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WD green 1.5 (EARS) mystery

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This has been a mess of a week thanks to this drive. I'll try not to make a page of text. Lets see if I can recount accurately (staying up till midnight trying to fix it is somewhat hard on the memory):

Background on drive... western digital green 1.5tb EARS, purchased march 2010, never had a hiccup before this. Was about 80% full, but thankfully the really irreplaceable stuff I have burned onto DVD.

Out of the blue on Sunday I can't open a folder on this drive. Reboot, it gives a message before loading windows that says "SATA port 6 error". Reboot again, Windows 7 runs chkdsk on it automatically. Says it finds about 200 'orphaned' files. Whatever, it runs it, then boots up. I can see the drive, I can access about 90% of it. Drive won't run faster than PIO4.

I attempt to grab essential data, about 600MB into it (at 600Kb/s thats a while) the drive disappears from windows. Awesome. Reboot, windows hangs at the glowing windows booting screen. Hard drive light says lit solid, no chkdsk runs. Let it sit a couple hours in that state, nothing.

I then powered off, disconnected the drive, booted up, and plugged it in via e-sata. Every time I tried this windows got really sluggish, the farthest I could get into the drive was seeing one folder's contents (thankfully it's the one I wanted, and I wanted a picture of the filenames), and couldn't get into administrative tools>computer management>disk management (hung on 'connecting to virtual disk service'). Tried running windows-based diagnostics (WD's win_dlg, seatools) and fails short and extended tests quickly. It won't even complete quick SMART polling. Couldn't run chkdsk /f manually because windows wouldn't let it have a drive letter long enough. Tried uninstalling it, and device manager crashes. Awesome.

At this point, any time the drive was on, it would click every 3 seconds. For some reason it only likes to do anything at all if it's upside-down. Not a good sign.

I decided it was time to get out ultimate boot cd. Went into parted magic and tried testdisk; fails every test I run within seconds. Bad sectors everywhere it says. Nothing will get far enough to let me see the SMART data.

Try to grab some stuff with Photorec. It works for a couple minutes before crash-clicking sounds come from the drive. Ugh.

Finally (now five days of effort later) I give up and check for warranty - still qualifies for a replacement. Yes! Just need to wipe the drive before I send it in, I hate my personal stuff not in my possession. I ran parted magic's system tools>erase > software write-zeroes. Takes 6 hours (I honestly expected it not to work).

Now that it's empty, it's happy again. ***! Now linux will talk to it. That means it's time to power down, plug in the system drive, and boot up.

Will windows boot now? YES! Does it see it? YES! It initializes, it formats, it passes SMART tests, it goes through chkdsk /f like it was built for it. ZERO bad sectors found.

Freakin EARS... what the heck. Now WD probably won't warranty replace it because it's not broken anymore.

I was worried about missing the CC over this. Blasted stressful.


edit: I guess I should pose a question. Does anyone know what would cause this?
Edited by Iroh - 5/11/12 at 10:37pm
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post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iroh View Post

edit: I guess I should pose a question. Does anyone know what would cause this?
I suspect mechanical/magnetic failure of some sort causes it. My original EARS drives perished in the same way. They built up Reallocated Event Count over the months, then suddenly there were tons of I/O errors, I couldn't access folders, and speeds plummeted to maybe a megabyte per second.

Zeroing a drive may occasionally "fix" it, or it may also push it over the edge. I suspect there's many ways for drives to perish, although they all appear the same externally. I would assume if the head on a drive was weak and it was having trouble flipping bits, zeroing a drive would make its job easier. But if the actuator was having trouble, stressing the drive may have the opposite effect. Sadly all we are presented with is SMART info, which may be exactly the same for different problems.

You could hold onto the drive for a while as an experiment to see how long it lasts - but write yourself a note to remember to RMA it before the warranty is up. I wouldn't trust a drive that displayed such flakey behaviour - especially in the long term.


Oh - how many months did it last before it went crazy? I'm wondering if it'll happen again in roughly that many months?
     
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I really don't want another 1.5tb experiment. I'd rather WD send me an equivalent EARX to replace it.

It ran for two years before this happened. There was no warning at all.

