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Maxtor Onetouch II USB drive - Bad sectors and low level formatting

Posted on 2006-06-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hello,
this here is a quite unusual situation. I've had 2 Maxtor Onetouch II's, each 300gb. So that was 600gb down the drain when they crased. Data lost, bad sectors and so on. First i bought one, liked it, bougth another after 2-3 months. After about 2 months, the NEWRST crash. So i return it. The online shop (netshop.no) i bought both disks from, as it turns out, is quite simply a bitch. But, after a lot of arguing I get the return. 3 months, I spent arguing with an "expert" who actually told me that the drive was workin because the software-diagnotisc that come with the drive said that it was fine. They argued that it could read and write, so it was fine!! During this time read alot about the drives, enough to learn that they were quite unreliable and that my problems were quite normal. USB-drives and the MAxtor Onetouch Family can't be used for "secure" storage. Only moving data for one drive to another, and THAT only for a couple of months. Then -CRASH-..  So i was not suprised when my oldest Onetouch crashes, while I'm STILL arguing about the replacment of the newest one.

The maxtor diag. software, seamingly, looks at the NTFS logfiles, looking for bad sectors and does a quick read/write test. It is not possible to access the SMART information in this USB-drive, unless you open it. The first drive i sent, i repartitioned and FORMATTED before i sent it in. Thus removing the ntfs bad sector logs. So the drive passed Maxtor'¨s test. Luckily for me, they LOST my drive, so i got a replacment anyway. Only problem, of course, is that the replacement is ALSO a Maxtor Onetouch II!! It's about as usefull to me as a common rock. Actually, its a BAS paperweight as well, its too big.

My problem is this: Netshop.no said that if the drive is broken (to them: MAxtors Diag app says so), I can excange it for a DIFFERENT drive. Internal drives even. So i was THRILLED when i ran the diagnostics app from MAxtor and i reported the drive as faulty!! "Awsome" i thought, "now i'll just delete everything on the drive so they cant argue that somthing i had on it was the problem.." (they tried with my first return, but it was well formatted so...) and so i came up with a brilliant idea: I'll low-level format it!!" I must have been drunk or something. Not only did it remove the logfiles, it helped HIDE the physical errors! (I actually SAW the low level format-app do this...)

Now the haddrive controller is hiding the errors I NEED to get a refund/replacement.. The maxtor utillity now thinks that the drive is a-ok.. *random curseword'!!

My question: Can I reset the harddive's harware so that the bad sectors are put back to use by the harddive controller? Keep in mind, this is a USB drive, and i can NOT open it. If it is not possible to do, is there a more thurough scanner that chkdisk out there? If so, I'll need a way to make the failing harddrive fail faster. I'd rather not do anything physically to it, like put inside an airtight box. Is there a god, free harddrive stress tester out there wich will aslo detect bad sectors as they pop up?  

I use a laptop with Win XP pro Sp1.

good luck ;)

Anders T

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Question by:BiggZ
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13 Comments
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:simsjrg
ID: 17017722
This sounds kind of like an immoral or unethical question to ask but regardless...

Best bet would be something along the lines of this: http://www.nu2.nu/bst/ and yes it is free.

If that doesn’t do the trick then just keep throwing massive files at it and wait for errors to come back.

I have 6 of the original one-touch 300GB drives and they need to be reformatted every few weeks to work again (problems started 1 week after mfg warranty was up).

So at some point I am sure you will run into a problem if you just stress the hell out of the drive.

I will stop at this and just say that there are site out there that show you how to kill a drive pretty quickly. This to me is a moral issue and I will not direct you to such sites.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 17017790
Repair bad sectors with this utility

Hdd regenerator
http://www.dposoft.net/

Try it on usb drive might work

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Author Comment

by:BiggZ
ID: 17017974
It is not unethical as the drive is already faulty. Most people would probably format their drives before sending them in. How convinient then, that the only app Maxtor ACCEPTS as a dianostic tool is the same app that won't find any errors on a formatted disk. THAT's unethical and immoral. No, actually, it's brilliant! I wish I had thought of it first.

Btw, in Norway we have 2yr warranty on almost everything, and Maxtor would not have made a dime here if it wasn't for the fact that most people in this country are stupid, rich and laazy.

AT
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Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 17018344
The problem is that most utilities won't run inside windows, and then you are up to problems because these utilities can't access USB drives... The HDD regenerator suggested by ded won't be of much use because it does the opposite from what you want it to, it makes bad sectors readable again, and also that runs from a boot floppy, so I don't really know if it'll see the onetouch drive...

Anyway, if you just use the drive copying data back and forth I don't think you'll have to wait too long to get it to fail.
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Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 17019341
oops i thought he wants to repair it
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Assisted Solution

by:knoxzoo
knoxzoo earned 250 total points
ID: 17021048
The only problem with the OneTouch drives is heat.  They don't have adequate cooling capabilities in those cases.  Fixing 'em voids the warranty, but they work and last if you do.  The fix?  Two ways to fix it.  Open the case, and leave it open.  Or, open the case, mark out a fan mounting point on the outside of the case, drill a stink load of holes, attach the fan to the outside of the case, plug the fan into the power supply, drill a bunch more holes on the other half of the case for air intake or exhaust, depending on how you mount the fan, and you're done.  

I know.  It's a lot of work to make up for a bad design, but, when you're stuck with them...
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Author Comment

by:BiggZ
ID: 17021876
I know it a pretty stupid question.. but i was hoping maybe -somebody-, somewhere knew about som secret way to reset the harddrive controller inside the enclosure, without actually opening it.. i'm stress-testing it for now.. ive now filled it up twice using a batch file and three vobs.. also, for every 100gb ive ran 'chkdsk f: /x /f /r'.. should I use smaller files, prehaps? also, does anybody happen to know the errorlevel/endcodes (can't remember the name..) from chkdsk? thouht i'd use it so make a "smarter" batch-file.

Thanks, knoxzoo, your comment did not answer my question, but it sure is a good idea for my other Onetouch. Dust could be a problem, but I guess this is not the place to discuss your suggestion.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17022338
Copying small files can help, because for that the disk heads allways need to move back to the fat tables to write directory information. If the problems are caused by overheating as implied above, you could also try placing the device somewhere where the temp is high.
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Expert Comment

by:scrathcyboy
ID: 17025829
Why fight the MORONS in these stores?  They are too stupid to know what is good vs. bad.

Why fight maxtor unreliable drives.  Give up on them and also dont go to WD - similar problems.

Save yourself a LOT of hassle and buy IBM-Hitachi drives and go with something reliable for a change.
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Expert Comment

by:knoxzoo
ID: 17038056
Spinrite will beat the drive into submission, if that's truly what you're after.  http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm
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