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hdd accident results... (physical shock damage) Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:16 AM

In light of (not-so-)recent experience, I have a few things to tell everyone interested in purchasing a new hard drive. I have some experience that you will hopefully not have to go through, but is a possibility anyway....fall/physical shock damage.

As you may or may not know, a poorly made shelf in my apartment collapsed nearly right after I moved in, with all my hard drives on it. They fell down about two feet onto the desk surface with a very painful-sounding clatter. I was shocked, to say the least, and worried that all my data (320+300+500+250+20 gb worth) were all ruined.

Here's some facts to keep in mind:
  • There were three manufacturers in the hdd array:
    • 250gb, 320gb and 500gb are Western Digital Caviar (SE) drives (7200rpm)
    • 300gb is Seagate Barracuda drive (7200rpm)
    • 20gb is Fujitsu something (old drive, 5400rpm)
    • None are Maxtor, cause Maxtor is doodoo

  • All hdd were horizontal except the 250 on the shelf, before they fell (platters parallel to surface, 250 was perpendicular)
  • They fell straight down (shelf gave way), so it's safe to assume the 250 was the only one to hit the table on its side, everything else impacted on their bottom
  • The stack of thre hdd was as follows (side view)
    • 320
    • 300
    • 500

  • ALL hdd were running at the time of the accident (heads were not parked)
  • Desk is made of hardwood, there was no cushioning of any sort whatsoever.


And this is how the damage stacked up.

  • 20gb (NTFS): Noticeable amount of corrupted clusters (certain files/folders can't be read, edited and/or deleted), but otherwise runs like how it did before the crash...but interestingly, seek noise is now reduced. :x? this is a crappy scratch drive anyway, I wouldn't care nor mind if it gave out under the drop...that said however, it's given out in the past only to revive itself by staying unused for six months. Strange drive, maybe it'll last forever no matter what happens to it?
  • 250gb (FAT32): Nothing wrong so far, all files accessed since then are intact and free of errors. This is more than likely due to the fact that the impact didn't force the heads against the platters directly.
  • 300gb (NTFS): Significant amount of corrupted sectors (over 150, ranging from FRS 52388 to 75723). The damaged sectors seem to be clusters of sequential bad ones, with a small gap in between, and another bunch, etc. I was able to recover most of my data, but now I have the irritating problem of missing pages in a manga volume, or missing songs in an album. I'm actually running chkdsk as I'm typing this, and other than the damaged sectors, the platters appear to be healthy. I have kept this turned off for about three weeks, as initially nothing appeared to be wrong with it. However, as I started accessing files, strange things would happen, eventually culminating in no files being visible on the disk in Explorer (just the folder structure). However, upon startup today, I was able to transfer all the noncorrupted files through Directory Opus.
  • 320gb (NTFS): Similar to the 250, interestingly. No visible or detectable damage so far. I'm feeling pretty confident, but I'll be running a dskchk just in case. Perhaps it fell softer or less distance because it was on top of the stack?
  • 500gb (NTFS): This one was quite scary...initially, all appeared to be fine. The 500gb drive was my multimedia archive, so stuff like movies, anime, tv series, etc. and I was able to watch episodes here and there for a few days. However, with no warning, it started spewing CRC errors everywhere, and the finally, no data was able to be recognized. My guess is a damaged arm/head that gave out under the g-forces of read/write operations that followed the incident. I've tried reformatting ('operation has failed' error message, both when I reformat with and without deleting the partition first), but it doesn't work. Disk appears as a RAW data type, which I've only ever seen in corrupt or non-accessable drives. Capacity is reported normal however, but I think that's because the capactiy is stored on the driver board's EEPROM and not the platters. Since there's no chance of rescuing my data, or my drive (and I can just redownload everything on there anyway), I may dismantle the drive to get a first-person look at whatever happened internally....photos to come if I do.


Hopefully you can draw some conclusion from this, because I know I have a hard time doing so... at first glance of the raw data, it seems that Western Digital makes better drives (2/3 survival rate vs 0.5/1), but there's not enough Seagate drives to really prove anything. As informative and interesting as this was, I do not want to repeat this 'experiment' with my new drive... I don't have enough money, lol.

As far as advice goes, I'd just recomment you get SSD's if you're worried about shock protection. The only conclusive thing I can say for sure is not to drop your hdd, because bad things will happen.

PS. fortunately, my laptop's internal 60gb (7200rpm, NTFS) drive was unaffected as it didn't fall (and nothing fell on it) so I'm not including it in this topic.

Edit: chkdsk results!

312568640 KB total disk space.
	   20 KB in 2 files.
		4 KB in 9 indexes.
		0 KB in bad sectors.
	75524 KB in use by the system.
	65536 KB occupied by the log file.
312493092 KB available on disk.

	 4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
 78142160 total allocation units on disk.
 78123273 allocation units available on disk.

This is the 320, I had formatted it right before I ran dskchk. As I suspected, there were no corrupted sectors on the platter. :3

293033600 KB total disk space.
215897448 KB in 158839 files.
	61628 KB in 8967 indexes.
	  904 KB in bad sectors.
   243168 KB in use by the system.
	65536 KB occupied by the log file.
 76830452 KB available on disk.

	 4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
 73258400 total allocation units on disk.
 19207613 allocation units available on disk.

This is the 300, and I haven't formatted it yet...it confirms my findings of having bad sectors here and there however. It turns out that there was 226 bad sectors, well over my conservative guess made yesterday....but either way, I'm glad that I'm still gonna be able to use it. I suppose this will be my primary scratch drive for things that require speed (running Photoshop CS3 on 5400rpm is not recommended).

I'll post up the results of dskchk of the 250 and 20 later, they're being used right now.
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#2 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 08:38 PM

bump, this is the results of the 20gb Fujitsu:

20008925 KB total disk space.
18190348 KB in 35963 files.
   13560 KB in 1401 sectors.
	  56 KB in bad sectors.
  103941 KB in use by the system.
   65536 KB occupied by the log file.
 1701020 KB available on disk.

	4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
 5002231 total allocation units on disk.
  425225 allocation units available on disk.

At first glance, it doesn't appear to be as damaged as the 300gb hdd...but keep in mind that this one is smaller. The amount of data in bad sectors on the 20gb is about the same ratio (bad:total) as the 300. This is interesting, considering that nothing cushioned its fall. Perhaps this is a combination of luck (either good or bad), positioning, and the speed of the platters.

Edit: Currently running a file recovery tool (trial version: http://www.easeus.com/download.htm ) on my b0rked 500gb, and at 4% scanned there's 90 recoverable files...a good start I suppose, I need as much of my multimedia as possible back D:!
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#3 User is offline   Bass GS 

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 02:26 PM

wow good test results shonen, i'm sorry to hear that stuff like that happened. :( hopefully ou can get everything back!!
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#4 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:20 PM

Well, update on the recovery operation for anyone who cares...it seems like the stuff hit the worst was all my anime and Top Gear, I'm completely missing 10% of Series 10 and 80% of Series 9 of TG, and much of Bleach/Cowboy Bebop and possibly other anime as well.
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