Which column should I pay attention to, 'value' or 'raw value'? I suppose it doesn't matter, this drive still reads bad either way to me. How is it passing SMART???

90e8605a.png
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post #4 of 11
ID 5 / 196 / 197, dont trust that disk, just rma and get a new one.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
RMA is in process. Thanks for input.

I was worried it may have been the result of a mainboard fault or something like that. I know my M4A785TD-V hasn't proven to always be the most rock solid sheet of silicon on the block.
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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iroh View Post

I really don't want another 1.5tb experiment. I'd rather WD send me an equivalent EARX to replace it.

It ran for two years before this happened. There was no warning at all.

Which column should I pay attention to, 'value' or 'raw value'? I suppose it doesn't matter, this drive still reads bad either way to me. How is it passing SMART???

90e8605a.png
That smart data says it's completely dead.

I think the "OK" means it read the data ok. biggrin.gif Not that the drive is healthy.

Raw Read Error Rate - 9047 -> Dead (Only applies to WD drives - most other brands report anomalous data here)

Reallocated Sector Count - 349 -> Dying
Reallocated Event Count - 259 -> Dying
Current Pending Sector Count - 926 -> Dying
Uncorrectable Sector Count - 84 -> Dying

Write Error Rate - 650 -> Dead (Only applies to WD drives - most other brands report anomalous data here)

WD drives generally fail slowly. They amass hundreds of the middle SMART attributes, then eventually they fail to read/write sectors on the drive. Raw Read/Write Error Rates shoot up and the drive is dead. Time to RMA!

My drives gave me 3-4 months warning between when the Event/Sector Counts started increasing and when I started encountering I/O errors. WD sent me back brand new EARX drives from my RMA. thumb.gif
     
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the explanation. Very informative.

Very depressing this Green drive has been. I carefully checked over my other disks after this fiasco just to be safe. Even the oldest one, a PATA seagate 400GB that's been in service through 3 machines over 6+ years shows zero sector errors, pending sector count, CRC errors, reallocated/uncorrectable sectors, or write errors. That EARS with 1/20th the stress load that old drive took running an OS in RAID couldn't handle the pressure.
Edited by Iroh - 5/12/12 at 8:14pm
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iroh View Post

Thanks for the explanation. Very informative.

Very depressing this Green drive has been. I carefully checked over my other disks after this fiasco just to be safe. Even the oldest one, a PATA seagate 400GB that's been in service through 3 machines over 6+ years shows zero sector errors, pending sector count, CRC errors, reallocated/uncorrectable sectors, or write errors. That EARS with 1/20th the stress load that old drive took running an OS in RAID couldn't handle the pressure.
If it's an original EARS, it was probably defective from the factory. It's just a question of how long they last before they perish.

Seagate's first foray into Green drives wasn't any better. For the first batch of 100k or so, LP5900 drives had nearly a 100% failure rate within a month. rolleyes.gif It was such a fiasco, Seagate decided to scrap them entirely with their next generation.

Green drives just aren't as reliable. Both companies cheaped out on parts to keep profit margins the same while offering higher capacities.
     
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know I won't be buying another Green after this one. It makes the extra money spent on a Black look well worth it.

I suppose I can't be too nice to Seagate either. Already had two 7200.10 250gb drives with bad sectors too, but at least neither of them sank with all hands.
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Waifu
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just a follow-up.

WD sent a recertified 15EARS. Turn-around time was excellent - sent from the midwest to Cali and the RMA took the return trip - and was only 6 days in total.

For this one I'm giving it a little stress testing. I encrypted the drive with TrueCrypt then did a surface scan; I then re-encrypted with a new key and am in my second surface scan. If there'll be bad sectors right now they should show up, but so far 26 hours of straight activity and zero indicated errors or other problems.

I used to have a utility laying around somewhere here to read a sector, zero it, rewrite it, read again, and compare the two reads; it was a heavy duty test. I wish I could remember what it was.
Waifu
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Cooler Master Hyper 212+ Linux Mint Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Waifu
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CoolingOSAudio
Cooler Master Hyper 212+ Linux Mint Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
955 BE M4A785TD-V EVO Sapphire Vapor-X Tri-X R9 280X GSkill 
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Thermalright XP-120 Linux Mint Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 
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