Disk errors but chkdsk and Seatools find nothing; BSODs possibly unrelated

Starting on 2 September (Day 1) and continuing today 3 September (Day 2) I have been experiencing Disk errors / warnings. This afternoon there were also a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and a second reboot that may have been a BSOD within a 20 minute interval. The Disk errors and the BSOD may be unrelated.

On Day 2 I temporarily enabled the Excel Solver add-on and installed three new software packages:

Ubit classic menus for Excel, Word, PowerPoint
Ubit classic menus for Outlook
ASAP Utilities for Excel

I experienced one BSOD and one reboot (possibly another BSOD) shortly after those installations. On the BSOD there was a message CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT message. I don't know about the second event – it happened while I was away from the computer – I just saw it had rebooted. I disabled the Solver add-on in Excel, but the three software packages are still installed. The system has been operating fine for almost five hours since those two events.

The BSOD and reboot sent me to the Event Log looking for issues. I noticed that on Day 1 things started with an Event ID 129, iaStorA with the message:

Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort3, was issued.

BUT NOTE: There is no RAID configured on this system.

Then a couple minutes later a continual string of Disk errors started, all associated with Drive 3, an external Seagate Backup Plus 2TB drive that has three volumes. All are Event ID 154, Disk. A couple expanded messages below as samples:

The IO operation at logical block address 0x0 for Disk 3 (PDO name: \Device\00000058) failed due to a hardware error.

The IO operation at logical block address 0x0 for Disk 3 (PDO name: \Device\00000056) failed due to a hardware error.

Interspersed are Warnings Event ID 51, Disk; sample messages:

An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk3\DR9 during a paging operation.

Windows 10 chkdsk /F finds no problems.

Seagate SeaTools for Windows quick test finds no problems.

MY QUESTION: It seems the Event Viewer sees disk problems yet chkdsk and seatools find nothing. Any suggestions for what to do next to determine whether the drive is truly having a problem?
Peter ByeRetiredAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
try the full test in seatools.  A drive that is failing intermittently is very hard to diagnose, just assume it is bad and replace it (hopefully still under warranty)
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nobusCommented:
you can also post the dmp file for us to look
seatools here :  https://www.seatools.com
you can also run HDDregenerator (not free)
see my document on how to handle disk problems : http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
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Thomas UCommented:
I think you have 2 possibilities:

Your HDD has an Hardware error.
Your Motherboard is defective.
(maybe, but just maybe, use a different powerconnector from the PSU to your harddrive, sometimes powerissues can relate to that)

In such a case, I do following.
1. Backup anything you can.
2. Remove the harddrive and connect it to a different computer, make a FULL surface test
 
I use the software (bootable DVD) PartedMagic for almost anything such related
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I just started the "fix all" long test with the latest version of SeaTools for Windows. It will probably take 4-5 hours to run.

nobus - the link you meant is probably www.seagate.com. I do not see mention of a DMP file. Is this the log file accessible from the test results tab or something different?

Thomas U - I think your comment about a power connector assumes this is an internal drive. As I mentioned in my original post this is an external USB 3.0 drive. It has its own AC power cube.

I'll update again once the SeaTools test completes, and also read nobus's article.
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Thomas UCommented:
didnt' read all of it, too much text...you should have stated that the Drive is an external one at the very beginning.

After I read thorough through your post...use a different USB port, try again.
Check device manager for driver updates/errors.
maybe there are also drivers for your seagate external harddrive even if its not necessary.

check.
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nobusCommented:
you said you haid several BSOD's - these generate dmp files, as specified in their message
you find them in Windows\minidumps

i must say i also overlooked the fact it was an external disk; anyhow, here's how to run diags :  http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/006153en
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Sorry I was insufficiently clear that it is an external drive.

The Seagate full test is still running. I'll follow up with those details when it completes.

