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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

External HD Not Mounting -- Cycles Continuously


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Trevor2522

 
Member Since: Feb 03, 2011
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I have a 5-year-old external Maxtor 1TB mains-powered hard drive. It was about 60% full. Connected via USB. Macbook Pro 2011, Snow Leopard 10.6.8 .

I normally eject the Maxtor before powering-off but, in the past, if I didn't do this I merely got a warning note or mounted it manually with Disk Utility.

Today, for the first time, the Maxtor doesn't show up on the Desktop or Disk Utility. Its green light is on but it cycles continuously without mounting. I've tried re-booting the whole system several times without improvement.

Has the external hard drive :

a) Just worn out though age?
b) Become damaged through not being ejected properly?
c) Suffered a combination of both a) and b)?

Any remedy to try before seeking professional data recovery?

1) A judicial tap?
2) Cooling it in the freezer (an old hard-drive trick)?
3) Any user-serviceable parts to access?

This must be quite a common problem, especially for data-recovery technicians. Any initial advice? Thanks.
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Dieter3

 
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Sounds like a bad drive to me, but try to eliminate the obvious, albeit unlikely - cable if you can!

Is the drive making a distinctive, repetitive clicking noise?

I've never lost a drive by powering it off without ejecting, not physically. I HAVE lost data on USB flash drives, never a hard drive - not to say that it can't happen, I'm sure it can. But physical damage? I've not seen that.

Long ago when I was a technician, yes - the occasional "tap" on an otherwise non-responsive drive might get 'er going again - but only long enough to HOPEFULLY make backups, etc. - not a fix! Freezing a drive? New to me. Interesting!

Drives can be disassembled, but I'd leave that to a pro in the proper environment IF you have data that is invaluable and must be recovered. I would not attempt doing this myself. I do not consider a hard drive serviceable, they are simply replaced.
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Trevor2522

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieter3 View Post
Sounds like a bad drive to me, but try to eliminate the obvious, albeit unlikely - cable if you can!

Is the drive making a distinctive, repetitive clicking noise?
The drive is not clicking but sounds like a small electric motor repeatedly starting-up and then cutting-out. I don't have a spare cable for this model ... it's a mini-USB to USB ... but unlikely to be bad if I can hear an internal drive motor cutting-out once every second.

I might try freezing in a bag; reports say it could help without causing further damage. Is my small, local, private computer repair shop likely to offer a retrieval service? Sounds like it's going to cost me more than the original purchase price! Thanks.
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Dieter3

 
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Well, I'd agree it's not likely the cable, especially if it is doing what you say it is doing with the cable unplugged.

Try the freeze thing, I'm interested to know what happens! But sounds like the drive is finished.

Local shops rarely provide direct recovery service if it is a hardware failure, but they might have a recommendation on where to go, they might work with such a service.

Yes - hardware recovery services will cost you more than replacing the drive, but if the files are critical and have no other source, you might not have a choice!
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harryb2448

 
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Not a fan of Maxtor drives but sure sounds like it is on the way out. Download and run SMARTReporter on the drive.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Trevor2522

 
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Couldn't run any diagnostic software as it will not mount.

I double-wrapped the drive in Ziplocs and cooled it to -25C overnight but no improvement -- drive motor still keeps cutting out. So I'll try the top floor of Pantip Plaza, Bangkok, Thailand next month. 'Bios' is one recommended place at the back of the 4th floor. They should be experts at it after all the flooding last year!
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