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External Harddrive - Unkown Device - Has Malfuntioned

I just did a custom i5 build for a client, running Vista 32bit.  He has an external Freeagent 1Tb Drive that is getting the "USB Device has malfunctioned..." error and comes up as an unkown device under device manager.  This drive works fine in other systems running the same OS, but just not on this one.  All other USB devices work as should when they are plugged in.  The drive has its own power source, and have tried all USB ports on machine including a hub.  The board is an EVGA P55, so there is no legacy options.  Have tried unplugging all USB's but the external harddrive, and still no luck.  Always comes up with error when plugged in.  Have also deleted all the USB related files in the 'inf' file, and rebooted, but still no luck.  Any suggestions?   Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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PCDOCAZ
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PCDOCAZ
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1 Solution
 
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Try to remove USB controllers via Device Manager. Then restart the system and connect the drive. It should reinstall USB drivers from scratch. Often helps.
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cantorisCommented:
Any BIOS updates for the motherboard that mention USB issues?
New chipset drivers from Intel (or whoever)?
Is Windows fully service packed and patched?
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
I have tried unistalling all USB controllers from Device Manager, with no avail.  I have only installed the chipset and BIOS that came with the board, have not updated with the newer ones.. I will try that.  Being the external harddrive,  is the only USB device that doesnt work, do you think that will help?  I will try none-the-less.  Windows is fully service packed and patched.  

Also, to elaborate, no USB devices worked to begin with, with fresh custom build (got the USB had Malfunction error) so I deleted from inf folder:

drvindex.dat
infcache.1
infstor.dat
infpub.dat
infstrng.dat
setupapi.ev1
setupapi.ev2
setupapi.ev3

Rebooted, and plugged in a USB device.  Since then all USB's have worked fine, and even the external harddrive, until the machine was rebooted again.  Now just the external harddrive does not work, and removing those files and forcing windows to rebuild them does not work either.  
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I would suspect then bad driver but it could be bad HDD itself. Do you have any other external HDD to connect to this PC? This would show us if the problem is in drive or driver.
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
I do not have another external to try, but I have hooked the same external drive to multiple other systems running the same OS, and it works fine.  I have plugged thumb drives into this system and they work with all other USB device, but not the HDD.  Under device manager, it does show the usb port working fine, and when I plug in the HDD it turns to an "Unknown Device".  Does that in all ports.  As soon as I unplug the HDD, Device manager shows the same USB port as working fine.  Cannot update driver thru device manager on the Unknown Device.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Try first another external HDD on the same machine. Is there enough power supply on this very drive? Does it have additional power connection?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Just because you hooked the same external drive to other computers and it "worked fine" does not mean there aren't a large number of unreadable blocks somewhere. This is a 1TB disk.  Did your test include a block-level entire device read?    Unfortunately the Freeagent is a bit problematic when it comes to running diagnostics.  (I know, I have one), because the bridge chip prevents most diagnostic code from running properly.   The stuff that I have in lab to test them isn't available for sale, but you can do a simple full read test by performing the following ..

1) download an ubuntu liveCD, burn it, and boot it.   This is safe and will not install an O/S on your PC unless you tell it to.  Even if you don't know linux it should be rather painless
2) plug the USB in.
3) you will have to figure out the device name, but it will probably mount the usb, so you can type in command mount and it may be obvious.    Let us assume the device name is /dev/sdb
4) enter dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/null bs=1024k

Above will read 1MB at a time from disk, and go into the bitbucket.  If you get a read error, then you know you have unreadable blocks.   There are other tests you can run from there, but this is a good way to make sure the entire disk is readable.
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Ok, I downloaded Ubuntu and burned it.  Loaded it up in my laptop, and selected to try Ubuntu so it wouldnt install.   Got to the main screen and plugged in the USB for the external HDD, and failed to mount and gave me a mount error with exit code 1.  When I hit ok to continue, it froze my system and had to hard boot.  I am not familiar with Ubuntu at all so where do I go from here?  I do have Microscope V14, which it has been a while since I used it, but pretty sure I can do the same thing as far as checking the disk.  Will give it a try.
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Got the freeagent drive mounted, and the device name is as you stated.  Typed in the command line from the terminal and says that permission is denied.  Any advice?  Sorry for my ignorance in ubuntu.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
DOnt' install ubuntu, run it.  The ubuntu will not touch your hard drives, it runs in RAM and gives you read/write access to scratch file system based on the amount of RAM you have.  Make sure you have the LIVE CD .

