Consistently getting paging operation errors on ext drives, multiple new drives. Any help on why?

Hi Everyone,

We have Four different seagate external drives that are hooked up to an XP machine at various times for backup purposes.  One stays permanently connected and the rest are rotated.  Three of the four drives were purchased from different stores, different times, etc.  However, all of them (when connected) throw paging errors in the event viewer.  Despite that, the drives work fine, Norton Ghost is able to backup to them, etc.  

I did a search on this topic and seem to find a lot of results on Google of people having similiar issues with Seagate drives.

Is this something we should be concerned about?  The machine is a brand new PC as well.  

Thanks!
JsmplyAsked:
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Can you publish the eventviewer errors here?
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acl-puzzCommented:
can you give us exact error text,screen-shot,logs?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Here is the error from the event log.

An identical message comes up for \Device\Harddisk2\D as well.  Harddisk1 doesn't change, it's an external that lives connected.  However, Harddisk2 changes all the time.  Despite which Ext HDD is plugged in, they throw this "warning" in the event viewer.  I have seen this on other Seagate's as well.  

Thanks!
Event Type:	Warning
Event Source:	Disk
Event Category:	None
Event ID:	51
Description:
An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk1\D during a paging operation.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Open in new window

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acl-puzzCommented:
here is complete reference for this problem

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244780 

have you done chkdsk /f on all drives?

have try running disk defragmenter ?

are any of these drives are running out of space? if this the case run disk cleanup utility on each drive

also use ccleaner to remove junk from system drive
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Drives check out okay.  Does this error neccesarily mean a problem?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I think this part of the support kb article refers to your problem exactly Quote:
"An error was detected on device \Device\DeviceName  during a paging operation
In this case, no harmful effects are experienced. For example, event ID 51 is logged when blank media such as CDR, CDRW, DVDR, and so on, is inserted into a writable drive while a USB device is plugged in. The system logs the event even though the disc is writable, and the USB device is still usable. In these particular cases, you can safely ignore the log entries, and no additional action is required."

You mentioned that you did swap some devices while one of them stayed connected all the time. Thus Windows generates the error.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well, I'm not sure if we are on the same page with the swapping comment.

What I meant was, there are three drives total.  One of them stays connected at all times.  The other two are swapped on a regular basis.  At any given time, the one that is always connected AND one of the two swapping drives are always plugged in.  Meaning, there are always at least USB external hard drives plugged in.  Windows throws this paging error for both of them.  The drives are not blank, they are written on daily with backup files.  

Does that make sense with your theory?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
And it generates the error pretty regularly and randomly.  It will show up every 10 minutes, then 30 minutes later, etc.  The drives are not being written to at this time (at least through nothing intentionally running).  
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Let's check if my theory is right. Disconnect the drive that is always connected and try connecting disconnecting the drives to this machine. So one drive at time should be connected. No permanently connected USB drive. Then see if the error is reported again.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
So the fact there is two USB drives at the same time could be the culprit?  Sorry I don't follow, why would that be causing it.  I will gladly test it though, but would need to be on-site.  I'm trying to troubleshoot remotely.  
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
I found this post on the Seagate forum: http://forums.seagate.com/t5/FreeAgent-Products/Sleep-mode-and-Event-ID-51/m-p/32127

I found these quotes interesting:

"ok, i have this answer from Seagate tech support: It seems that the Event ID 51 error is a generic event code that doesn't indicate anything harmful, but just that a drive has been connected."

"An operation that results in an event 51 warning is always retried.  An isolated event 51 warning is harmless if not accompanied by an actual error event, because obviously if the event is isolated in time, the retry was successful."
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Also found this, although it still says it's an issue, just not one with the external drive.  Hmm . . .http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=180615
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I think the first link is pointing to what I did suspect exactly.
And second link reflects the first part of MS KB object. In any case the test will show if we are on right track.
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acl-puzzCommented:
did you try those things suggested in comment id 30170506 ?

 anyways i"ll suggest you to download seatools it fixes most of the common  problems (if yours HDD is seagate)

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Let me preface by saying I have seen these yellow errors in event log and it turned out to be symptomatic of a different problem, not exactly the same so may or may not apply to your inquiry, but might be a clue.  I'll mention the problem second, but first I want to have you think about a general "paging" problem your error suggests.

