View Full Version : And another HDD died!!!

Demon Cleaner
8th March 2007, 21:08
I really have no luck, this evening another HDD of mine died, the external Maxtor One Touch drive. I stored all my Pleasuredome backups on it, which is very annoying, as it were nearly 250GB. I only have backups of a few of the files, which is even more annoying.

It happened when joining the Visual PinMAME Tables for updating to the latest version, it began to check the files and suddenly stopped at 79%, freezing uTorrent. From that moment on, I was unable to access the disk.

I use to download the torrents to an SATA internal disk, then keep a backup of it on the Maxtor. But I only have files on the SATA which are more often changed like the MAME files, and kept the other stuff only on the Maxtor due to space.

Files on the disk were:

- MAME CHDs (backup)
- MAME ROMs (backup)
- MAME Extras (backup)
- Future Pinball Tables
- Visual Pinball Tables
- Visual PinMAME Tables
- Laserdiscs
- MESS BIOS files (backup)
- DosCollection
- Capcom and SNK Artwork
- HazeMD

There can be more, I don't know, I cannot access the disk anymore, when I switch it on, it beeps for 30 seconds, then stops.

Now I'll try to get some files back, I have some minor luck as most of these torrents are free, only cost me time to download them again.

Then I'm gonna send the disk back to Maxtor, as I already did some month ago with an internal disk of them, hope they will replace it. Only thing I'm worrying about, shall I ask them if they can restore my files? I don't know because it are only "illegal" files on it. What do you think?

8th March 2007, 21:49
Sorry to hear of the HD problems. How long have you had the drive? Didn't you also have an internal Maxtor drive fail a while ago too?

Normally companies will not offer to restore the data if they find a drive to be the fault. Instead they will normally just send you a replacement drive and scrap the old one.

8th March 2007, 22:10
Sorry to hear about your HD troubles, Demon. Hope you will get a new drive that works properly. HD crashes are one of the most annoying things one can experience. :(

Demon Cleaner
9th March 2007, 05:42
How long have you had the drive? Didn't you also have an internal Maxtor drive fail a while ago too?Almost 6 month, and yes, I had an internal SATA Maxtor which turned out to malfunction (but only after I had copied all my stuff to it :mad:), so I sent it back and got it replaced. Don't know if I'm gonna send it back to Maxtor or to my reseller though. As there is still warranty on it and I have the original box, I'm gonna send it to the reseller, or call them first.

And now, after the 2nd crash, and again a loss of data, I'm really considering in buying a RAID5 controller based storage array system whatever it will cost me. I think of buying a case with a RAID5 controller card and 4 big HDs.

9th March 2007, 05:44
Yea I dont think you would want to lose it all again :(

9th March 2007, 09:51
HDD failures are the worst - you can replace almost any other part of the PC without any difference, but with a HDD the data's lost forever. I've been quite lucky in that I've only had 2 failures so far, both happened to be Maxtor drives. Touch wood, I haven't had any failures with my Seagates so far (been using them exclusively since about 5 years ago) and I'd recommened the brand to anyone who's looking for a new HDD. I know Maxtor and Seagate are both owned by the same company, but it seems like they take more care over the Seagates than the Maxtors.

9th March 2007, 09:52
Do you really need Raid 5? Raid 1 would surely do? :unsure: Also most SATA motherboard controllers have Raid 1 support built in these days.

Or just take a day and back everything up to DVD-R as I do.

Demon Cleaner
9th March 2007, 09:57
Or just take a day and back everything up to DVD-R as I do.That's not possible with files that you update regularly, as it were only files from Pleasuredome.

Do you really need Raid 5? Raid 1 would surely do?In Raid1 mode you lose 1/2 of your space, whereas in Raid5 mode you only lose 1/4.

9th March 2007, 10:26
Or 1/3 as you can run a Raid 5 with 3 disks minimum.

I do agree that Raid 5 is a much better solution to data lose prevention, as in Raid 1 you are just getting a basic mirror of one HD to the other so you have an identical mirrored backup of the data at all times, which means that if sone of the disks failed you have to rebuild the while raid set.

Whereas with Raid 5 the disks use block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks so when a disk fails it still goes on working, reconstructing the lost HDs data from the other drives seemlessly and when you swap out the dead drive for a new one it just rebuilds the data.

Raid 5 does however have two flaws. First it doesn't handle small files well. When you make a write to the Raid 5 array it has to read and write a whole parity block (stripe) from the set, so if a parity block is larger than the file being written it has to write the whole block each time, not just the file size. So in your case, if you are copying a lot of very small TOSEC set files it will really hit the performance as it will need to write a whole parity block for each file.

The other flaw is actually data loss. In normal operation the seemless reconstruction of data is brilliant, but where there is a single parity block per stripe (the extra disk), the failure of a second drive in a set results in total data loss. Obviously the likelihood of the failure of two drives at once is very low unless the Raid 5 set contains a large number of disks in the set.

10th March 2007, 02:40
Hey DC cool sig! How did you do that?

