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Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 18th, 2017, 14:35

Hello.
I'm trying to pinpoint the problem on a friend's drive and hopefully fix it using software instead of some recovery service (priced out of range for us).
The disk is "My Passport Ultra" (500GB).
He shuts down the system and removes the disk every night. He reconnects it next morning to work.
It was working fine until yesterday night but this morning it refused to start. Its light keeps flashing and eventually Windows claims that the disk needs formatting. It also did some clicks during the time this was going on. He claims that it did the same sounds when it was getting shut down for some time before today.

I took it to my laptop to check it.
1) Windows 7 saw it and installed the drivers for it. When i tried to start it up, I also got its flashing light but no clicking sounds. Windows assigns it a drive letter but claims that the drive needs formatting.

2) I downloaded and run the WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic 1.31.
It sees the assigned volume letter but not the drive.

3) I downloaded and run the WD Drive Utilities 1.4.3.13.
It saw the drive and its size.
I run its SMART status and it passed.
Then I tried the Quick Drive Tests. Instead of taking a few minutes, it has been at it for a few hours. It went a bit slow but it got stuck for good at 90%. No idea what it's checking at this point.

Next I will try some other utility to see if it finds any data so I can back it up.

As is, can anybody make an educated guess where the problem might be and if there's a chance for it to be fixed with some software.
Assuming he didn't leave the drive on top of some magnetic source and everything has actually been erased :)

Thanks in advance for any pointers.

P.S.
I forgot to mention.
In the WD site they refer to Power Booster Cable. In the case the drive needs more power to startup for some reason.
I can't find it anywhere so if anybody knows of a source for it, I wouldn't mind getting and trying it.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 18th, 2017, 15:41

Can you post the full drive model?

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 18th, 2017, 16:30

Nothing written on the case other than "My Passport Ultra".
One of the programs I run, had added a 0810 after the name.
There's a serial number in the back and some code (0414B with an R/N 08B -- I think, it's hard to read) that doesn't seem to be the model number.
Windows' Computer Management only shows: 465.73 GB RAW Healthy (Primary Partition) 100% free.

I started running Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery and that shows 0KB free (??) out of 465.72 GB. It didn't find any data in the Quick Scan and is now doing a Deep Scan. After 25 minutes, it shows no files and is still at 0% of phase 1 of 7. The expected hours go up and down in the 1300 hours area.

I don't expect much from it but I got some indicators.
When it searches, the drive is whirring quietly. No funny sounds, or dead-quiet.
It looks like it has actually been cleared somehow. I need to find a utility that can verify that in some speedy way. Maybe a hex editor with sector viewing capability?

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 18th, 2017, 18:35

remove the drive from the enclosure and you will find the full model on the WD label.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 0:15

I can't.
It's a small thin cigarette box-like enclosure with no screws I can see.
I'm not comfortable tinkering with this type and wouldn't want to risk causing any problems on somebody else's disk.

I just tried browsing the disk with a hex editor.
The data is there !
There is a boot sector, a series of sectors starting with INDX, jpeg, zip, doc files.
Jumping to 0x100000 sector, it still had data.

Why the hex editor can see it and Phoenix can't, I've no idea.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 2:12

If it helps, I found out the model using DMDE.
It shows this:
WDC WD5000LMVW-11VEDS6 : 01.01A01 : WD-WX81A6384857

When I selected the drive, it started the scan and threw two popups:

Partition searching... #2 LBA: 976 707 583

LBA: 976 707 583 (try 1): WinError 1117. The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.

I could retry the operation or ignore it, but I canceled out for now till I know more.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 3:34

Clone the drive with HDDSuperClone or ddrescue. Then work on the clone. A CrystalDiskInfo SMART report would be useful.

Can you show us DMDE's Partitions window?

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 6:38

I can't set up a Linux CD/DVD at the moment so ddrescue etc, aren't possible. I'll try (overnight) some other Windows program and hope they do as good a job.

CrystalDiskInfo (standard and Ultimate) couldn't see the disk.
But Nirsoft's DiskSmartView found it. I'm attaching a text file with the SMART info.
SMART.txt
S.M.A.R.T. text file
(20.69 KiB) Downloaded 11 times



As for DMDE, it hangs right away in partition searching at the last available LBA. I guess it scans in reverse (?).
When I interrupt it, it shows whatever partition data it has identified. I'm attaching the two screen captures of this process.
dmde_stuck.jpg
DMDE stuck in scanning
dmde_stuck.jpg (27.16 KiB) Viewed 394 times

dmde_partitions.jpg
DMDE partitions

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 17:20

The SMART report indicates that the drive has physical problems.

