Backup drive... DOA

edited November 2012 in Help & Testing
I noticed this morning that my back up drive was still powered on, even though my laptop was not docked, and it would not turn off.  The drive does not show in explorer either, and does not respond to rebooting, power cycling or 'find new hardware'.  I pulled the USB and power cord and noticed that there is signs of electrical arcing between the plug and DC-In port.  The thing has been quietly chugging away for almost 7 years now, so maybe it was due to die anyway.

It is a WD 250GB "My Book" External Hard Drive... Model WD2500i032

I put it in the freezer just now to see if I can bring it back to life, even temporarily.

Any suggestions for a replacement?


  • This is why I use carbonite for backups.

  • Another WD external.

    They seem pretty reliably durable over the years.
  • BTW... I had backed up my laptop on another drive at home last week (an ooold LaCie/Porsche Design 80GB drive) so the critical stuff is covered, but I also had archives of music/video/proposals/oft files etc.  Not critical, but would be nice to have access to regardless.  

    When I power up the WD, it sounds like the head is trying to access the platters and you hear 10-12 taps at a consistent pace. Then silence.  Does that mean anything to any of you with regards to the level of fubar that the drive has reached?

    1TB portable drive w/ USB 3.0 for $84

    2TB for $150
  • It means your harddrive has gone from SNAFU to FUBAR.

    There are companies that can do recovery, but to do so is an expensive proposition.

    Any old portable will work.  Western Digital is fine.
  • I ordered the 1TB model linked above, it should show up next week.
  • edited November 2012







    Why don't people use this gadget?

    If the main hd for the desktop or the laptop fails I have a spare all ready to go...

    Family tech support is made easy when used with Spinrite



  • edited December 2012
    I've had three wd mybook terrabyte drives die in the past year (each about 1 year old). Two were the versions with the external power supply, one portable fwiw. Hopefully yours works better.
  • Regarding data recovery I couldn't find anything that worked (made a thread here about it iirc). A little bit ago I found testdisk. AMAZING.

  • Regarding data recovery I couldn't find anything that worked (made a thread here about it iirc). A little bit ago I found testdisk. AMAZING.

    Steve Gibson's SpinRite is #1.

    Ever listen to his podcast?




  • I haven't heard of him. I may subscribe to his podcast. That said testdisk is freeware. Also, that guys website is horrible. 
  • Regarding data recovery I couldn't find anything that worked (made a thread here about it iirc). A little bit ago I found testdisk. AMAZING.

    I gave this a crack, but the drive still isn't recognized.  Is this a Windows7 specific tool?  I'm running XP on this machine.
  • ZedZed
    edited December 2012
    I pulled it apart this morning, thinking it might be the power supply or serial/USB convertor that shat the bed. I'lll hook it up to a serial cable tonight at home to see if I can access the drive (it is just a WD internal drive with the serial/usb convertor in a plastic box).

    Meanwhile, the replacement drive came in, and it is amazing how small it is compared to the old drive. It is about the size of a pack of playing cards, only slightly wider.  The attached picture shows the old 250GB drive, on top of the My Book housing, next to the 1TB My Passport and a standard Sharpie for reference.

  • Zed, I think it is windows 7 specific, however i am not totally sure. did the program even run for you? You could go to wds site as they have stuff (though it didn't work for me).

    I also did what you are doing and tore the drive apart fwiw.
  • ZedZed
    edited December 2012
    Yes, it ran and the screens looked pretty much like the demo showed.  I think it should work on XP too though. At the source site they offer multiple versions. I'm using the "Windows" version, and also downloaded the DOS version to play with just in case. I've looked around for some WD utilities, actually some came prepopulated on the new drive.  However, the drive doesn't even show up in Windows drive management.  What is encouraging though is that I can hear the drive spin up.  I'm not getting any errors, it just isn't there.  I have also tested the USB cable and that is good, so I'm thinking it might be the USB/Serial adapter portion of the drive that is shot...I'm hoping anyway.

  • If you need I have a couple spare usb/serial adapters I can send you. I have had those go bad, and the problems you describe sound exactly like what I had.
  • ZedZed
    edited December 2012
    Thanks for the offer, I might take you up on it.  In the meantime... sorry for the probably stupid questions, its been a while since I poked around in a desktop and messed with configuring drives.

    My old XP desktop at home has a spare drive bay, spare power connector and spare connector on the IDE ribbon.

    IDE Cable = ----------Icon1------Icon2
    Power Cable = ----------Pcon1-------Pcon2

    Let me know if this sounds like it should work...

    Bootable (Maxtor) = HD0 (40GB), jumper set to Master
    External (WD) = HD1(250GB), jumper set to Slave

    HD0 gets Pcon1 and Icon1
    HD1 gets Pcon2 and Icon2

    edit: poop... it booted up but it can't do anything with the WD.  Even if I turn off Primary Drive 1 (WD) in the system setup (but leave it cabled up) it hangs the boot process.  When I pull the WD out, it boots fine.
  • edited December 2012
    That's beyond my expertise. I've simply spent a lot of time recovering data when my primary and subsequently two back up drives failed within a month or so of each other.
  • Don't you have the Master and Slave backwards?  I thought slave sits in the middle and serves data through to the Master device.  Or have I gotten those mixed up and backwards since its been so many years since I tinkered?
  • Hey Zed -

    Yeah, when the electronics go on a drive, it'll cause issues, basically sending the wrong signal to the controller regardless of how the pins are shorted.

    It was possible on the older drives to unbolt the entire electronic board and bolt in a new one and be able to recover data. 

    It is likely very possible that your data is still there and accessible, but you may need to send it out to a professional place to recover it, if you really need it. 
  • Or, and another thing:  hard drives have spinning disks.  Eventually, if they are stacked near to each other, they tend to synchronize.  Thus, for example, in a small RAID setup, when the disks are right next to each other, they will fail more or less in unison.  It's a weird thing but not uncommon.
  • Veritas - I have that exact unit, and I've used two external 3.5" hard drives for backups.  One can even plug those right into an Apple Extreme wireless router (or any router that can share drives via the USB port) and access the data from anywhere in the wireless network.
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