never buy an HP external hard drive

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Postby scythe » 2010.10.12 (03:22)

Mine failed in less than six months. HP makes stainless-steel plated horse shit.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.10.12 (03:44)

I prefer to buy a 2.5" HD and throw it into an enclosure. Portable and reliable.
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Postby heatwave » 2010.10.12 (03:59)

On the topic of external HDs, any one have any experience with G-Technology?
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Postby smartalco » 2010.10.12 (04:33)

We'll it's made by Hitachi, and from what I know they have a pretty good record of reliability, so I'd say it is probably decent.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.10.12 (11:44)

What failed about it, exactly?
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.10.12 (17:05)

heatwave wrote:On the topic of external HDs, any one have any experience with G-Technology?
All I know is that they look pretty.


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Postby Donfuy » 2010.10.12 (19:55)

My Iomega drive failed much earlier than 6 months ;_;
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Postby Universezero » 2010.10.13 (02:14)

All my external HDs get stolen before they break. :(
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Postby scythe » 2010.10.13 (02:27)

=w= wrote:What failed about it, exactly?

It is currently in a transient state of almost-broken.

Occasionally it stops working, and cannot be read from, that is, my data is just -gone-. If I stop using it for a while, it works again. Then it stops. This is completely random and nothing seems to effect a change. So I'm able to get my music off the drive, amazingly, but it's pretty shot.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.10.13 (03:05)

Does it use just a USB/firewire cable or does it draw power from an outlet?
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Postby mediate » 2010.11.01 (02:54)

Here's a few tips for making external hard drives last longer:
  • After you buy it, take it out of the enclosure and reformat it on your local machine. I've had experience with some externals that have failed after about 6 months and, after a reformat like this, never failed again (2 years and counting). If your hard disk is of the type which cannot be removed (some newer ones are made so that, to take them out, you break the protective plastic enclosure entirely), I'd suggest returning it if possible :P. Either that or buy an enclosure for it.
  • If the hard disk has failed and you cannot/don't want to remove it from it's enclosure, load up a Linux Live CD or install, load up fdisk, and delete the partition from the partition table and write the new partition table. For info for this, read the fdisk FAQ :P
  • DO NOT USE THE HARD DISK ON MORE THAN ONE COMPUTER!!! THIS WILL GIVE THE HARD DISK A HIGHER CHANCE OF FAILING THAN IF YOU USE IT ON A SINGLE COMPUTER!!!
  • Also, remember to eject the hard disk before shutting down the computer. Make sure you safely remove it, either using windows' Safely Remove Hardware tool or by ejecting and unmounting it from your operating system.
You should increase the life of your hard disks from this.

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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.11.01 (03:12)

DO NOT USE THE HARD DISK ON MORE THAN ONE COMPUTER!!! THIS WILL GIVE THE HARD DISK A HIGHER CHANCE OF FAILING THAN IF YOU USE IT ON A SINGLE COMPUTER!!!


Curious as to how this affects lifespan since ext. drives either draw power from USB/firewire which supply the same voltage across all PCs or are powered by an AC adapter.
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Postby mediate » 2010.11.01 (03:24)

oeuvre wrote:Curious as to how this affects lifespan since ext. drives either draw power from USB/firewire which supply the same voltage across all PCs or are powered by an AC adapter.

It begins to mess up the partition table. It has nothing to do with USB/firewire power. As you keep interchanging between the computer and saving data from each, for some reason, windows writes something to the partition table and mucks it up after a while. I've seen it happen to a friend of mine who bought a brand new 1 TB external, used it for backups from his main web server, and someone else in the house used it on another computer extensively and backed up a lot of data to it. After about 10 or so interchanges, the hard disk began to have issues where it was not seen by windows at times, or crash entirely while copying, then died entirely and was unrestorable. He had 2 of these, and the second one which was hidden from the other person is still working to this day. I'm just saying ... I've seen it happen and it sucks when it does.

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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.11.01 (06:29)

scythe wrote:Mine failed in less than six months. HP makes stainless-steel plated horse shit.


Right, 'cause the other 370,000 in rotation also all failed within six months.
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.11.01 (10:02)

mediate wrote:
oeuvre wrote:Curious as to how this affects lifespan since ext. drives either draw power from USB/firewire which supply the same voltage across all PCs or are powered by an AC adapter.

It begins to mess up the partition table. It has nothing to do with USB/firewire power. As you keep interchanging between the computer and saving data from each, for some reason, windows writes something to the partition table and mucks it up after a while. I've seen it happen to a friend of mine who bought a brand new 1 TB external, used it for backups from his main web server, and someone else in the house used it on another computer extensively and backed up a lot of data to it. After about 10 or so interchanges, the hard disk began to have issues where it was not seen by windows at times, or crash entirely while copying, then died entirely and was unrestorable. He had 2 of these, and the second one which was hidden from the other person is still working to this day. I'm just saying ... I've seen it happen and it sucks when it does.