Something to keep in mind is that the term "swapping" can mean the computer using the system hidden pagefile.sys file on the hard drive(s) as "virtual memory"... and that operation is also called "paging"

So, in the Event Log entries, the term "paging operation" should be referring to that

If you think about it, you do NOT want the computer using external USB drives for virtual memory management.  USB is considerably SLOWER than internal IDE, SCSI, SATA or external SATA (compare USB 2 top channel speed of 400Mbit/s versus SATA 3 Gbit/s.   I would be very annoyed if WIndows was using USB drives for virtual memory.  However we know eSATA is just as fast as SATA and those are "external" so... maybe Windows is that stupid.  A "feature" introduced in Vista was the ability to extend memory onto USB sticks, so I wouldn't put it past them.

So, I suggest one avenue of investigation would be for you to check your virtual memory management settings (Computer, right click Properties (or Control Panel, System) Advaced tab, Performance Settings, (yet another) Advanced tab, Virtual memory Change... to SEE if USB attached drive letters are being used for virtual memory, and I'd suggest, change it so they don't.

Ideally you want pagefile.sys to be defragmented contiguous space so that the MANY times the system "swaps" back and forth between actual memory and this "pretend" memory on the hard drive(s) that it performs fast.  If you're overtaxing your system, have too little RAM, trying to do too much, you might consider more RAM.  I have seen people complain that their old system with XP was fine with 256 or 512 but by the time they've added the hundreds of hotfixes by Service Pack 3, their system is very slow... and when you watch it, the system is spending 75% of it's time and effort and hard disk operations just swapping/paging.  Or memory "leak"ing programs that fail to relinquish memory when done build over time and you rarely reboot can make virtual memory, expand, expand, expand some more.

Second thing, what if you are having real actual disk errors.  What if the hard disk encounters some bad sectors... "during a paging operation" as your error suggests.  That is why some have suggested you use seatools to perform disk diagnostics.  Well, first, you should know that modern drives generally automatically handle bad sectors on the electronics built right onto the drive, but that S.M.A.R.T. monitoring will let the BIOS know at boot time during the POST (power on self test) if the number of bad sectors has become excessive and nearing the threshold where there will be no more "spare" blocks to "badtrack" with.  The system is "weak"...by the time it gets to that threshold you need to be getting a replacement drive PDQ (pretty da__ quick)

Someone concientious like  yourself who actually looks at the "disk" errors in the Event Log and thinks, hey, if there are disk errors, then I'd better attend to it.... well you're right and good going.  Except... we are done a complete DISSERVICE when it turns out the errors are a "opps a mistake" "oh gee are we accidentally trowing abunch of disk errors gee just ignore those" bunch of B.S.  Turns out the error is an error? WTF  So maybe it's disk errors, or maybe it's the "oops" problem described in the Microsoft article... or maybe.....

maybe it's a problem with the "driver"....

I have seen Asus A8N32-SLI motherboards putting clusters of this yellow "disk" paging operation error in the event log.  There were other symptoms however that you don't mention, namely, as often as not when starting up and//or comingout of hibernate it spends inordinate amounts of time on disk activity as if the hiberfil.sys or pagefile.sys were corrupt and had to be "redone", and sometimes the system has BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) saying system not fully ACPI compliant.

That problem, it turns out, is a  problem with the hard disk controller built into the BIOS and the drivers written to go with said disk controller.  The disk controller and/or  driver  is "buggy" and when the bugginess happens, errors duiing paging operation among other things.   The workarounds are to put the SATA controller in the BIOS into IDE compatibility mode, uninstall the driver and let Windows use a "generic" IDE controller driver, which sucks probably means the disks operate alot slower than they could be, but at least trouble-free.

So, in your case, could it be Seagate hard disk driver problems?   Maybe.   Maybe the driver "hiccups" when it tries to do disk operations and has to go through the USB... it could very well be that USB is a bottleneck, and so sometimes disk operations "time out" and have to be tried again, except the driver wasn't expecting that so it raises an event.

Another "reach", I have seen some USB hard disks come with "flimsy" USB cables that were picking up interference in close proximity to the power supplies of computers 'n such.