Stephen Coates
11th March 2007, 07:30
Am I just lucky? Because I have never had a HD fail except the one in my Dell OptiPlex, which had only Windows 2000 and a IRC server and nothing else.

11th March 2007, 12:33
I've had one die, in our old Pentium 133 machine. It was a bit of a pain but that's life. It hadn't even been used all that much :(

11th March 2007, 12:56
I bought a reconditioned Maxtor cheap, which failed after a short period.
I think it was guaranteed for a short period, but I didn't install it untill after that date had passed.

12th March 2007, 11:33
Nope, havent had any, touch wood (I am referring to a table, door, breadboard etc...) :thumbs:

12th March 2007, 12:14
I see you are adding a nice covering disclaimer to cover yourself against JT remarks there Submeg! :lol:

Worst HD failure I had was on my A1200 and I've mentioned it before on the old forums. I switched the A1200 on one morning and the HD just made a horrible clunking noise that sounded like the read/write head was tapping against the disk surface.

It was my main system at the time and was running a 1.2GB 3.5" HD inside the A1200. I was using the system for all of my University coursework and was one week away from the completion date for a big animation project we were doing. I was using Take2 for the animation on the Amiga and had captured in all the hand drawn frames, cleaned them up, inked them and started to colour them all, when the HD failed :o

The HD was still under warranty so I rang the company up and they said that I could either post the drive to them, and they would test it and then let me know, or I could take the HD to their shop in Croydon (London) and they would be able to look at it the same day. So as I really needed the HD to be able to complete my work I spent the day driving up to Croydon, parting in a horrible multi-story car park, and then walking round for a long time trying to find this store.

The manager in the store tested the drive and this showed it was dead, then he first said the drive would need to be posted back to the manufacturer for testing/repair and I would need to wait for it to be posted back. The engineer in store told me to wait a minute, and when the manager was out of the shop he gave me a new 1.3GB HD instead. :D Then about a month later another new 1.3GB HD arrives in the post direct from the manufacturer. :lol: So it all ended up very nicely with one HD for my A1200 and another for the A4000 I had just acquired.

I do have one other major HD data lose, but this wasn't an HD failure. It was on an Archon external A600/A1200 HD that plugs into the PCMCIA slot. The software to run the drive was actually stored on the PCMCIA card that was connected between the drive and the system and you could access the contents of the card as it contained a few utilities you could use for partitioning and other HD things. There was this program ICON that was not mentioned in the manual and I was unsure what it was there to do, so I decided to double click it and see. TO my horror this icon was an instant factory reset program. As soon as I launched the program a box came up saying "your drive is now setup and ready to use". I had been using the drive for a month or so and had a lot of stuff on there and a nice setup. All was gone and the drive was freshly formatted with nothing on it at all! That was a big shock. Quite mad that the program didn't even show a warning, it just ran and wiped the drive.

Stephen Coates
12th March 2007, 15:10
Did you manage to retrieve the data from any of those HDs harrison?

Am I right in thinking that if you just do a quick format of a drive then it doesn't actually remove any data, and just writes over it when you save new data onto it? It's just that someone mentioned something like that on another forum, when someone who repairs other peoples computers was trying to install Vista on one and it had several of his customer's HDs in and the Vista installer apparently formatted all the disks before he had time to stop it (without asking). It was only a quick format though.

I think that must be the third or forth time you have told us the story about the A1200 HD, but it is certainly good if you end up getting an extra one for free :).

12th March 2007, 15:51
Yeah I know I've told that story a few times but it still amazes me to have gotten two HDs from it. :)

And no, I didn't manage to get any of the data back from the dead A1200 HD. The drive head had collided with the surface of the disk so had damaged it. They just binned the drive and gave me a new one.

I did manage to restore much of the data on the Archon drive though once I realised what had happened. I just used an HD recovery utility. It recovered around 85% of the data I think. I then backed up the important stuff and then did a format and clean install of Workbench and everything else.

And yes, that is very true. When you do a quick HD format it just wipes the table of contents (TOC) from the HD so the OS thinks that drive is empty. So you can recover data as long as new files haven't been written over the same areas of the disk after this. Also when you delete files from a HD they are not actually physically deleted from the HD and are just removed from the TOC and are still actually on the drive until new files a written to the same area on the disk then they are replaced permanently.

It is also possible even when an HD has had a complete full format to recover data from the drive with specialist tools, which is why companies with sensitive data pay companies to professionally wipe the drives prior to selling them on, or destroy them.

13th March 2007, 02:06
Nasty! Yes I must add disclaimers I feel, otherwise Im going to be burned some more :P question! I am considering buying a 500 GB external (or 750 GB) and I want to know, how stable are they? I have heard stories from people that they have just nudged them and they have corrupted etc....I would be keeping it on my desk while in use, never on an uneven surface.

13th March 2007, 09:18
I've been using external harddrives for a long time, in fact even on the Amiga, and never had a problem with them being less stable than an internal harddrive.

For my PC external drives I do have them on a shelf just above the main desk so they don't get jogged and knocked, but that is just to keep them tidy and easy to get at.