I'm very suspicious of this. For this kind of error to occur, there must be copies of Windows out there that have unique ways of talking to the filesystem. Primarily, this is extremely unlikely because filesystems are highly standardized, and the library calls to talk to them are going to be identical on just about any machine that uses them, and probably across OS's. Secondly, if you can find Windows machines that write to the same filesystem's metadata in two different ways, the damage that will do will in no way be subtle; it will be very noticeable, and it will happen almost immediately.
The only things I can think of that might have caused your friend's problem is a schizophrenic Windows install that miraculously didn't cause any other horrible problems, a faulty external drive which failed to write metadata properly, or superstition. In every case, it is extremely unlikely to impossible that using the hard drive on multiple machines would be the real problem.
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Postby scythe » 2010.11.01 (11:02)

Kablizzy wrote:
scythe wrote:Mine failed in less than six months. HP makes stainless-steel plated horse shit.


Right, 'cause the other 370,000 in rotation also all failed within six months.

Oh, they will.

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Postby mediate » 2010.11.01 (14:26)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:The only things I can think of that might have caused your friend's problem is a schizophrenic Windows install that miraculously didn't cause any other horrible problems, a faulty external drive which failed to write metadata properly, or superstition. In every case, it is extremely unlikely to impossible that using the hard drive on multiple machines would be the real problem.


I've heard of other things as well. Some viruses tend to wipe partition tables or at least muck up something (I actually had a virus like that attack my computer, back in the day of Windows 98; it came as an "add on" to a game's floppy and, unknowingly, I put the floppy into my computer, started the game, and when I shut down windows, the partition table was wiped clean. The next day, there was nothing. Checked with fdisk from both MS DOS and Linux and there was no partition table defined). Miraculous, yes. Possibility of a virus on the other computer: very high chance of it (public use machine=public use machine. When anyone in the house can and does use your computer, you can get a few of them). Could that have caused it, not sure ... What I am sure of is that the friend called me & my dad over to see what the problem was, I checked to see if the disk would respond in the web server, it didn't. I checked on other machines and same thing. Took it out of the enclosure and put it directly into a computer, with no other hard disk connected, and checked using a live CD, and still nothing. I'm only saying ... it did happen and I did see it happen. No superstition from me there :P. It could have been a faulty external, I'm not ruling that out in any way. But it could have also been either error on the part of the other person (not safely ejecting, plugging it into places where it should not be) or a virus. Not ruling anything out yet. It happened in around 2005 or 2006 so that disk is well trashed by now :P so yeah. I'd still advise against plugging it into too many different machines. But w/e, your choice.

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Postby Luminaflare » 2010.11.01 (21:13)

mediate wrote:
T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:The only things I can think of that might have caused your friend's problem is a schizophrenic Windows install that miraculously didn't cause any other horrible problems, a faulty external drive which failed to write metadata properly, or superstition. In every case, it is extremely unlikely to impossible that using the hard drive on multiple machines would be the real problem.


I've heard of other things as well. Some viruses tend to wipe partition tables or at least muck up something (I actually had a virus like that attack my computer, back in the day of Windows 98; it came as an "add on" to a game's floppy and, unknowingly, I put the floppy into my computer, started the game, and when I shut down windows, the partition table was wiped clean. The next day, there was nothing. Checked with fdisk from both MS DOS and Linux and there was no partition table defined). Miraculous, yes. Possibility of a virus on the other computer: very high chance of it (public use machine=public use machine. When anyone in the house can and does use your computer, you can get a few of them). Could that have caused it, not sure ... What I am sure of is that the friend called me & my dad over to see what the problem was, I checked to see if the disk would respond in the web server, it didn't. I checked on other machines and same thing. Took it out of the enclosure and put it directly into a computer, with no other hard disk connected, and checked using a live CD, and still nothing. I'm only saying ... it did happen and I did see it happen. No superstition from me there :P. It could have been a faulty external, I'm not ruling that out in any way. But it could have also been either error on the part of the other person (not safely ejecting, plugging it into places where it should not be) or a virus. Not ruling anything out yet. It happened in around 2005 or 2006 so that disk is well trashed by now :P so yeah. I'd still advise against plugging it into too many different machines. But w/e, your choice.


Sorry but I worked (I finished my apprenticeship there) at an IT recycling and repair center for the better part of two years, we used a 1TB external HDD for customer back ups, to my knowledge that thing is still working to this day and it gets a good 2 to 4 backups put on it a week from different machines each time. Chances are your friends drive was faulty or he just plain fucked up and was too prideful to tell you.


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