When you consider the MS Knowledgebase article cited above suggests that these errors can sometimes happen if a "blank" media is inserted and "oops" the driver doesn't quite handle that situation perfectly either... well then a theory that it's a driver "glitch" is rather plausible.

I do hate it when there are errors though.  That's SUPPOSED to mean something is not right, not waste a week researching it just to be told "just ignore it".  "Doctor, it hurts when I do this... "Well, don't do that then""

1. Do backups.  Once in a while, bother to verify your backups.  Perhaps the multiple hard drives being swapped are backups of each other, great.  If not... did I mention do backups?

2.  You don't want to be paging to USB drives, eSATA sure, solid state ok, but not external USB drives (even if the drive is SATA inside the enclosure it's USB that'll bottleneck)   Solution: a) manage your virtual memory management to i) set the external drive letters to 0, ii) ensure you've good and sufficient and contiguous nonfragmented swap space (pagefile.sys) on a main internal hard disk letter or two (or more) and b) your system has enough RAM

3. Perhaps check the drives for errors a) each disk's manufacturer has tools and you need to use the correct manufacturer's, for most Seagate drives it's the seatools.  You could also look into SpinRite 6.  Visit the SpinRite 6 website to get an idea.  Not only can it use highly sofisticated means to try to recover data off bad sectors thus avoiding those files being corrupted, but it is also an excellent PREVENTITIVE measure.  By running it once a year or so you can set aside bad tracks before they fail and before the file(s) ends up corrupt.

4. Research the problem exactly as you are doing.  If your Seagate/ "x brand" external drives are under warranty, check with their support pages, or speak to oeof their experts (beyond/not merely their first level tier 1)

5. Did I mention... have regular backups?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Found out it will be a week or so before we can be on-site and test your theory. Quick question, the nightly backups are running and it says they are successful and the backups have the "verify" option checks which it says is good. The question is, should we be concerned that these paging errors could be effecting the backup images?  Doesn't seem like it based on info so far, but I'd like your opinion.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Oh and yes, each external hard drive is used for backups (on multple drives) but all the drives have these same paging errors so my question still applies . . . Should we be concerned about the validity of backup data on these drives if the job is completing succesfully with the verify option checked . . . But it still throws paging errors in the event log while doing it?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
If the backup verifies as good then no reason to be concerned. For 100% guarantee try to restore backup to rest environment and see what it gives you.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Thanks. We tried restoring a few files and they came back okay. The backups take full machine images. Do you think its neccesary to try and restore the whole image or is pulling a few files for restoration an indication its valid?  
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I would definitely try to restore entire image. Several files recovery is not an exact sign of valid image.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well the images are Ghost images so to restore the WHOLE image would mean to restore the production "server" machine to a point in time image. Is that neccesary or would restoring a large amount of files from the image suffice?  Thanks again for the replies.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I meant restore to any HDD of the size. No need to restore that productions server. If the image restores ok then no need to worry.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
We can try. Not sure if we have any other machines with similiar enough hardware for ghost to restore to though.
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Keep in mind, while your caution and concern are good, be somewhat relieved that it is most likely that the errors are not actual disk errors on all those different disks but are in fact, as in the example of the Microsoft KB article, not a problem at all (except for the fact they're reporting problems that aren't there - that's a problem) OR, as in the controller driver incompatibility example may or may not have other misbehaviour to worry about or, as like the KB article, NOT.

A good disaster recovery preparedness is to test recovering the backups.  However the catch-22 is you don't want to "try" and discover failure on the main working system.  Some large sites have multiple servers that are the same hardware, and since they keep a spare the spare is used.  For smaller or without the luxury of a spare system, it is easy enough to do a "live" test by, as suggested, shutdown and with care take out the working "original" hard drives, being sure to note order and configuration, and then substitute some other hard drives as large or larger and test the entire recovery process.

And even if you choose not to take down the production server long enough to do the test, recovering to other drives added to same or other system  temporarily you could at least get some idea if ALL the data CAN/could be recovered, versus just a file or two.

As an example, let's say a tape backup device was going out of alignment over time.  The backup would verify at the time of backup, but then later when you need it, you'd face the horror that it was unreadable anywhere else.