But that may be moot, maybe you fgured that out

make sure you enter sudo su
prompt should be a #
This is equivalent to windows administrator
the $ indicates a non-supervisor user

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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Yes, i ran it from cd.  I got the terminal to # instead of $... thank you btw.  I am now running the test and will post results.  Also, I was able to run the SMART disk check and it came up with many bad sectors with the recommendation to back up data and replace the disk.
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
The terminal is just sitting with a blinking cursor after running the command.  Is this normal for this operation?
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Ok, test finished, and reported "input/output error".  Is that what we are looking for dlethe?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
the bad sectors sre msking it take longer. you will not get any progress info with linux
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
It didnt take very long (5-10min), but It says something about only copying 11gb.  Did it check the whole drive?  So is this drive bad or failing?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
exactly what did you enter?
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/null bs=1024k  <what you had put..

But, i just noticed under the HDD properties, it is labled as /dev/sdb1        so running the same line with the "1" added.

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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
After running both lines (with and without the"1" after sdb)  I get the same results:

dd: reading '/dev/sdb': input/output error
10137+1 records in
10137+1 records out
10629779456 bytes (11GB) copied, 407.255 s, 26.1 mb/s
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cantorisCommented:
Another thing to try:
Enable Phantom Devices: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/241257
Then unplug all your USB storage devices, enable viewing hidden items in device manager and uninstall all the ghosted out phantom devices that are under USB, Disk Drives, Storage Volumes and any unidentified devices.
Then reboot and connect the external drive up again.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
You got the message because you have an unrecoverable read error on the disk.  No point doing anything further with LINUX.  We have established 100% verification that the drive has bad blocks. However this is not a catastrophic drive failure.

Google "data recovery software".  Pretty much all of them are the same.  Choose one you like. You will have excellent results.  However ... you will have to take the disk out and mount it to a native SATA interface.  The low-level commands that are used to do read/verify don't translate over the USB interface (there is a protocol conversion and ATA encapsulation over SCSI CDBs involved if you want to get technical)

Make sure you are attached to a NON-RAID SATA controller. Cabling will be difficult, I expect, I have never opened up my freeagent so don't know how the cabling is.  
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Backing up the data is not a problem... not much on there anyhow.  So bottom line is drive needs to be replaced?  
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DavidPresidentCommented:
bottom line, yes.   There should still be warranty, however ... so maybe you can get it replaced for freee
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your time, and the lesson.  Had too many man hours involved at this point.  Thanks again!!
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Curious ... did you get warranty replacement?  If not, and you plan to toss it, I would love to take it off your hands and will paypal you cost of shipping.  Off topic, but I am planning on releasing something that works on these disks and need a few damaged freeagents for testing purposes.  If not, don't feel any obligation.  I can manually create ECC errors but it just isn't as good as having one with real errors such as yours.  My contact info is in my profile.  Thanks again and happy you got to root of it all.
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
No warranty as the client has had the harddrive some time, and used it on his previous system (which fried when HDD was plugged into it).  As I stated, the hard drive is not mine, but if the client is just going to toss it, I will let you know and send it your way.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Tell them I will comp them and you a copy of the software once it is released for their troubles. But again, no pressure.  Only do this if you want to and if you think it is inappropriate to ask your customer for this, then just let it go and no hard feelings.  I just hate to take perfectly good freeagents and attempt to get partial media failure by subjecting them to enough shock to create large number of errors, but not enough shock to cause a full head crash.  (I actually take it to home depot and duct tape it to a can of paint and put it on a shaker.  It works better than using a rubber mallet, but it is still difficult to get it right.  Luckily if I do it late hours the guy is pretty cool about letting me use the machine).

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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
LOL!! Thats pretty funny... I can only imagine what the guy thinks when you ask him to "shake" your hard drive!!  What does your software do?  Repair the errors created from shock?  I have no problem asking him... I have done alot of work for him and have a pretty good report with him.  He kind of owes me one anyhow!!  Wont see him until Sunday, so will let you know probably monday, either way.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
At this point we should probably take it offline .. view my profile for contact info.  But I very carefully scoped out people at home depot to find my "mark", looking for somebody who had a college degree and who used a smartphone, and didn't look like a retired construction guy.   The person I approached was quite PC literate, had a great laugh, and really got into watching me set it up, then hook it to my laptop a few times to get the right number of G-forces to cause partial damage.  Surprisingly these disks survive a drop test, but I do not recommend testing this theory.  I did a drop test on purpose and could have just been lucky. I would never do it with a disk I wasn't prepared to break.

(The enterprise disks probably would never survive such a test, but the freeagent and laptop-class HDDs are quite tolerant of excessive shock, by design)
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PCDOCAZAuthor Commented:
I will contact you via email monday.  Thanks again!
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