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 Post subject: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged SA?
PostPosted: April 27th, 2019, 14:24 
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Joined: April 27th, 2019, 13:03
Posts: 4
Location: France
Hello everyone. For those who might recognize that name, they probably wonder why I'm posting here since I should know the basic rules about data preservation and failure prevention. And I am. Besides, I would never ever myself buy one of those solutions companies like Western Digital, Seagate or even Samsung or whatever want you to buy as an external hard drive. My external hard drives are all enclosures I buy in order to fit regular SATA drives in them and do not contain sensible data (or are used for backup purposes). I also do computer repair as a hobby and a service as long as it remains within my skills.

tl;dr version: Faulty My Passport drive, suspected damaged SA or access to SA impossible as it won't show its correct capacity in WD Drive Utilites and any VSC command is ineffective. Drive also clicks once every 60 seconds but stops clicking after 3rd attempt (and keeps spinning). LED remains stationary, until the 3rd click is heard (blinks slowly from that time).

If I'm here, it's because one of my neighbours recently lend an external WD My Passport for Mac hard drive to me so that I can transfer its data to a newer drive (well, another My Passport... people do whatever they want and don't learn their lessons it seems).

The drive in question is a My Passport for Mac, P/N WDBJBS0010BSL-05. Inside resides a 1TB USB-only WD10JMVW-11AJGS2 manufactured 2015/11/24.

The first time I plugged it into my regular machine (Windows PC), I saw that the drive worked and was accessible but had a partition of an unknown format of the correct size (931GB). Testdisk even reported an HFS-formatted partition. Silly me, this is a "Mac"-formatted drive, I won't be able to read it in my usual environment without the proper tools.

I safely ejected the drive and let it rest for one day. Then I tried plugging it into an old Powerbook G4 I had lying around to see if it would mount. And that's probably the biggest mistake I could have made at this point, even though it could simply be a coincidence. The drive wouldn't appear within the Disk Manager. I let it plugged in for a little while (5 minutes at least) and it would never show up. My trouble and nightmare began at this point. The second mistake I made was not paying attention to how the disk activity LED reacted. I also unplugged the drive without properly unmounting it as I had no option to do so. And to clear the situation up, I know the USB ports on this G4 aren't faulty, as other drives work and are mounted properly on this machine (it takes time, but they eventually show up into Disk Manager).

I then tried to plug it back into a Linux environment (Xubuntu live USB drive) and install hfsutils to see if it would mount. Again, nothing. Then I moved on to my Windows environment. From there, I started to get scared. Windows now suggests me to initialize the drive. Installing WD Drive Utilities now reveals the drives is now a "0-byte" drive!!! None of the scan options work. Not even turning off the LED (its button is glitched) or enabling the standby timer.

Now the drive does the following :

- Spins up, takes time for the USB-to-SATA bridge to get recognized but it eventually gets recognized
- LED never blinks fast, as it should on a good and working My Passport, it stays stationary
- 60 seconds after being plugged, the disk clicks once, stops spinning and then spins again
- Same thing after 60 more seconds, and it does it a third time, then it keeps spinning without doing anything
- LED starts blinking, but slowly, and continues to do so until I eject the disk
- In WD Drive Utilities in Windows, the Erase section reveals 5 failed attempts at unlocking it, which is wrong as the drive never had a password (also shown as 0-byte)
- On a modern Mac, WD Drive Utilities does report it as a 1TB disk but yield similar glitches to the Windows version with a difference in the Erase section (no mention of failed unlock attempts)

What I tried so for :

- In hddsupertools, not a single command seems to work or take effect which seems obvious if access to the SA can't be had
- In WDMarv, the disk is always recognized as garbage and none of its functions do anything, the spin down and spin up commands are ineffective, the Detect button reports different and inconsistant values each time

It looks like, from what I read on previous thread I read here, that I managed to either damage the Service Area of the drive I have no idea how, or some unhappy coincidence happened during the time I decided to plug it into my old Powerbook G4. Here are the possibilities of failure I think could have happened :

- SA was damaged because the drive might not have received enough power on the G4
- The drive was old anyway and some unhappy coincidence made the USB-to-SATA bridge malfunction and made access to the SA impossible
- As I don't know the previous life of the drive, it might have failed previously but I didn't get any info in that way, suggested that the drive was good until it got on my hands (but I found some burnt traces on the PCB suggesting it probably overheated some time during its life)

What I did try with another similar spare drive (My Passport Ultra of 1TB) I had lying around, which can't be formatted (I/O errors):

- That other drive is recognized instantly in Windows, and is showing its correct capacity, WD Drive Utilities functions aren't glitched and work as intended
- The LED blinks fast when recognized
- I tried the same set of manipulations I did with the other drive on my old Powerbook G4 to no effect, the drive was still working (I even unplugged without unmounting twice, the second time being powering off the G4)
- I even dropped that spare drive intentionally on the floor from a height of 10 centimetres while in function and it still works and is recognized properly
- WDMarv recognizes it properly and commands are effective
- On my old G4, it takes some time to get recognized but it does appear in Disk Manager (as empty, and is indeed unformattable)
- No burnt traces on its PCB

That spare drive isn't important to me and could be used for experiments on my side as I said it's unformattable (SA is in intact, but the user area is probably filled with bad sectors).