Are backups cycled off-site regularly?  Backups sitting next to the system give protection against eventual system failure, but don't protect from fire or theft as off-site do.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Yes, at any given time there is at least one external hdd (possibly two) off-site as well as two onsite all with recent copies.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You even don't need similar hardware. Only HDD that you will restore the image to. If it does restore without error - it is ok. No need to boot from this drive even.

Also, try to perform the test with no permanently connected USB HDD. Does it produce the errors?
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webbster20Commented:
Have you checked the power? If these are USB powered, they may be losing access for just enough time to lose paging capability whilst keeping connection.

Also, boot the image with similar hardware if possible. I work in data storage and have seen multiple companies restore backups that verified okay/showed no errors and be invalid or be missing a key component.

Ask yourself this:

Which would be cheaper, buying an identical machine or rebuilding/recreating all the data that could be lost in a gap between backups?

If you are working for a company that is regulated, I'd recommend buying the identical machine, if these are home pc backups, I would not. It depends on what the data on-board is worth and if you can afford to lose it.

If nothing else, restore it to a drive, make sure that, MINIMALLY, the processor architecture is based on the same company and try safe-mode booting the image. Validate all data is intact and move forward. The only verified backups I trust are enterprise grade backups, and even then things can still happen.

Also, look at it this way: If you have a catastrophic failure and no identical hardware,  you will be down during the time you are replacing drivers/having to reformat/reinstall.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well its a small enough office/charity that the data is essential and could be crippling if lost . . . but unfortunately the budget is very small and even this new machine (with RAID) was a stretch and took a while. We can try a restore to similar hardware though or another hdd.

Also, in regards to your question about what would we do if we had to restore in a catastrophic failure and had no similar hardware . . . honestly we would just restore the data from the image and transfer it to a new machine. The data/database would only take about an hour to setup on a new machine. That being said, that's why we considered restoring a large number of files (those files) as backup image verification.  

And lastly yes, the drives are USB powered.  

I believe that was all the questions. Thanks for all the responses thus far everyone.
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webbster20Commented:
This may not yield any positive results, but I would try to use a powered USB hub to power the drive.

Saying this, I have many USB hubs that are powered, and many external drives as well.

I've seen drives drop off due to lack of power, do weird things.

The restore to similar hardware is jsut to see that the data is intact, but the fact that you can restore the important files should be a signal of success.

I apologize for sounding out of the loop, I am used to supporting enterprise level TB sized datasets and ginormous DBs.  In this tier, downtime can mean being fired, etc.

-- No insult meant, if one was taken.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
No problem. The image is nice because it gives the option to restore the whole machine in case of a nasty infection of some sort. Realistically though, if the machine crashed in this small of an enviroment it would be just as easy to restore the data to a different host/server machine (remember its not a true server OS) than it would to try to restore the whole bare metal image to dissimiliar hardware. If Ghost restores the whole data directory without a hiccup we would be good. We just want to verify these paging errors won't possibly corrupt the image despite the verification. Think its worth calling seagate support to get their opinion?
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webbster20Commented:
If they're seagate drives, yes.

They are a good support group. I once requested permission to open an external case and see if the drive I had was bad or just the case, they told me to inform them before and after I did it so they may notate it.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Okay, haven't spoken to Seagate yet, will do that now.  Just some more relevant information, I saw another machine today in a totally seperate place (nothing to do with this computer the thread was started for) and it was running a brand new Seagate Freeagent drive and it had the same paging errors.  

This makes about 4-5 different isolated machines in different isolated locations that I've seen that all have Seagate drives (either the 2.5" or 3.5" verions) that randomly throw this paging error on a regular basis.  Either LOTS of Seagate drives are bad out there from the begining. . . or this is a somewhat normal error on a Seagate?