    Description: Read Error Count
    Raw Value: 0
    Normalized Value: 0
    Worst Value: 0
    Threshold Value: 0

    Description: Reallocated Sectors Count
    Raw Value: 0
    Normalized Value: 0
    Worst Value: 0
    Threshold Value: 0

    Description: Seek Error Count
    Raw Value: 17,014
    Normalized Value: 1
    Worst Value: 1
    Threshold Value: 0

    Description: Reallocation Event Count
    Raw Value: 0
    Normalized Value: 200
    Worst Value: 200
    Threshold Value: 0

    Description: Current Pending Sector Count
    Raw Value: 48
    Normalized Value: 200
    Worst Value: 200
    Threshold Value: 0

    Description: Uncorrectable Sector Count
    Raw Value: 0
    Normalized Value: 100
    Worst Value: 253
    Threshold Value: 0

DMDE has found a single NTFS partition starting at sector 2048 and ending at sector 976707583. The "Indicators" column indicates that the partion has an entry in the partition table ("E", sector 0), a recognisable boot sector ("B", sector 2048), a recognisable MFT ("F"), but there is no backup copy ("C") of the boot sector. This backup is located at the end of the partition (sector 976707583). Unfortunately this latter sector is unreadable, so that's why DMDE stumbles.

Try this:

    r-click the My Passport partition
    select Open Volume
    expand the Root

Do you see your file/folder tree? If so, then select any file and recover it to another drive.

If all is OK, I would clone your drive, sector by sector, and then recover your files from the clone. I would begin the recovery by restoring the boot sector backup copy. That's a single-click operation in DMDE.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 19th, 2017, 20:17

could try Partition Find and Mount. it is free windows software, simple to use.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 23rd, 2017, 3:38

Sorry for the delay but I was trying various things that kept the laptop buy.
It looks like I failed getting anywhere.

1. The partition Find & Mount, in its faster mode, got stuck at 0% for at least half an hour and I stopped it.

2. The DMDE suggestion to right-click the partition and Open Volume, was victim to the problem I get with all the programs.
The partition scanning hangs on: Partition searching... #2 LBA: 976 707 583, and when I stop it, the partition directory entries etc show as zero. Right-clicking on the shown partition and Opening Volume, hangs there forever.

3. I then tried to make an image of the disk using R-Studio (allowing 1 read sector attempt).
Too many failed sector errors and after 4 hours with no percentage shown in the progress bar, the remaining time was 1 year 8 months. Probably longer than I'll live so no point waiting for it.
One thing that was interesting in its log, was the spacing of the sector errors.
Every 12 sectors there was an error (from error to error, it was around 29 seconds).
I can't tell if it this related to some platter or electronics.

I'm out of ideas at this point other than making a Linux DVD and trying ddrescue to get at least an image out of it.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 23rd, 2017, 9:02

if the drive is working somewhat, professionals tools may be able to image the drive without costing an arm and a leg. If you are thinking of ddrescue, why not try hddsuperclone instead? you can use it as a livecd, meaning no install necessary. This option is available with lots of distros, even could make a USB for this. just research it a bit so you are sure what you are doing.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 23rd, 2017, 19:40

From what I have read in this thread, this drive is likely to be an easy recovery for a professional. So it would probably be at the lower end of the price scale for pro recovery. I would think in the US it could be something like a $300 recovery.

But if there is no way the owner is willing (or able) to pay, then you are very limited. It sounds like it is suffering from the WD slow issue. HDDSuperTool can sometimes fix this on USB drives, but not always. Do a search for "wd slow fix hddsupertool". Read multiple results from the search to get a better idea, don't just read the first one and think you understand it.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 24th, 2017, 3:35

Thank you all for the suggestions.

I'm not sure how much I can persevere with this, considering how long it locks me out of my personal work on the computer.
It's extremely interesting stuff but it needs more resources than I have available (slow laptop, using external USB disks for reading/writing).

Anyway, I got the HDDliveCD with HDDSuperClone and ddrescue in it but haven't tried it yet.
I've seen some articles on the WD slow disk fix but not sure if it applies in this case. Because of the partition and the sector read errors, I thought my problem was in another category.
Whatever the case, my biggest problem for now is to get an image of the disk to try things on, but it doesn't look like I can get that image in this lifetime.

On the good news side, I found a recovery lab that identifies the problem and the recovery possibilities for free. If the recovery is sufficient and their cost is within my friend's budget, he'll go ahead with that. Otherwise I'll get the disk back to destroy on my own :)
I'll post later the outcome of this.

Much appreciated for all the advice.

Re: Identify problem with WD external USB drive

May 25th, 2017, 13:20

roocoon wrote:Thank you all for the suggestions.

I'm not sure how much I can persevere with this, considering how long it locks me out of my personal work on the computer.
It's extremely interesting stuff but it needs more resources than I have available (slow laptop, using external USB disks for reading/writing).

Anyway, I got the HDDliveCD with HDDSuperClone and ddrescue in it but haven't tried it yet.
I've seen some articles on the WD slow disk fix but not sure if it applies in this case. Because of the partition and the sector read errors, I thought my problem was in another category.
Whatever the case, my biggest problem for now is to get an image of the disk to try things on, but it doesn't look like I can get that image in this lifetime.

On the good news side, I found a recovery lab that identifies the problem and the recovery possibilities for free. If the recovery is sufficient and their cost is within my friend's budget, he'll go ahead with that. Otherwise I'll get the disk back to destroy on my own :)
I'll post later the outcome of this.

Much appreciated for all the advice.


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