For an external drive I would recommend you take a look at going for an external enclosure that you can place an internal harddrive into, rather than going for a premade external drive. You can save a lot going this route, plus you have direct access to the drive and enclosure so if either fail you can open it up and replace either the enclosure or harddrive at a later date.

Demon Cleaner
13th March 2007, 21:20
For an external drive I would recommend you take a look at going for an external enclosure that you can place an internal harddrive into, rather than going for a premade external drive.I will give this a look I think. Just noticed that all my fruit machine stuff was also on that disk. I will send my HD back to Maxtor this week.

14th March 2007, 05:27
Cool, sounds good.

14th March 2007, 09:32
For external HD enclosures I recommend you look at the Icy Box range as they keep winning awards and their enclosures look nice too.

There are also a couple of external NAS solutions where you add your own drives to the external enclosure and then connect them to the network.

There is one from Netgear that allows two drives to be installed up to 800GB each giving a maximum external storage space of 1.6 TB. A friend has been using this Netgear unit for over a year without any problems.

Another I've seen recently that looks good but I don't know much about is the Icy Box NAS 1000. This allows an HD of any size and has both Ethernet and USB2 connections so you can copy all of the files to the drive faster using USB2, and then connect it up to the network for sharing the files. It is quite expensive for the unit but this seems the best solution for a NAS unit on a LAN.

14th March 2007, 10:49
What I am looking for is just for an external storage that I can store emulation stuff as backup. Thats it. Just backup space considering my laptop HD is not that large.

14th March 2007, 11:43
Then one of the Icy Box external enclosures would be ideal. You could by a normal internal Harddrive of any size and install it inside one of these enclosures and then connect it to your laptop via USB.

If you decide to do this make sure you get the Harddrive and Enclosure to match as you can get enclosures for the older style IDE (PATA) drives and for the newer SATA drives. At the moment it will be cheaper to stick with the older IDE (PATA) drives and enclosures.

The other advantage of using an external enclosure is that if anything goes wrong with the enclosure itself it is quite cheap to relocate the drive in a new enclosure.

Demon Cleaner
14th March 2007, 15:58
I just had a look a the Icy Box enclosures, and they're quite expensive too (the SATA II one is 40€, the others 25€). Buying an external HD immediately gets not more expensive.

But as you say, the enclosures have surely some advantages over an ext HD.

Demon Cleaner
14th March 2007, 17:04
Just came across this, did anyone know that:

When trying to go to www.maxtor.de it says

Looking for Maxtor?

You’ve been redirected to this page because Maxtor has been acquired by Seagate Technology.

14th March 2007, 21:44
Yep, Maxtor was acquired by Seagate a long time ago now. The .com Maxtor site also goes to the Seagate site.

Demon Cleaner
26th March 2007, 23:45
I already got a brand new one back today, the same model. I'm actually copying the files again to it, hope it will last for a longer time than the previous one.

27th March 2007, 01:17
Good to hear you got a brand new replacement. That didn't take too long at all for them to replace it. Fingers crossed it does last longer.

Demon Cleaner
27th March 2007, 13:01
That didn't take too long at all for them to replace it.One week, it was pretty fast. I now copied all the files (which I still had) to it again. Perhaps external disks are also not made for bigger updates via torrents, as it died whilst trying to update the Future Pinball set, whilst checking, it froze at 79% and died, it didn't even begin the d/l.

27th March 2007, 14:03
One week is pretty good for a replacement. I don't think I've ever had one that fast.

The drives in external units are the same as internal ones so I doubt there is much difference. You were probably just unlucky.

But it might have been the interface in the unit just as much as the HD itself that failed. I've heard of the firmware in external drives corrupting and killing a drive. In such situations external enclosures are useful as you could just take the drive out and directly connect it to the PC to see if the HD itself is still OK.

Demon Cleaner
27th March 2007, 14:30
The drives in external units are the same as internal onesI know that, I already disassembled some, even a CD drive to replace it with a DVD. But perhaps due to the interface that converts the firewire/USB to PATA has some issues and destroys the disk.

Also this Maxtor drive has no on/off button, only an on/off switch, meaning when the drive has finished its actions, you have to switch/power it off, which could be bad for the disk when it still writes/reads. Not parking properly or something like that.

27th March 2007, 15:13
Oh that isn't such a good design. Many of the current external USB HDs now power on and off with the host system so there is less danger of accidentally switching it off during a read or write operation.

Demon Cleaner
27th March 2007, 15:26
One WD I have has a small button in front of the case, where you can switch it on/off, works perfect. It doesn't start with the main system though, but I prefer that, mostly it's switched off, and when I do a backup, I switch it on.

The other WD I have is the My Book edition, which has a big button on the front plate, and it works too. That's the one where I store my Amiga files, so I don't need it a lot. But this one also starts with a system restart, which annoys me, because I don't want that.

I saw that the new series of WD external disks now are called Elements, they have a very nice design, and are not expensive, only 134€ for 500GB, that's 0.27€/GB.

27th March 2007, 15:34
I haven't seen those Elements drives yet. Will have to have a look. That is definitely cheap for 500GB.