I did a search on Google and I found several results for this error code 51 on Google matching the Seagate drives.  Ironically, some people said they switched to WD drives and did not get the error.  I wonder what could be happening that is Seagate specific?  I will gladly try your test though next time I'm at the site this week.  
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Did you try to reformat those drives? Problem could be in the way SG formats them. Let's say you use 2 USB HDDs one machine. Format both either via WDM or third party partitioning tool. Delete existing partitions on the drives and create them new with full format. Does the event error return then?
Also did you perform the test I suggested?
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Like I said, I've seen these errors on other situations having nothing to do with usb (internal SATA) or Seagate (WD and other) drives.  It's a "red herring", a "wild goose chase" I expect.  There's tons of disk activity, and every once in awhile a timeout and re-try occurs (which is noted with the error 51) just as the referenced MS and HD manufacturers documentation suggests.
Cann we agree it makes absolutely NO sense to report an "error with paging" to a drive(s) that don't even participate in paging operation whatsoever?  So, it seems like the OS is erroneously reporting that, and several documents say "ya, oops, sorry about that, sometimes when innserting blank media in a drive that happens" and "ya, oops, sometimes there are timeouts and somehow that's what results, ignore it"  Stupid eh.
So what I'm saying is, yes you want to be safe as far as backups, but think twice before killing yourself wasting inordinate time and effort redoing all drives from scratch or whatever, only to discover it still happens and the referenced documented answers are right.
Unless someone is saying the "paging operation" does not refer to virtual memory management but instead also is used to refer to cache buffering operations of each drive? Somebody?
If I could, I'd really press Seagate tech support together with Microsoft tech support.  At the very least it seems an OS issue (and or driver issue) and the errors are incorrect AND misleading.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hi Noxcho, today the machine will run all day with only one external drive connected from boot-up.  The one that normally stays connected all the time will stay disconnected today.  Going by your theory, this should keep the error from occuring, correct?

Yesterday there was a delayed write failure going to the permanently connected ext drive which caused the machine to lock-up.  The machine is in use right now but we will investigate after hours.  Anyone see a correlation?  Seemed like a good time to test your theory though.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Yes, if I understand the description of code 51 by Microsoft then it should not occur.

Yesterday there was a delayed write failure going to the permanently connected ext drive which caused the machine to lock-up - was this drive reformatted since purchase? I do prefer reformatting drives using some third party tools after I purchase them. For example I have seen problems with WD MyBook where weird FAT32 partition was created. Caused lots of issues and I finally deleted their partition and created new one with Partition Manager 8.5. Since then forgot about the issues.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hey Noxcho, I don't believe that drive has been formatted since new.  That is the only drive that is not brand new though.  The "always connected" drive is almost 2 years old and has always been connected to the previous "server" running a sync application and never caused that issue.  

I know the file system is NTFS, but again it may never have been formatted from the original Seagate image.  
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
And that being said, it's been 4 hours running just one of the "Swapping drives."  We should have plenty of log time to test your theory by the end of the day.  No further delayed write errors so far.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
So errors does not occur, do I understand properly?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Not sure yet, will know at the end of the day when the macine is no longer in use and we can inspect the event log.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hi Noxcho, we just checked the logs.  The error still shows up with just one drive attached.  =\
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Ok, final test then. reformat the drive. Nor just simple format of the partition. But delete it. Then using Windows Disk Management create new partition and format it via full format. I am curious if after this manipulation the error will come back. If yes then you can freely blame Seagate.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  Will try that next (probably will have to be Monday).  Any idea if the delayed write error we got the other day could be associated with the paging error?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
We can only suspect.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hi noxcho.  Going to try that now.  Just to clarify, you want the partition deleted and a FULL format done of the drive?  They are 500 GB drives so that may take a while.  The quick format won't do?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Correct. Full format only.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  We will have to do hat when we have several hours to spare and I'll have access before the daily staff returns as the full format takes quite a while on those drives.  I will give it a shot.  

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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delayed reply.  We have support cases open with Seagate support, so until they finish their investigation we haven't been able to try somethign different.  However, they wanted similiar ideas done that you did.

They requested we delete the petition on the drive(s) and then run a QUICK format with no file or folder compression, then try the drive again.  We did that, and it's still throwing the paging errors right now.  Once they finish their investigation to make sure there is no problem, we can try your full format idea.  

Changed the USB cable also, no dice.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Okay so Seagate support is now wanting us to defrag drive C . . . we will see.  They are running out of ideas.  

HOWEVER, I found another Windows XP Dell computer today that happened to have a Seagate freeagent drive connected to it.  Sure enough, it had the errors also.  I'm REALLY wondering how Seagate does not see this more frequently.  I have now found three seperate and isolated computers that have these drives and throws the errors.  They are all Windows XP Dell desktops that have nothing to do with each other (different homes/offices).  