So I'm now prisoner of that delicate situation where a hard drive that someone lend me to transfer data has stopped functioning correctly while in my hands. I have no choice now. I'm also in a situation where I think I can't do anything more by myself now, outside of doing a PCB swap between the spare drive and the malfunctioning one (with swapping U12 too, which I never did before).

Before attempting to perform any risky task, I wanted to have suggestions from knowledgable people here. To see if it's really me who screwed up, or this is just bad luck. At this point I'm even ready to give the drive to a specialist, granted I won't have to pay too much. Other threads suggest it's not a PCB problem, but anything is possible.

Thank for your reading and your comprehension. I don't have high hopes and am ready to get yelled at but who knows.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 16:48 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:49
Posts: 10828
Location: Portugal
I think this is way out of the scope of a Do-It-Yourself recovery ...

Maybe someone near you are willing to help ?!

You stated on my forum that you do need to recover this drive, assuming that you are in France as you did post on your location let's see if someone near you can offer some help !

As alternative you can try to PM for example pcimage in UK and see how much it would cost this recovery ...

memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=5866

Regards.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 17:53 
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Joined: June 16th, 2018, 12:09
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Location: Turkey
Do not play with this drive.
I think there is bad head issue. And platter could have damage when playing with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 18:39 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:49
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Location: Portugal
HddDonorMarket wrote:
Do not play with this drive.
I think there is bad head issue. And platter could have damage when playing with it.


Agree ... Not to mention slow issue, etc ....

Anyone can PM the OP offering some help and a price for the service ?

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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: May 14th, 2019, 10:04 
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Joined: April 27th, 2019, 13:03
Posts: 4
Location: France
@Spildit, @HddDonorMarket: Thank you for the replies. I perfectly understood this got outside any DIY attempt by now. I stopped playing with the drive after writing this post. Its behaviour wouldn't change anyway.

I didn't notice any suspicious noise outside spinning (no friction or grinding), suggesting platters may still be fine, but I could be wrong.

I was curious to see what factor could have harmed the drive this way, or if anyone would recognize that pattern of events (I couldn't find an entirely similar case). My incident occurring while plugged on the Powerbook might be just a coincidence.

I'm open to hear propositions at this point. I'm ready to get the wallet out, hoping it's not a deeper mechanical issue (those My Passports are always full or surprises and never the best ones).

Also, my apologizes for cluttering my previous post. I wanted to be the most detailed possible but I then realized my post wasn't so well organized.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: May 14th, 2019, 13:36 
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Joined: June 16th, 2018, 12:09
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Location: Turkey
I had 2 experience with passport drive , came to me after dropped . I could get over 95% data from them but both drive strached platter when cloning. So I could say , Passport head issue would cause damaging platters easily. Needs more careful .

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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: June 20th, 2019, 6:48 
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Joined: April 27th, 2019, 13:03
Posts: 4
Location: France
Just reposting here to ask if any of you offering data recovery services could PM me a price or an idea of how it may cost me considering what has been agreed on this thread regarding the drive: faulty head(s) resulting in unreadable SA, platter damage uncertain (they might be still intact), no grinding or friction noises.

I can provide an almost identical donor drive (same model) with no firmware/SA problems.

Unrelated to this incident: I managed to partly recover data from DIY attempt of mine on a Samsung 2.5 SATA drive with head stuck on platters. Add me to the list of people who insist that opening a drive with no experience and in an unclean environment is an extremely bad idea. I only did it because the drive owner didn't care and was ready to "play the lottery" (quoting my words here). The drive has increasingly failed (slower access, increasing grinding noises) to the point of the main partition being inaccessible. So, to people tempted to do it, for a fun experiment on a rubbish drive yes, but never on an important or someone else's drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Digital My Passport for MAC seen as 0MB, damaged
PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 14:11 
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Joined: April 27th, 2019, 13:03
Posts: 4
Location: France
I'm posting again because I now have more crucial info regarding the drive from its owner. I was told the drive was beginning to fail way before it got in my hands, and was working intermittently. Its owner gave me this drive in order to back his data up before complete failure. Unfortunately, it "completely" failed before I could even do something with it (as said before, it only worked for a few minutes).

Its owner would like the drive the drive for the next month if possible. It would be nice if someone could give me an offer. The owner aware he is going to pay a certain amount to get his data back, but he "absolutely" want his data back.

Thank you very much for your understanding, and sorry for the bother.


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