There are no files at all in c:\Windows\minidump. Does Windows 10 work differently? Here is a picture of the blue screen that appeared with the first event yesterday in case it is helpful:

BSOD Screen Picture
The BSOD above occurred yesterday, 3 September at 4:09 PM local time. I did a search for .DMP files on all of the C: drive. There are none with close to this timestamp. There were four DMP files with a Modify date of 3 September and one today 4 Sept. None are at the time of the dump although I can attach any you feel may be useful:

List of DMP files
I'll follow up when the Seagate full test completes.
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nobusCommented:
where were these files located?  if not in minidump?
it can help if you post these anyway; a previous problem may lead tot he startup blue screen
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Each file's full path is in the right-most column of the table in my previous post.

I am posting all except the one that is larger than 2GB. I included a WATCHDOG file I found from 30 August since the BSOD error mentioned clock-watchdog-timeout.
stxcon.exe.10740.dmp
stxcon.exe.11884.dmp
stxcon.exe.13968.dmp
win32k.sys-20180902-2158.dmp
WATCHDOG-20180830-1755.dmp
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
The Seagate "Fix All Long" test completed normally. No errors found.

Through this time, the Windows system log continued to record the same Event 154 Disk errors I described above.

Bear in mind that this is an external drive that I use for various disc images and data backups. It has no "original" information. As of now, I tried accessing a few files on the drive and that works fine. Obviously, that is not a full test.

What do you suggest?
* Try HDDregenerator?
* Replace the drive?
* Something else?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
If the drive is under warranty replace the drive, if not use HDDRegenerator
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I should have mentioned that the drive is five years old and out of warranty.

Does HDDRegenerator work so well that one can have full confidence in the drive afterwards?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
HDDRegenerator/Spinrite can be used periodically as a preventative measure to get rid of weak sectors.  They are also very disk intensive and an already weakened drive can catastrophically fail.  Most of the time they do a good job of resurrecting bad drives.

Drives being mechanical do wear out.. I'd replace it now and copy over the existing data
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web_trackerComputer Service TechnicianCommented:
I have used both hddregenerator and spinrite, they both work well to help recover data but do take a long time to run depending on the size of the drive and what options you choose to run it can take 12+ hours to run. If data is recovered great. But I would use neither of these tests on a drive that is failing since the drives will cause the whole drive to fail since these tests are causing the drives to run steadily producing heat and extra wear and tear, so use these applications at your own risk as you may lose everything, then even a data recovery place will not even be able to recover data. This happened to one of my clients who had lots of wedding pictures on, and even the data recovery specialists state that the platters were too damaged to recover anything.   I would look at replacing the drive and migrate the data off of this drive to the new drive.  Then if there is data still missing use the data recovery tools to recover what is left.
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nobusCommented:
all i can say is  itried it with maybe 50 drives - and none failed; most - not all recovered nicely, and never were brought back in later
afaik it does not run on usb drives
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Perhaps the External Hard Drive enclosure or cabling/power could be failing and not the drive itself?  

Is the drive removable?  Maybe you can remove it from the enclosure to rule out issues with the enclosure.  

However removal does not look easy without maybe some physical damage on the case:
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Seagate+Backup+Plus+Hub+Disassembly/77495

I am not sure of the exact model of your drive.  I just provided that link as a sample.  Also there are some Youtube video documentations on teardown of some variations of the Seagate Backup drives.
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nobusCommented:
does it come with a power supply?  if so try another one if possible, or test it
btw - i looked at the dmp files, but they wer not conclusive,
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DanOwnerCommented:
I use DC Defrag, now called MyDefrag, it does allot moves files to the start of the disk, marks bad spots and all much better than any others I have tried, and it's free.

http://www.mydefrag.net/
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.

nobus - a big thanks for checking the .dmp files. That is a mystery for another time, I guess. There have been no further crashes.

As for the external hard drive, my conclusions based on all your inputs:

I will first try a different USB port and if the errors continue then I will replace the drive. If you're interested, my reasoning follows:

Since it is just the one drive, the cost of HDDRegenerator or a similar utility that works on a USB drive does not seem warranted. It is about the same cost as a new drive, and my own further use for it is limited.

Since the drive continues to generate Disk errors in the Windows system event log it seems something is wrong even if the full tests (chkdsk and SeaTools) found nothing.

Once a drive starts producing errors in the event log I tend to mistrust it.