Come to think of it, I havnen't found a Windows XP workstation that runs a Seagate freeagent drive that does NOT have these paging error warnings in the event viewer.

I'm thinking about making a post in the hard drive section of EE asking anyone with that combo to check.  What do you all think?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
And Seagate support has never been reported this problem before, am I right?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well, they have a support article on it.  I posted it earlier in the thread.  Here is a link to it again:

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=180615

Basically, it says it's a system problem and not a hard drive problem.  But . . . they don't really say anything useful.  I am starting to wonder though as I've started paying attention now . . . every time I see a Windows XP machine with a Seagate Freeagent drive, I've been looking at the event log and sure enough, there it is.  

We are actually thinking about formatting a PC at home and throwing a copy of XP on it just to plug it in and see what happens.  If it's noteworthy, all the machines we've seen with these paging errors have been Windows XP and Dell desktops with the OEM image.  When seeing those errors on an isolated XP machine yesterday, we plugged the drive into a Windows 7 laptop.  It did NOT show the errors.

Puzzling.
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Um, I don't want to say "I told you so" .. or wait, maybe I did, sorry.

Do these warnings tend to happen a whole cluster of them at once, or just one or two isolated now and then?  I ask out of curiosity more than anything as I am sorry to say I'm not sure the answer makes any difference.

It really really ANNOYS the heck out of me that the error message talks about "during paging" on drives that don't even participate in virtual memory pagefile.sys's, I can only presume the messaging of the error is itself erroneous (wouldn't be the first time the wording of their error messages is messed up)

I'd suppose the Dell OEM has bus-mastering disk controller drivers specific to the chipsets used on their motherboards, so perhaps there's a wee bit of an issue with their architechture when used in conjunction with the hard disk drivers for the Seagate drives found in the Freeagent model enclosures, which invariably get added when said drives are attached.  Think of it this way (though innacurate I am sure) perhaps there's something akin to a "DLL conflict" between the isk controller drivers and the seagate HD drivers.
Or perhaps it's a USB chipset/driver issue once-in-awhile.  Consider this, it IS possible to saturate the USB channel, I've seen people try to operate a headset and a webcam and a drive and, and, and... and they wonder why the webcam is completely choppy and the drive is slow.  What's the benefit of having 3 or even 7 USB ports IF they all go through the same measly one channel single bus controller chip?  I tend to look for systems that have 2+ USB channels.  Now admittedly you considered that, and tried just one drive attached, but maybe just maybe there are times when the measly max 400Mbit channel can't keep up with the requests that would otherwise scream at faster speeds on direct PATA ISE, or 3 Gbit SATA.  So then sometimes there are TIMEOUTS which raise the error 51 WARNING, and like the documentation says, it then retries 'til it succeeds.

Or consider this, not all drives perform equally, maybe at times it fails to "keep up"?  http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/

That one document from Microsoft that said (paraphrasing) "yeah sometimes when you insert blank media in the optical drive that can happen, our bad, ignore it", well I took that as an indication of, as Charlie Brown would say: "Oh good grief!", or as Deborah Mrs Romano would say: "Idiots"

Just so you know we're not crazy idiots ourselves for questioning the *cough* wisdom of Seagate and Microsoft *chokes on his words* and anybody else involved in the architechture in question, I offer for your entertainment the example of the ASUS motherboard which would time-to-time throw-up a couple dozen disk error 51 warnings at a time, which would be accompanied not long thereafter by blue screens of death, reboot, and all might be ok for another day.  Scan the drive 'til you're blue in the face narry an error found.  Those warnings were in fact warnings something wasn't right.  Turns out, there were "irreconcilable differences" between BIOS, disk controller embedded on the motherboard, and NVIDIA chipset drivers for same; "dumbing" it down to using the generic IDE controller mode and generic driver *cough* "solves it" as it's still not "properly" fixed to this day. http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/Q_25881907.html?cid=1573#a31405244
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the responses!  Okay, so after going through the whole ordeal with Seagate support, they tried a few things.  Format the drive (quick not full), delete and re-make the partition on the drive, run chkdsk and disk cleanup on the C: drive (primary windows drive the externals are connected to) and finally after none of that helped, this was the final response today.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Thanks for the update.  I have a link from http://support.microsoft.com that explains Event ID 51. These errors are okay, and are not by the external drive but rather is part of the memory management of Microsoft Windows. Here's that link:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q244780

If you have any further questions regarding Event ID 51 I would suggest speaking with your computer manufacturers or even Microsoft.  They should have more information on these Event ID's for you.

