04-28-2009 10:04 PM
My 1500GB USB 2.0 FreeAgent Desk drive is dieing. I've tried multiple PC's and OS's to verify the problem is not related to the PC. This sucks bad as I have a lot of data on here and nowhere else.
I can access data for a short period (maybe 2 minutes or so) and then the device gets into a state where the PC can't talk to it. It has to be powered down and up again to regain access. I wait a few minutes before powering back up, but it probably isn't necessary as the drive doesn't feel that hot. If I unplug and re-plug just the USB cable, Windows doesn't register a drive being detected and sometimes reports that an unknown USB device was found. I've heard some clicking sounds to which seems bad. I'm afraid to do this much more as the window to copy data off my be shrinking.
I'd rather recover my data than ship the drive in for a replacement. Does anyone know if I open the box up, is it a SATA drive inside or something I could plug directly into my PC? If so, maybe I would luck out bypassing the USB circuitry and be able to copy my data off.
I'm pretty good with computers and am open to ideas. I could potentially look at writing some custom software to access the data in a way that avoids triggering the problem condition if given input on likely causes.
Solved! Go to Solution.
04-28-2009 10:50 PM
04-28-2009 11:03 PM
04-29-2009 09:40 AM
From what I've read cooling the drive in the freeze is suppose to increase the magentic field on the drive and help with connections. It is also recommend to place the drive in a sealed bag (preferably anti static) to avoid problems with condensation once out of the freezer. Smacking (light tapping ) the drive is to help the platters spin if the bearings are tight or motor week. If your data is this important, I recommend trying Spinrite from grc.com to check the integrity of the drive and fix error before spending money on third party data recovery.
04-29-2009 05:19 PM
I've gotten some bewildered queries about the whole freezing experiment, so here's my step-by-step, hopefully properly translated into non-geeky terms.
ok, here goes
1. locate the drive ports on the side of the box. One is a USB port and the other is the power port.
2. unplug both wires from their ports so that the external hard drive in the enclosure is just a box with or without the stand
04-29-2009 05:20 PM
3. insert the box into a premium quality [thick plastic, one gallon] ziplock bag and push or suck all the air out of it like you would for a piece of meat, close zipper seal - you really do not want moisture getting into the drive!!!
4. place bagged hard drive into any full-sized freezer with a capacity to lower temperatures below 32* F / 0*C - make sure the hard drive is in a stable position so it will not rock, tip or fall inside the freezer
5. normally the drive box when pressed gently between your palm
s will have a slight flex to it. Once completely frozen, there is no more flex, and the central area feels harder than the edges. You want the drive box good and cold. Some drives only require slight cooling, like 30 minutes. Some have required 2 hours, and one drive I had to leave in the freezer overnight to get it to work. You can try this more than once.Re-freezing doesn't seem to harm it. Try 30 minutes, try 2 hours, see what happens.
6. when you remove the drive box from the freezer and you've checked that it is in the proper condition [frozen, or very very cold] remove it from the ziplock bag, and locate a solid table or counter-top. From a distance of about 8" smack the broad flat side of the drive box down onto the table/counter-top ONCE with medium force, as if you are in the library with a textbook and you want to really annoy the librarian but not get in trouble. It should make a solid "chunk" or "thunk" sound, not a crack, wibble, snap or pop. DO NOT smack the binding edges - they are not meant to withstand that kind of force and will break when frozen. ONLY smack the broad side, like the cover of a book face down onto the table in our fictional library.
04-29-2009 05:21 PM - edited 04-29-2009 05:21 PM
7. plug the usb and power cords back into the box-piece
8. restart your computer without the drive attached
9. plug your usb cable into the computer port once it has COMPLETELY restarted
10. IF your drive is going to mount, Windows will pop-up a notice saying this drive will work better on this port or new drive found or whatever it does when a new device is plugged in
11. IF it is going to act normally, you will get the auto-play dialog box where it tries to scan all the files on the drive and you click don't auto-play [hopefully you've seen this before]
12. go in the explorer bar at the bottom of your screen under the *start menu*
13. select MyComputer - under Hard disk drives it should list your mounted volumes - the C:\ drive, your CD drives, whatever else is plug and play, and your external drive, maybe G:\ or something for you - it will probably be called FreeAgent or something.
04-29-2009 05:22 PM
14. you don't have much time. the probability is that the bearings are going bad or there is a major failed drive sector or the read/write IO buffer has been damaged [heat, electricity spike, cat knocked it over during a write session] - - Whatever - you don't have much time. << If the files are important, get them off the disk as fast as you can. Get a rapid transfer cable [ask at Best Buy or Microcenter or like that] or just drag the stuff onto another drive >> If you get a bad read/write error, $MFT, or failed file transfer for whatever reason, put it back in the freezer again. Repeat as neccessary in order to salvage as much data as possible. Expect bad sectors and lost files, corrupt images or documents that will no longer open. I could tell you how to fix that too, if you're desparate. << Eventually, the drive may fail to boot after freezing and thunking. It is dead - give up now. >>
15. after you have what you need, run the standard windows utility to check for bad sectors on the drive [[start - MyComputer - right click on the drive letter icon corresponding to your drive, and select Properties - in the drive properties window there are tabs across the top under the blue bar - you want to choose Tools - run Check Now for error checking [takes FOREVER - don't panic] ]]
16. after this tool is finished, go to Start - MyComputer - FreeAgent (G : ) and right-click the drive icon. There will be a contextual menu. One of the options right in the middle is format. Format the drive as NTFS. WinXP will choose NTFS by default, so if it doesn't give you a choice, then it will be NTFS.
17. after format, run #15 again.