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Thread: Haunted Hard drive




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NM
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    Default Haunted Hard drive

    Dear Tweaktowners,
    I have a haunted WD3000JB Western Digital 300 gig hard drive. Originally I had it in a Wiebetech Toughtech 800 enclosure - early on it corrupted, maybe because it was disconnected from the pc during a scan or lost power during an outage? I'm not sure. Anyway, I reformatted and all seemed fine...until...I decided to switch it with my internal slave drive - a WD2000JB (200gig). After switching the drives over - they both still worked absolutely fine... but then after experiencing too many glitches with the versioning/registry entries of 2 GIS/image processing programs, I reformatted my master internal drive (C:\) (another WD2000JB) and reinstalled XP. After I reinstalled xp (sp2), the slave WD3000JB apparently corrupted again. My computer would not recognize it despite having the correct drivers. I'd just got a second WD3000JB so I replaced the original WD3000JB slave with the new WD3000JB. I put the twice corrupted old WD3000JB back in the wiebetech and tried it on my friend's gateway - it could see (but not read) only one of the eight directories and a system folder (also unreadable). Then I tried it on an IBM thinkpad p3 running xp sp1. the thinkpad could see and read all the directories/files. Unfortunately, the image processing I do has to be done on my desktop - it's the only thing powerful enough and the huge image files must be backed up! Soooo I decided to back up all those files and reformat the WD3000JB a second time - for this 2nd reformat, I used the thinkpad. The 2nd reformat apparently completed just fine - I copied a couple of the directories/files back on to the drive but I left most of them off ... just in case.

    In the meantime the new slave WD3000JB - now inside the desktop where the twice corrupted WD3000JB used to be - absolutely refused to format at all. It would get to 31% and then stop and click-click-click. A physical failure. That was removed and sent back to newegg.

    For a while, everything worked well - I ran both the old WD2000JB (the original slave) and the twice corrupted WD3000JB as external drives. The WD2000JB found a home in a Vantech NexStar3 enclosure, the WD3000JB in the Wiebetech enclosure ....BUT THEN ONE DAY (monday this week) ... I turned on the twice corrupted WD3000JB and it showed the old directories and files from the time before the second corruption - disk manager on the desktop suggested it was 1/3rd full, even though the current files should have been using about 20 gig only. None of these directories/files were accessible. Sooooo I plugged the twice corrupted WD3000JB into the thinkpad, which once again saw and read the new directories and files correctly - not the old ones. I reformatted the now thrice corrupted WD3000JB AGAIN and it was fine for a couple of days but today it's happened AGAIN! I can see but not read the files/directories from before the third reformat and I cannot see the new files/directories.

    SO now I will get to the point - I want to keep this drive as an extrernal back-up but how can I format it so that when plugged into my desktop it doesn't revert to old directory structures? I know a reformat doesn't destroy the data on your drive - but this thrice corrupt drive seems to automatically retrieve old information that I don't want. I should add that the second and third "corruptions" were not really corruptions - I could still read and write to the drive - but it would lose new stuff and only see (but not read) old stuff from before the most recent reformat.

    I would be grateful too if someone could explain what is going on. Surely it's not haunted - and why are all the other drives fine? (Apart from the dodgy wd3000jb that physically failed and had to be returned). Is it the mobo (ASUS P4c800e deluxe?), xp sp2, wiebetech or the drive itself? If it is the drive... is it something to do with the boot sector? [I was also wondering if jumper settings could have caused this problem: when I first mounted the now thrice corrupt wd3000jb as an internal slave, I was told by a well-meaning friend that the jumper should be set to slave - he didn't know about cable select and my machine is actually set up for cable select.]

    Many many many thanks for reading this and huge thanks in advance for any ideas :0)


    PS... each time I reformatted I chose one primary partition
    Last edited by Pris; 08-26-2005 at 02:12 AM. Reason: add info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Texas, USA
    Posts
    4,825

    Default Re: Haunted Hard drive

    Strange symptoms to be sure. I don't know that I've ever heard of a system automatically retrieving old data before... when you reformat the drive it leaves the data but zeroes out the MBR and FAT entries. I'm not sure how the system is rebuilding these structures.

    A few of things you might try follow:

    1- Check out the WD website for a diagnostic utility to check for any known problems. This should eliminate a physical problem from being the culprit if it comes out clean.

    2- Check the same website for a low-level formatting tool. This type of formatting can be harmful to a drive if used regularly, but in the case of your problems it may be helpful.

    3- Get your hands on a wiping utility and do a "Government Wipe" on the entire disk surface. A normal wipe will just randomly write 1's and 0's across the data areas but a Government type wipe will cover the entire disk surface 3 times with 1's and 0's. If you do a full disk wipe you will need to recreate the partitions you need.

    None of these ideas will answer the WHY part of your problem, but I'm not sure offhand what the cause might be. If you find out, please let us know so that it can be referenced in the future if needed.

    Good luck!
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
    My Toys

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NM
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    Default Re: Haunted Hard drive

    Hi Darthtanion,
    thank you for your help. I tried the diagnostic tools from the WD website and unfortunately the tools themselves only see the drive as a logical drive not a physical drive because it's on a USB port. I called their help line and the techie I spoke to said she'd not heard of the haunting problem before but then WD did not support putting their hard drives into 3rd party enclosures. Odd I think, since that's what anyone wanting more gigs for their money and no room inside their machine is going to do! Anyway, she was very helpful in one thing (especially since I couldn't retrieve the serial number without opening the case again). She said to put thrice corrupt drive back inside on the ide controller and write zeros using their diagnostic tools and that should restore it to 'factory' condition. We shall see! If not then I will move on to the Government Wipe. I'm going to skip doing the low level format for now and use it as a last resort.

    In terms of what the problem might be... I had a brain wave - is it possible that system restore is responsible? Is it somehow triggering itself to run on this one drive I wonder? It would be so much more satisfying to blame Microsoft for all this hassle!

    thanks again,
    Pris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Texas, USA
    Posts
    4,825

    Default Re: Haunted Hard drive

    I've not heard of system restore being that automated. You could try turning it off, though, and seeing if it solves your problem. I wouldn't think so, but I certainly don't have a better answer right now. Besides, system restore generally just keeps records of previous system settings to let you roll yourself back for a blown driver installation. There are programs, however, that do this sort of thing. GoBack comes readily to mind but I'm sure there might be others that do similar things. Again, I don't know that they are this autmoated, but it may give you another direction to look.
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
    My Toys

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