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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussions including the Apple Watch.

Another external hard disk problem

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Member Since: Apr 11, 2012
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Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone can help me with my problem. I've got a 1 TB external hard drive connected to my mac by FireWire 800. It has two partitions: about 350 GB as FAT32, used for photos, music etc., and about 650 GB as HFS+ used primarily as a scratch disk for Final Cut.

For the last couple of weeks, the drive has sometimes refused to mount when I turn it on. Or sometimes five minutes after I turn it on and start using files, any program using those files will freeze until I unplug the drive. After several tries, it usually starts behaving itself. I've also had some data loss, only on the FAT32 partition--files disappear, sometimes file names have randomly changed by one character. Disk Utility doesn't find any problems on either partition. I tried reformatting the FAT32 partition as HFS+ and restoring from backup, but the next morning the drive still had the same problems with mounting and freezing up.

More information: the drive has never been dropped off a cliff or stepped on or anything like that. I sometimes use the drive with an old laptop running Fedora Linux and it has no trouble mounting or using either partition. I've also tried plugging the drive into my mac via USB and FireWire 400, and the same problems still happen. My mac is running on OS X 10.6.8, with all the updates installed.

What's wrong? Is my disk in the process of dying? I would be especially happy if someone told me there was a way to fix it without buying a new disk and/or formatting the second partition... but I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks so much.

All best,
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Sometimes problems like you're having can be attributed to a failing or intermittent interface enclosure. In other words, it's not the drive itself that's having problems but the interface which provides USB and Firewire. The interface is comprised of electronics which allows you to connect the drive to your FW or USB port on your machine.

It may be possible to remove the drive from the enclosure and put it in another enclosure. Of course if the drive is still under warranty, you don't want to do that. With a drive under warranty, it's best to contact the manufacturer and request a RMA for a new drive.
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