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[Seriously need help] External hard disk causes hard drive failures & OS crashes

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by masterton, Jul 4, 2009.

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  1. masterton

    masterton Thread Starter

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    [Seriously need help] External hard disk causes hard drive failures & OS crashes
    The thread is rather long. Only read what you think important. Skip the rest!

    We have a serious but mysterious problem. We have spent already one week but drawing a blank.
    Two hard drives have been crashed and failed (unreadable). One computer has hung a few times unexpectedly and had one weird restart (no memory dump produced).
    I suspect all the recent problems have to do with the new USB external hard disk (Buffalo MiniStation Lite: HD-PE250U2).

    **********
    Formatting USB external hard disk
    **********
    Originally I would like to use the program given by Buffalo to format the external drive once but we failed. We simply used Windows to reformat the drive into NTFS. I did not use the TurboSpeed advertised by Buffalo, or run its free program.

    **********
    Case A: Multi-transfer causes system crashes?
    **********
    The first time we met the problem.
    We were trying to help a friend to backup data on an old drive, about a few years old. We plugged in the Buffalo USB portable hard drive and transferred a whole lot of files to the drive. Several cop/cut-and-paste operations were active at that time. The whole system completely froze up. It doesn't respond at all. Only a hard restart could help.
    Restarted. Tranferred again. Several cop/cut-and-paste operations were active.
    Hard drive crashed - the beginning of the nightmare!
    Windows restarted. Chkdsk was running. Saw many lines of messages with:
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"
    ......
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"

    Chkdsk run very long time (perhaps a hour or so), complaining that some couldn't be fixed, some okay.
    Initially I thought it was simply because it so happened that the hard drive failed in the middle of transfer. But the same nightmare occurred when we tried to plug it into another computer.

    **********
    Case B: Open folder causes system crashes?
    **********
    I plugged in the Buffalo USB external hard disk on a laptop computer.
    I tried to check if transferred files were safe. I have no ideas how to check but it looked okay.
    Some files were transferred to and from the external hard drive. I made sure only 1 copy-paste operation was active this time.
    Then computer hung for a while and displayed Blue Screen of Death. (I recorded the message on a piece of paper but it was lost later).

    Restarted. I believed chkdsk was automatically run and fixed some errors found (not too sure about this). I resumed the work. I made sure only 1 copy-paste operation was active this time.
    The system hung this time when I double clicked on a folder (to see what contents inside). Another Blue Screen of Death popped up later:
    KERNEL_STACK_INPAGE_ERROR
    0x00000077 (0xC000000E, 0xC000000E, 0x0000000, 0x009C7000)
    Info on this BSOF: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q315266

    Computer restarted. Chkdsk was automatically run. Nightmare again!
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"
    ......
    "File segment record XXXXX is unreadable"

    Chkdsk attempted to fix the problem but it complained "not sufficient space". Then I received STOP: C000021a Unknown Hard Error

    Oh my gosh! What's up? I don't believe it so happened AGAIN the hard drive failed when some actions were performed between the hard drive and the USB external hard disk. I started to feel something went very wrong. Is it virus?


    **********
    Case C: Scanning for virus causes system crashes?
    **********
    Searching on the net didn't find any case which was similar to mine.
    I tried again on a new computer. Fresh Windows copy. New hard drive (less than 1 year old). Only a handful of programs were installed.
    I downloaded Avira and did on-demand scan for my internal hard drive first. No virus was found. Was I safe now?
    I plugged in the USB external hard drive and scanned this drive for virus.
    My new computer froze when the scanning was close to completion (I believed the progress was about 90%)

    Computer restarted. No chkdsk was run automatically. I scanned again from scratch.
    I paused it after a while. I had a weird thought that the USB external hard drive may crash our system when it's overloaded.

    Then I was browsing on the Internet (perhaps a few hours or so). The scan was kept "paused". The USB hard disk was still plugged. My computer hung again when I tried to click to view a video on YouTube.

    **********
    Case D: System crashes without USB hard disk
    **********
    OK! I switched the computer off completely and unplugged that "devil".
    Using the computer for about one day, computer hung again at night.
    Hmm... This computer is new. What's really wrong if it isn't related to the USB hard disk?

    **********
    Case E: Transfer a large file causes system crashes
    **********
    This test attempts to transfer a single large file (4.33GB) from USB external hard disk to my computer
    First attempt: System restarted mysteriously in the middle of transfer. I set it to display BSOD when crashes. The computer shouldn't restart. I didn't see any memory dump either.
    Second attempt: System hung after the transfer.



    I'm desperate! It's just so strange! I have absolutely no ideas why something like this would happen.

    My questions:

    1. Really what's going wrong? I don't think USB external hard disk is such a so unreliable product. There must be something I'm missing...
    2. What checking tools (free or paid) do you recommend to verify whether the transfer is faultless, files being safely moved/copied?
    3. What file recovery tools (free or shareware) could I use to recover (at least most of) lost data in the hard drives? The tools have to be well (professionally) written. I tried a few but all failed to recover all except a small portion of data. Professional recover services are out of consideration because I know it's very expensive and the data isn't utmost important.
    4. How could I save/recover data from the laptop computer? I tried to go to safe mode but failed. I received STOP: C000021a Unknown Hard Error. Chkdsk once complained "insufficient disk space" when attempting to fix "file segment unreadable" error. Is it the cause? I also inserted SeaTools CD to do a scan. It said it's loading something to the RAM drive (I had only 1 internal hard disk on the laptop computer). It's loading but never finish. I couldn't even enter into the main screen of SeaTools. I could only see a black screen.


    Tell me anything else you want to know.
    Ask me any piece of information which helps to troubleshoot the very root of this series of problems.
     
  2. Megabite

    Megabite

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    11,761
    In all the problem the common denominator seems to be the USB HD........

    Go to the Buffalo site and see if they have a diagnostics you can download and test the drive..........if it comes back OK then reformat the external drive and see how it goes.

    If the diagnostics fail or you have the same problems after reformatting the drive sent it back
     
  3. masterton

    masterton Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    It seems so but how come the USB HD could be so unstable that it would damage computer components and even crashes the system. I always wonder if I'm missing something which I don't realize. :confused:

    Not any I'm aware of.
    Besides the site looks really crappy and buggy:
    http://www.buffalotech.com/support/downloads/ministation-cobalt-portable-usb-20-hard-drive-hd-peu2/

    Typing the serial number gave me such a php error.

    Warning: in_array() [function.in-array]: Wrong datatype for second argument in /home/sites/site13/web/support_validate.php on line 109

    (n) (n) (n)

    We couldn't reformat the USB HD. Some data are stored here.
    Considering the fact that it seems very unstable to copy back data from the USB HD. I got no clue how to save those data before reformat.

    Would you mind answering those questions too if you know the answer? We are struggling to recover after such a mysterious disaster:

    1. What checking tools (free or paid) do you recommend to verify whether the transfer is faultless, files being safely moved/copied?
    2. What file recovery tools (free or shareware) could I use to recover (at least most of) lost data in the hard drives?
    3. How could I save/recover data from the laptop computer?
     
  4. Megabite

    Megabite

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,761
    DId you get a Disc with the EX hard drive?
     
  5. masterton

    masterton Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    No, I don't think so.
    The contents are simply stored in the external HD.
    I'm afraid to plus it back now but it doesn't seem to provide any diagnostic tool as far as I know.
     
  6. Megabite

    Megabite

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
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    What is the Serial number I will have a look but the site is not user friendly
     
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