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Seagate SATA 1TB drive failure

Posted on 2009-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I think I am looking more for sympathy than help here. However, I am curious if others have encountered a similar problem... and perhaps ideas on how you solved it.

This Seagate ST31000340AS is about 1 year old now. It has always been in a temperature and vibration controlled environment.

Recently, the drive began displaying odd behaviour by way of files and folders mysteriously disappearing. A re-boot always brought the missing items back. Originally, I suspected the SATA interface (external drive). However, the symptoms have become progressively worse, now that I have the drive connected to a SATA to USB converter.

My first backup attempt (via the SATA to USB), I could move about 420 GB of data in about 7 hours before failure.

By failure, I mean I see I/O errors (see screen caps). At this point, previously viewable files are no longer accessible.

On my second backup (move files actually), I could only move about 65 GB of data before failure.

I have noticed that it has become progressively worse, and now I am lucky to move about 5 GB of data before failure. I still have about 300 GB to transfer.

Please note: This doesn't seem to be a temperature related problem because I have a lot of cooling on this drive now.

Unfortunately, this drive wasn't part of my RAID setup, so I must get everything backed up.

Has anyone ever encountered such a problem? I am really concerned because I have four more of the identical drive (but all are more recent purchases).
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Question by:sconnell
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8 Comments
 
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dbrunton earned 210 total points
ID: 24033359
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by:Michael-Best
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Assisted Solution

by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 20 total points
ID: 24055358
Try this, but first try it with a practice drive.  Don't put your damaged drive to the test until you master this.

Knoppix Live DVD ->  http://slug.ceca.utc.edu/ftp/pub/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V5.3.1DVD-2008-03-26-EN.iso
Read this and learn this ->  http://www.samba.org/ftp/rsync/rsync.html

It will work, my friend.... it will work.
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 24069689
dbrunton: Thanks for the tip! Wow! I feel silly about not doing a 10 second Google search. Naturally, I 'assumed' that all Seagate drives were ultra-reliable and my problem was rather unique. It appears that I could not have been more wrong! Granted, every company is entitled to a mistake... but how Seagate has handled this is utterly disgusting!

Michael-Best: Thanks but software alone cannot help in this situation. The problem is that once the drive's firmware executes a BSY, it shuts down. Nothing short of a power cycle will clear the BSY.

MrMintanet: That might work, since I have heard reports that Linux is immune to the hard drive's problem.

Another solution is listed here: http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?s=68e0bd1a5d91ee17aa1b403f58a13eec&showtopic=128807

Has anyone heard of the phantom hard drive problem? I cannot get rid of the problem drive's volume in File Explorer. Drive O: (the problem drive letter assignment) will not go away, after I unplug the drive. I also cannot access Computer Management / Disk Management. The volume listing never appears, rather I see a message (on the bottom of window) that states, "Loading disk configuration information..." The only solution seems to be rebooting Vista! How darn annoying!!
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 210 total points
ID: 24069790
Possible solution.  No guarantees.

From http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/467043-problems-phantom-drive-letters.html

Here's the USB driver refresh procedure, in case you haven't tried it yet.

Create a file with NOTEPAD containing the following lines and save it as FIX.REG
-------------------------- cut after this line --------------------------------
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]

"DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES"="1"
-------------------------- cut before this line --------------------------------

Double click on FIX.REG and say yes to the Merge Into Registry question.

Unplug ALL USB devices.
Open Device Manager.
View, Show Hidden Devices.
Uninstall all devices under USB Controllers.
Uninstall all devices under Disk Drives that you know are not present.
Uninstall all devices under Storage Volumes. Say no to any reboot prompts until you are finished. Also, if a Storage Volume doesn't uninstall, ignore it and move to the next one.
If you have a yellow ? with unknown devices, uninstall all of the entries there as well.

When this is done, reboot TWICE.

Reconnect the USB devices and see if they're recognized properly.

NOTE: If you have a USB keyboard and/or mouse, you'll have to modify the instructions and leave enough parts for those to function. I don't have one yet, so I haven't had time to modify the instructions.

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Expert Comment

by:MrMintanet
ID: 24069958
Sir, have you gotten into Linux and attempted a backup yet?  I highly suggest you do before trying anything else.  A Live CD is very kind to a failing hard disk.  Please consider doing this, should you desire getting the data.  You will want to launch a SMART test on the drive as soon as you can.

Root Shell (Penguin Icon)
At the prompt, Type:

smartctl -d ata -a /dev/sda | grep Error

Look for errors.  If you have any errors show, I highly suggest that you get to backing up ASAP.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 31565030
Thank you everyone for your help! Ultimately dbrunton was the most correct, however, I gave everyone points for their useful input.

I ended up backing up as much data as possible (using traditional methods - which required powering cycling the drive several times). Non-critical data (about 1/2 GB) was left on the drive while I flashed it using the latest firmware update from Seagate. Everything worked and the drive is now operating normally.

Thanks again!
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Michael-Best
ID: 24326721
Hmmm, this was in my linked answer:
Here a link to HDD makers Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287#samsung
& you say
"I flashed it using the latest firmware update from Seagate. Everything worked and the drive is now operating normally."
Which is what HDD makers Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities would have told you.
Water under the bridge.
good for you.

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