If you have any questions or run into anymore problems, feel free to reply back to this e-mail and we'll be glad to help you out. Thanks for choosing Seagate. Have a great day."

Regards,

Seagate Technical Support
Oklahoma City, OK
ref:00D0hhzl.50038rxpl:ref
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Um yeah, about what I expected.  $@^*
Well, you could try escalating with Seagate, if you think you can be convincing that you believe this to be an enormous problem these errors and wild goose chases that something about THEIR product and THEIR drivers seems to be causing with Windows (and yes admittedly Windows shares in that responsibility) and that you'd like to escalate however high in Seagate support you need to so that Seagate support and Microsoft Windows support get together on this and rectify the completely misleading message and the cause of it.
When that fails to get some action, I would suggest taking it more public.  Try contacting the good folks at GRC (Steve Gibson) and see what they say about this whole thing.  They don't take too kindly to serious problems being swept-under and usually have some sway in getting somewhere with it.  Could try Leo Laporte and the techtv/Lab with Leo folks, or Steve Dotto Dotto's cafe.  Another avenue might be to try choosing an editor at CNet, one who is active in the CNet blogs perhaps.  New York Times has a well-respected technology section.
Or, you could just accept their Charlie Brown at Hallow'een answer: "I got a rock"
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ocanada_techguyCommented:
Would this be the wrong time to write "I told you so?" (sorry, couldn't resist)
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
It's okay, I would say it too.  :)

So anyway, today we were told of a Windows 2008 Server R2 that gets the same paging error from brand new USB Western Digital Elements drives.  That's the first time I've seen it from a drive other than a Seagate.  The only corolation I can find is that both the freeagent and the elements drives are USB powered drives.  That being said, I do believe I have seen the same error from a Seagate drive that had it's own power adapter on a Windows 2000 Server box in the past.  

Can anyone following this thread who has a external hard drive always connected to a Windows XP or Windows Server 2008 R2 humour me and look through their Windows System event logs for some yelllow warning logs that are error 51 paging?
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well, we were persistent with Seagate and they just stick to saying that if it checks out in Seatools, it's probably good.  

Well we will know soon enough if it's OS related.  This machine is getting formatted and turned into a Windows 7 Pro machine in the next 48 hours.  I'll post back with the results then and close this out!
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Peter ByeRetiredCommented:
Hi Jsmply,

ocanada_techguy pointed me to this thread so I just saw your request to be  humored from April 27.

I'm presently dealing with what may be a similar issue with Event 11 (the driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk6\DR6) errors in the event log but seemingly normal drive operation.

WD My Book Drive Failing or Not, Given Windows 7 Event Log Errors?

This is a WD My Book Home edition 1 TB USB drive permanently connected to a Dell workstation. Sorry - it runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

I'm still in the midst of troubleshooting the problem so I have no solution to offer. I'll be keeping my eye on this thread as well.
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hi Pete. Thanks!  Ironically, this machine is being upgraded to Win 7. We will see what error (if any) we are logging then. Please keep us posted. What kind of Dell workstation are you using?
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Peter ByeRetiredCommented:
It is a Dell Precision T7500 workstation with an  Intel Xeon E5530 CPU.

Indeed - I noticed your comment about upgrading to Win 7 Pro. Hopefully the errors will disappear.

Pete
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Interesting, this machine is a Dell precision also (different model though).
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Well, this particular error did dissapear when upgrading to Windows 7.  Will spread the points around.  Thx!
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Thx all!
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
Hi Ocanda and others who followed this thread.  Interestingly enough, this machine throws a new error that may be related now under Windows 7.  Would you mind looking into this thread?  Thanks!  http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_26182013.html
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JsmplyAuthor Commented:
We wanted to update this to anyone else facing this issue.  We have noticed this on a lot of various machines, all running Seagate drives.  We now have a Dell machine running Western Digital drives and they are NOT throwing this paging warning.  It really seems like it may be a Seagate issue.  Go figure . . .
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