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External drive keeps switching on and off under W10

Posted on 2016-10-10
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Last Modified: 2016-10-10
Ever since upgrading to W10 my external drive keeps switching on and off every few seconds.  I always have to disconnect it unless I need to use the data on it, and then it takes ages to get at the data because it switches out just as I am selecting files.

I cannot figure out why the system is accessing that drive as it only contains backup data.  I thought it may have been something to do with indexing, but I have disabled that.

Any ideas as to what to try next?
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Question by:jdthedj
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41837539
If one of the other experts knows what the cause of the issue that will be great, as the method I'd use is a bit tedious.

Download a copy of Microsoft Process Monitor.

Set it to monitor as shown below.

Let it run for a minute or so (assuming that the issue is occurring every few seconds, a minute should be long enough).

Then examine the captured events for something that happens at the same rate as the disk issue.

Side note:  There is also a spin-down time that is settable in most external drives' firmware, but it doesn't sound like that is the issue here.  I'd investigate that only if other methods don't work out.

Process Monitor
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837613
Thanks for the reply Dr Klahn -

It's coming up with "INVALID PARAMETER Control: FSCTL_IS_VOLUME_MOUNTED".  It's giving the same message for another virtual drive (Macrium Reflect), but i have no problem with that one.  Do you know how I determine what the invalid parameter is? (and how to fix it)
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41837635
Is there an antivirus installed in the system?  If so, which one?
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837653
I use Avast antivirus
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 41837656
Very probable reason: it does not get enough power.
Is it a USB-powered device or does it have a separate power supply? Please try other USB ports and, connect the power supply if you didn't do that already.
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41837657
Try disabling it, and see if the problem persists.  Some antiviruses hook into all sorts of things in the system that they should not be touching.
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837668
@McKnife - It is USB powered, but i have two identical WD drives, and I have no problem with the other one.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 41837669
So, then please for a test, exchange the drives, I mean, leave the usb cable of the working drive plugged into your computer and disconnect it from your working drive and connect it to the on-off-drive.
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837671
@Dr Klahn - I have already excluded that drive from scanning and shield protection.
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837673
@McKnife - It's still giving the same problem, so must be somewhere else.  As i said in the original question, it's only started happening since I upgraded from W7 to W10
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Assisted Solution

by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 250 total points
ID: 41837675
OK.  Then I have to agree with McKnife, and say it looks like a hardware problem.  If swapping the cable doesn't solve the issue, it's probably the drive.  Take the drive to a different system, hook it up there, and see if the problem persists.

Since the drive is doing this spin-up spin-down business, it won't be possible to pull data off it.  If there's information on the drive that must be recovered it'll have to go to a recovery company such as Kroll Ontrack.
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Accepted Solution

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McKnife earned 250 total points
ID: 41837676
Look jdthedj, when you have two identical drives and one of those has and the other hasn't got the symptoms, you need to blame it on the drive. It is probably faulty, drives often die.
Please try and connect it to another computer and create a backup of the data.
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Author Comment

by:jdthedj
ID: 41837698
OOOPS - my last comment didn't save.  I really appreciate all the replies.  I went next door and borrowed their computer, and my external hd worked fine.  i made a copy of everything onto a memory stick, so now i can use the data fdrom my own computer.

I'm not 100% convinced that drive is faulty, but I will purchase a new one anyway.
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