Disassembling the drive does not seem worth it in this situation (no irreplaceable data). I do not have a substitute power supply to try.

NOTE: Assuming the USB port swap has no effect I will probably open a follow-up question about which brand of drive to get. BUT I'll do that in a separate new question. I think it is unfair to load too much into one issue.

Thanks again,
Pete
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
The other option I was going to throw out there before your latest comment came in was to disconnect the drive from the system safely and then test the system to rule out the drive if there wasn't any production work on the drive.  If it's all data.

And of course trying it on a second computer to see if the issue persists with the external drive.

But seems like you have a game plan.

As for the Watchdog BSOD, I found this to be interesting:
http://www.troubleshootwindows.com/windows-8/fix-clock-watchdog-timeout-stop-bluescreen-error-in-windows-8/
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
A big, positive development:

I moved the external drive to a different USB 3.0 port on the computer. For about 2.5 hours, no Disk errors. I then used compressed air to clean the cable and the original USB port connector, and connected the external drive back to the original USB port. For slightly more than three hours, no Disk errors.

In the Windows Event Log I do see, in this 3+ hours back on the cleaned original USB port, ten Event ID 7040 Service Control Manager Information events alternating between two messages:

1. The start type of the Background Intelligent Transfer Service service was changed from demand start to auto start.

2. The start type of the Background Intelligent Transfer Service service was changed from auto start to demand start.

I am assuming these do NOT suggest a problem.

It appears simply Removing/Replacing (and possibly the cleaning) the USB cable fixed the Disk error problem? I am going to continue monitoring this for the rest of this evening into tomorrow morning to be sure.

Separately, thanks, Wakeup - I'll keep the BSOD article you mentioned in mind.

Pete
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nobusCommented:
you did not answer my question : does it come with a power supply?  if so try another one if possible, or test it
if it came without one, it can be the pc does not deliver enough power on the usb 2 port : 5V at 0.5A max
on a usb3 port, it delivers the double
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Hi nobus, the drive has a separate AC power supply. I do not have another one to try.

I have not yet checked this morning, but last night after removing and replacing the USB cable there were no more disk errors.

Given this, could the power supply realistically be a problem?
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
At the present moment if the drive appears to be working properly, then chances of the power supply being the problem is potentially very low or unlikely.
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nobusCommented:
could simply be a bad usb port - was it a front one maybe?
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Hi nobus, The original port where the problem showed up is a rear port. It then worked fine on a front port. And then after blowing some compressed air on it, the same rear port was working fine for about five hours yesterday. I've just turned on the PC for the day so I'll continue monitoring it.

It seems odd to me but it seems simply removing and replacing the USB cable may have fixed the problem.

Pete
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nobusCommented:
that is possible, - to be sure, you can retry the "bad' cable, on this, or another system
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
My terminology in the previous post may not have been sufficiently clear. By "remove and replace" I meant "remove and reinsert." It's the same cable. So I was saying it looked as if removing the USB cable from the rear USB port and then reinserting the same cable back into that port (having cleaned the connector with compressed air) fixed the problem. BUT see below.

But, things are getting more confused. With the drive in the original rear USB port today it again started generating Disk errors. So as a test I moved the drive to the same alternate front USB port I used yesterday. It has been on that front USB port for just over four hours, with no Disk errors.

This suggests a defective rear USB port. I plan to leave the drive on the front USB port the rest of today and again tomorrow to see if it continues running error-free on the front USB port.

Is there some other way to test the rear USB port?
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Disk errors started occurring with the external drive connected to the alternate front USB port. It took more than five hours for them to start.

So now I have seen Disk errors from the drive connected to two different USB ports - one rear and one front.

As one final check I will connect the drive to a laptop computer and see if it starts generating errors there.
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nobusCommented:
you can use another external drive - or even a ram stick, though these do not take as much current
when it generates errors - check in device manager for errors
is the port loose, or does it fit snugly?
this  page has several options :  https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/windows-stop-code-memory-management-bsod/
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I am concluding the drive is unreliable although there are mixed signals.

