Failed/Failing WD Passport

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Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:23 pm

Had someone drop off a WD Passport 1TB drive with me today. When plugged into any computer windows Explorer locks up. Also any internet connection comes to a screeching halt. I've seen this type of failure before and it usually means either the drive is badly damaged or the USB controller is at fault. Well, Western Digital in all of its infinite wisdom made sure this drive's controller and the usb controller are one in the same. Thats right, USB directly connected to the 2.5 HDD, no SATA.

What now! TestDisk and my usual array of data recovery/utilities are perfectly useless as the drive can't be communicated with while plugged in. The second it unplugs interestingly enough CrystalDisk info pops up with the SMART info showing 7 Current Pending Sector Count, so I know the drive is for sure damaged.

Anyone know of a sweet trick with these types of drives to access them in some way to attempt recovery of data? I'm thinking maybe something outside of Windows that doesn't require traditional Windows driver signing, ect. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:42 pm

Welch wrote:Thats right, USB directly connected to the 2.5 HDD, no SATA.

Yea, it kinda sucks - you basically cannot use it in any other enclosure.

As for data recovery - since all of the controllers (including the USB one) is on the drive itself I don't think you can do much if there is a hardware defect... You may try getting a spare controller from places like http://www.harddrivesforsale.com or eBay but if swapping controller won't help - either pay for a professional data recovery or just replace it (if it has a warranty) or throw it away.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:14 pm

I'm sending it off to DriveSavers.... Never used them before but am hopeful. Free shipping both ways, and pay nothing if you decide not to do anything with the drive after they give you a quote.... Yeah, i'll try it out lol.

But ouch... $700-$2700 for economy. At least their quoted price is the highest they will charge if they can get data off of it. Not a bad deal if you have data worth getting off of the drive. This particular client said 700 would suck to pay but was willing to give it a shot.

The guys answered the phone, were English speaking, very polite and emailed Fedex labels in about 1 minute... Here is to hoping :-?

FWIW - The WD tech support was clueless, sounded lazy as hell and didn't understand that by locking up I meant the computer was slowing and freezing from the drive. He kept telling me that I'd need to put in a password if I set it up with one..... He thought locking meant I put a password on the drive. How can people this dumb be given jobs in "Tech Support". Further proof on why I refuse to buy any WD products.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:08 pm

Welch wrote:FWIW - The WD tech support was clueless, sounded lazy as hell and didn't understand that by locking up I meant the computer was slowing and freezing from the drive. He kept telling me that I'd need to put in a password if I set it up with one..... He thought locking meant I put a password on the drive. How can people this dumb be given jobs in "Tech Support". Further proof on why I refuse to buy any WD products.

The manufacturer's "tech support" is ONLY good for replacing things under warranty - you tell them stuff doesn't work anymore (using very simple words), they send you RMA label ;-) Doesn't matter if it's WD, Seagate or whatever.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:16 pm

Yeah, this is why if you're going to do an external drive, it's best to just roll your own. All of the proprietary stuff is for the birds. I had a WD external drive, but it was a 3.5, not a 2.5, and it had just a standard hard drive in it. I was able to salvage the drive and put it in another enclosure. Although the drive did fail, as they all seem to do these days, WD replaced it under warranty.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:53 pm

The Swamp wrote:Yeah, this is why if you're going to do an external drive, it's best to just roll your own. All of the proprietary stuff is for the birds. I had a WD external drive, but it was a 3.5, not a 2.5, and it had just a standard hard drive in it. I was able to salvage the drive and put it in another enclosure. Although the drive did fail, as they all seem to do these days, WD replaced it under warranty.

Rolling your own is only a clear win if it is the electronics that tend to fail, as opposed to the drive hardware. I tend to doubt that this is the case.

That said, I still prefer to roll my own because it allows me to re-purpose old desktop (edit: and laptop) drives as externals. I have a pile of Vantec eSATA/USB enclosures that I use for this.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:45 pm

Exactly, rolling your own allows you to salvage hardware in the event of component failure. You can't do that if the hard drive has some non-standard interface and is tied to the rest of the unit. Rolling your own allows you to keep everything standard and interchangeable. Back in the day, we used to have Tandy workstations. Those were the worst. Not that there were a lot of standard hardware configurations back then, but even for its day, Tandy was terrible about using non-standard hardware in everything it made. You had to use Tandy hardware for everything and it was always expensive.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:53 pm

Yeah, but the pre-built externals are often offered for cheaper than an enclosure + bare drive of the same capacity. So you really need to be counting on the long-term potential for re-purposing of ever-increasing-capacity internal drives, if you expect to get a ROI. If you just need an external "now, damnit!" then a pre-built might make more sense economically.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:44 pm

just brew it! wrote:Yeah, but the pre-built externals are often offered for cheaper than an enclosure + bare drive of the same capacity. So you really need to be counting on the long-term potential for re-purposing of ever-increasing-capacity internal drives, if you expect to get a ROI. If you just need an external "now, damnit!" then a pre-built might make more sense economically.

I keep a mixture of both, but the enclosures are only to make use of old drives. If you're starting from scratch, pre-built is the way to go. You can often find pre-built externals for less than a bare drive, whereas a nice enclosure will cost you an extra $20-40.

The exception would be if you want something unusual like eSATA, or need a higher performance external.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:44 am

Don't forget to try and access the drive via your favorite Linux distro, I have had success recovering data from Linux over Windows several times.

