all the regulars in these forums will say, "Backup, backup, backup". That is, backup 3 times to different media.
Why? You just found out. External drives are no different to internal drives in that they fail, and limiting your backup to just one media means that you risk losing everything.
Another reason for 3 backups. Let's say you have one internal drive with the original of all your personal or business data and one backup with the same data. If that internal drive fails, suddenly you have no backup. The external immediately becomes the original source of your data and is at risk.
You asked what other methods you can use but I would suggest that disabling SMART is not a good idea, and neither is connecting this failed/failing drive to a SATA port. You say you are getting your files off it, but if it does fail finally then it could bring down your OS.
Why are you using this drive at all? Since it is a backup you still have the originals on the boot drive that you can copy off, don't you?
Or are you saying this is not a backup but is the only copy you have?
It is a Seagate GoFlex external hard drive. Out of nowhere my pc stopped recognizing it when plugging it in through the USB. No SMART warnings beforehand, no issues, whatsoever, and then poof...gone. I tried different usb cords, unplugging and letting it rest awhile, using it on diff pcs, and still nothing. Well, actually, the pc does load the 'safely remove hardware' icon in the task bar. And if I try and do anything the computer gets extremely slow; pretty much freezes and then after several minutes begins to work again only to start freezing again.
Ive opened the case the external came in, plugged it in to a SATA port and during boot the pc does see the drive. This is the first time it has ever given the SMART BAD Backup and Replace message. Reading up on that I went in to BIOS and disabled it for that drive. After doing that, the pc wont even boot to windows. This is a slave drive now, not the boot drive, so I dont know why it wont boot all the way and just ignore the fact that SMART has been disabled.
The only way I have gotten windows to load all the way is by selecting F9 at the SMART error msg during boot and specifically selecting the boot drive. Even in this list it shows the drive that is giving me issues. I went out last night and bought a new external so the moment I got this damn thing showing again in explorer I can copy all my files from it to the new one. I absolutely refuse to lose all my files from the external, since this was my data warehouse and was supposed to be my way to not have to worry about failing internal drives. I didnt think I needed a backup of a backup.
What other methods can I do to try and get this thing to appear and be usable long enough for me to get my files? Thanks in advance for your help.