I connected the external drive to a USB 2.0 port on a laptop and did not generate errors. I left this connected for about four hours.

I then connected the problematic external drive to a different USB 3.0 port on a USB 3.0 expansion card in the desktop. The drive immediately started generating errors. I rebooted the machine. A little more than one hour after rebooting (1:05), Disk errors started again.

So the drive creates Disk errors on three different USB3 ports on the PC but did not generate Disk errors on one USB2 laptop port. Maybe it would have generated errors if I waited longer; I do not know.

I inserted a memory stick drive in the original rear USB3 port on the PC and will see what happens.

Nobus - you asked if the USB connector fits tightly into the original rear USB3 port. Yes, it fits very snugly. Cables on all these USB ports are changed very infrequently.

I think I will plan to replace the drive. I will open a new question with some questions about selecting a new drive.
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nobusCommented:
it could also be a problem generating from the pC
did you try what i posted above yet? when it generates errors - check in device manager for errors
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Hi nobus, Thanks for following up. I forgot to ask about this. When I look in Windows Device Manager I see the following:

In General tab, Device status:

This device is working properly.

In Details tab, properties:

Problem code: 00000000
Has problem: false

Under Events, there are only three:

Information      7/10/2018 10:46:49 PM      Kernel-PnP      410      None
Information      7/10/2018 10:46:49 PM      Kernel-PnP      400      None
Information      7/10/2018 10:46:49 PM      Kernel-PnP      440      None

I could post the detailed text for each event but nothing in them seems to indicate a problem.

So I do not see any indication of errors in Event Manager. The only place where I see errors (the ones listed in my original post)  is through the Event Viewer in the Windows System Log. What do you conclude from this?
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nobusCommented:
ok- but "When I look in Windows Device Manager I see the following:" did you look when it was generating errors?  if not you won't see anything
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I noticed over the past two or three days that Windows sometimes says the external drive is disconnected and the three volumes on that drive disappear. The drive is plugged in during this time. I need to reboot or remove and reinsert the USB connector for the external drive to get them back.

Today I saw that while the drive is disconnected, error code 45 (drive disconnected) appears in the Device Manager Device Status window. (I have to view hidden devices to see the drive at that point.)

Earlier today while the drive was connected to a different rear USB port and producing Disk Errors about every five seconds in the Windows system event log I did not notice error messages in Device Manager. I then reconnected the external drive to the original rear USB3 port where I first saw Disk errors earlier today. Since then the drive has not disappeared or generated errors in the Event Log.

It is a difficult situation to diagnose given that the drive can run for hours after a system boot or drive connection before producing errors.

Unless someone can rationalize why I should still trust the drive I plan to replace it, using guidance from the other question I submitted. https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29117178/Need-recommendations-for-new-external-hard-drive-on-Windows-PC.html 

I'll keep this question open a little while longer and then close it.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
It may be the external carrier that holds the drive that is faulty. Replacing the drive and if the disk errors continue would confirm this.
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Hi David, That makes sense although it is a packaged Seagate Backup Plus drive so I don't think I want to get into opening that case. Going with a dock and internal drives will make that a much easier diagnostic in the future.
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
Does it appear that potentially the drive is overheating?
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
no; the enclosure is slightly warm to the touch but nothing that seems problematic.

My focus now is on replacing it due to the varying symptoms noted above.
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Again, many thanks to everyone who helped diagnose and develop a solution for this problem.

I ultimately decided to assume the drive is bad and replace it. Contributing factors: the errors occurring on several different USB ports although in an inconsistent manner and the drive's age (5 years).

Many of your comments helped diagnose the problem.
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nobusCommented:
you said "  I noticed over the past two or three days that Windows sometimes says the external drive is disconnected "   -- and that is exactly what is happening imo; it can be a fault in the cable, connections, interface or in the drive itself - impossible to tell like this
though i believe, since disk diags do not find errors - that it's not the drive itself that is at fault
i recommend using a drive dock instead - and haveing several cheap drives for backup
here's mine : https://www.startech.com/be/nl/HDD/Docking/dubbel-sata-hdd-dock~SDOCK2U33
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