Seagate will top out at $1500.00 to recover a physically damaged drive. (even ones damaged by fire)
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:49 am

I have managed to aquire 4-5 external pre built drives. Otherwise I never buy them and roll my own also. Thermaltake made the worst enclosures I ever encountered, the other tech company I worked with went through them like paper underwear. No joke we had an entire box of over 20 bare Thermaltake enclosures that had some form of failure. These enclosures had eSATA/USB interfaces and sometimes one or both would go bad. Just pure junk.

Never really settled on a favorite brand drive enclosure. But I've tried about a dozen of them. The cost and ROI prospects to me are not quite moot, but aren't my driving force. The same goes for computer builds. Sure i can buy a Dell for 399.99 that would cost me $550 in parts but I'll know the quality parts I put in it and they will be tailored to my exact scenario.

I'm just not a prebuilt kinda guy, with the exception of NAS boxes. I just can't seem to find a benefit to a custom nice unless you need an insane number of drives.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:29 am

Welch wrote:I have managed to aquire 4-5 external pre built drives. Otherwise I never buy them and roll my own also. Thermaltake made the worst enclosures I ever encountered, the other tech company I worked with went through them like paper underwear. No joke we had an entire box of over 20 bare Thermaltake enclosures that had some form of failure. These enclosures had eSATA/USB interfaces and sometimes one or both would go bad. Just pure junk.

I've had many Thermaltake fans and PSUs die prematurely on me as well. They are solidly on my "avoid" list, and may never come off of it since I have been burned multiple times by different products of theirs. It's really a shame, some of their HSFs were actually pretty nice once you replaced the stock fan; but given the extra cost and hassle of replacing the fan when it dies, even those aren't worth it.

Getting back to hard drives (and "avoid" lists), I just encountered a bad (flaky but not dead) Seagate 7200.12 out of the box. Seagate had managed to get off my "avoid" list after the 7200.11 debacle, but unless this latest one is an isolated incident they may be heading back there. The drive spins up, but reads at only about 1/3 the speed it should, and makes lots of loud clicking noises. SMART gives it a clean bill of health. Duh!
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:14 pm

Kind of diverging; I haven't owned a Thermaltake product in years, but I used to be pretty fond of my golden orb. I also had a little blue orb on my Voodoo 3.

Back on topic, I think the lesson to be learned here is backups are good?
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:50 pm

The Golden Orb was OK if you managed to install it without destroying the CPU or snapping the retention tabs! (And as I noted, some of their newer HSFs were pretty nice provided you replaced the fan that came with them. But you shouldn't need to do that!)
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:24 pm

Man, you people are really taking me back...

The Orbs. I had a Blue Orb on a chipset back in the day. Never tried the Golden Orb because I heard it tended to make the CPU go SNAP. Good times. JBI, I need to dig that old motherboard out of storage, the one you fixed for me. That thing *still* works. Although it's a bit... slow.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:40 pm

The Swamp wrote:Man, you people are really taking me back...

The Orbs. I had a Blue Orb on a chipset back in the day. Never tried the Golden Orb because I heard it tended to make the CPU go SNAP. Good times. JBI, I need to dig that old motherboard out of storage, the one you fixed for me. That thing *still* works. Although it's a bit... slow.

Heh. You might want to see if Starfalcon wants it. Gave him my old Soyo Slot A motherboard and a Slot A CPU at the BBQ, so he is still collecting stuff of that vintage!
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:43 am

Lol, JBI always looking out for me :D
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:14 am

Geeez, Star or anyone else... if you guys have a specific part or generation of parts your looking for let me know. I'm sitting on all kinds of I wouldn't mind giving away knowing it's going to some sort of use.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:21 pm

just brew it! wrote:The Golden Orb was OK if you managed to install it without destroying the CPU or snapping the retention tabs! (And as I noted, some of their newer HSFs were pretty nice provided you replaced the fan that came with them. But you shouldn't need to do that!)


No doubt, every time I installed one of those, I was fairly certain I had just destroyed a CPU.
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:20 am

Welch wrote:Geeez, Star or anyone else... if you guys have a specific part or generation of parts your looking for let me know. I'm sitting on all kinds of I wouldn't mind giving away knowing it's going to some sort of use.


I collect pretty much anything old computer related. Hit me up with a PM and we can talk. :D
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:11 am

Starfalcon wrote:
Welch wrote:Geeez, Star or anyone else... if you guys have a specific part or generation of parts your looking for let me know. I'm sitting on all kinds of I wouldn't mind giving away knowing it's going to some sort of use.

I collect pretty much anything old computer related. Hit me up with a PM and we can talk. :D

How long before you need to start renting a storage locker to hold it all? (Or are you already at that point?) :wink:

At least your parts stash seems to be a lot better organized than mine!
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Re: Failed/Failing WD Passport

Postposted on Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:32 pm

I had one a 2.5" Toshiba fail on me, same symptoms and I suspect either a bad controller or some kind of power issue. Ultimately RMA'd it for store credit (blech) and effectively converted it into a bunch of Razer stuff.

As noted, DIY is the best option though I do sometimes recommend a 2.5" external to the computer illiterate since it's better than nothing. Aside from the controller you're getting a good drive, not the B stock that often finds its way into these things.
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