweruser Pro and an 40GB APS Drive aren't used much since they're on a backup machine and are connected via SCSI (remember those?). The other two - an APS 120 GB (for digital photos only) and a LaCie d2 160 GB are working fine - the latter has been used for current projects on a daily basis for about three years with no problems. I've used both with USB (on a old machines) and Firewire (on the current one) with no problems.

In the workplace, I've lost two over the same amount of time - one LaCie Porsche drive was dropped while running (never a good thing) and died, and an external APS drive that was used for photo storage and temporary backups. The APS ran solidly every workday for five years before causing problems. There was plenty of time to replace it, but the new boss couldn't see why he should bother - and it died, taking the data with it, since he didn't see the wisdom of doing backups.

Overall, the Lacie d2 drives have done very well for me - there were three at my workplace (although the oldest one developed formatting issues recently with the OS Upgrade) and I am considering getting another one to replace the old APS drive, which is 60% full now.

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