Backup Routine for Photos, & Sudden Hard Drive Failure

Started Jul 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
How about the power adapter?

Peter Del wrote:

Some years ago I bought TWO identical Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 500GB USB external hard dives.

i do not have them plugged in all the time, only when I need to transfer a few photos to them, which is about every three months.

A few days ago BOTH failed on the SAME day; they make a faint clicking sound and are not seen by my PC. I tried one in another PC, it did not see it either. I swapped cables to no avail and successfully used the original cables in a friends external hard drive.

Are you sure you're using totally separate components for everything (cables, power adapter, and the usb ports on the host computers)?

The Power Adapter (a.ka., power brick) is one of the things that fails most often with external disk drives. So, I'd make sure you're not using the same power adapter with both of those external drives (as the power adapter may be the culprit).

IOW, I think it's extremely unlikely that both external drives failed at the same time, unless something else is in common with them (USB Ports on host machines, operating system issues that may include malware, cables, or a power adapter).

BTW, you are using the "safely remove" icon in the system tray before unplugging or powering off the external drives, right? If not, you're asking for trouble (as you could have cached activity in memory that hasn't been written yet, resulting in file system corruption). Always use "Safely Remove" before powering off or unplugging an external disk drive.

Note that you can simply "right click" on a drive icon under "Computer" and use the "Eject" menu option you'll see to accomplish the same thing (making sure anything in memory has been flushed to the external drive so that it can be safely removed without file system corruption).

In any event, I think it's extremely unlikely that two external drives would fail at the same time without something else in common.  For example, something to do with the host PC or it's Operating System and drivers (or even a malware infection causing issues), it's USB Ports (and the power supply in the host PC could even be causing issues with the ports), the Power Adapter used by the drives, cables, etc.).  So, I'd make sure you're not overlooking something in common with the drives when troubleshooting

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