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Western Digital External Harddrive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JamesJD125, May 1, 2012.

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  1. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    I was given an external hard drive by a friend of mine. When I got it, it was working fine, it could read and write - transfer files and worked with all my computers.

    I decided I wanted to use it as my iMac backup and for that it required to be reformatted. So I used the inbuilt Disk Utility. but I ended up with the error message

    Unable to write to the last block of the device.

    I left it on my Windows PC overnight and it was still reformatting about 8 hours later. When I plugged it into my Mac, it had a partition, but I can't do anything with it on my mac. and when i try to make a partition on my mac it get the same error

    Unable to write to the last block of the device.

    Nothing I do seems to work!!
    Many websites have just said that it's dead and to get a new one or send it to an expert, but I like to give these things a try. I've got nothing to lose.
    Anyone got any ideas, from software to hardware.
    When I open it on my computers it's not connected as a drive, it needs to be initialised.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Try a partitioning tool. Or Windows Disk Management. It really doesn't sound good for the device, but if only the last block is bad, you may be able to create a partition that leaves it out. Leave a GB free at the end and create your partitions. You can create the partitions on Windows and format on the Mac.

    Then it would be a good idea to test it with a test from WD before trusting it with data. But always make backups, anyway.

    Files that are not backed up are files you should expect to lose.
     
  3. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    That's okay, I'll give it a go. I got all my files before the original format.
     
  4. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    I tried making partitions but I kept getting the same error
     
  5. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    JamesD125, try using the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics to write zeros to the drive; and then try again to partition and format it.
     
  6. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    MedicMorphine, if you wish to not have you account removed just like your post I'd strongly advise you not post anything stupid like that again.
     
  7. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    Frank4d I've downloaded it and started using it.
    It's been stuck on Current Sector: 39260415 of 3903817950
    for about 10 minutes now.
    I did restart it and it gained a few million.
    but now the estimated time remaining just increases by about a minute ever second.
     
  8. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    It then popped up with too many errors with sectors.


    Any ideas?
     
  9. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    Snub-nose .380 from 25 feet?

    Sounds like its useful life as a data storage device has concluded. You might try SpinRite on it but if its sector-hemorrhagic it won't be able to correct them all and its not a free program.
     
  10. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    So what exactly does it mean? What are sectors? blocks? Why has it suddenly died? what has actually happened?
     
  11. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    Sectors, blocks, tracks etc. are all defined subsets of a drive's areal description; sort of like describing where someone lives, say Chicago is equivalent to a block and the specific address in Chicago is the sector. A computer has to keep track of where everything goes and when one of those sectors fails, it means the data from it cannot be retrieved; if its just one or two they can be replaced from a reserve but if tons of them fail, its a goner.
    Why does it fail? Well the platters in there are spinning at 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute, really delicate read/write heads have to come out and float on a few microns of air just above the data and retrieve or write it in an area so small its ridiculous...frankly, my opinion is its a wonder they work at all, much less as well as they do most of the time.

    Specifically, the read/write actuator could be losing its precision, one of the arms could have touched and scratched the surface, the firmware could be losing the ability to adjust enough to compensate for normal errors that occur all the time and are corrected; difficult to tell exactly, we look at the symptoms and a drive with mounting sector errors is on the way out whatever the reason because they have to be working or the drive cannot properly function.
     
  12. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    So If i were to send this to a specialist, what exactly would their first move be?
     
  13. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    For data recovery? If so, not sure but they will try to evaluate the drive in the least destructive manner possible to try and figure out what is wrong and how to retrieve data. Check out a website like myharddrivedied.com for more info.
     
  14. JamesJD125

    JamesJD125 Thread Starter

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    I have all the data off it, before I originally formatted it for my Mac. I was just wondering what the "expert" would do to make it work again.
     
  15. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    They'd just say replace the drive, anything they do to try and repair a drive would be cost-prohibitive, part of the evaluation is determining what the problem is and therefore how much work is going to be needed...sometimes they have to completely disassemble and move the platters to an exact make and model drive and sometimes all that's needed to recover data is a deeper scan with professional tools; again, all designed to get data back, not to fix the drive per say.

    The one thing I stay away from buying in a refurbished state is a mechanical hard drive. I tried it once with a 20 gig drive to let you know how long ago that was; it failed again within a month.
     
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