View Full Version : What do Firewire drives do when they are about to die?

Tom Wood
07-20-2004, 12:52 PM
Sorry for the OT, but I'm getting concerned about my eight month old 250G Maxtor. I use it mostly to render image sequences to with Screamernet.

I usually turn on the main box and the Firewire drive at the same time so they all boot up together. Lately I've been having to wait to let Windows (XP Pro) finish, then turn on the Firewire drive. Minor pain since it then has to scan itself into the device list. But even more recently it takes a couple of tries doing even that. It clicks and hangs. Device Manager says it's healthy, but is it on its way out?



07-20-2004, 09:31 PM
That's usually what mine begin to do is something similar. They usually start showing bad sectors in the system portion of the event viewer (assuming you're on windows) as well.

Let me know if that last comment doesn't make sense.

07-20-2004, 09:36 PM
I once was told that if a hard drive is going to go it probably will happen when it is about 7 or 8 months old. Whether this is true or not is anybodys guess. However this person also said that the reason this happens is because the hard drive is going through a burn in process. Some companies do not allow enough burn in time on the drives to verify if they are good or bad drives.
Before you get to upset, try uninstalling and reinstalling your firewire card and drivers. Right after uninstalling them do a fresh reboot. This should tell you if the problem was firewire or the drive it self. If that still doesn't cure the problem then you may want to think about getting a new drive and transfer any data before it really does go up. You could atleast use your old drive for a back up drive.

Tom Wood
07-21-2004, 08:38 AM
Thanks guys,

Now the disk is activating itself momentarily and then going offline. There are a bunch of warnings in the Event Viewer, most say: "An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk4\D during a paging operation." How do I check for bad sectors?

I see where I can uninstall the device driver, but I don't have a disk with new drivers on it, that I'm aware of, unless it's on the Windows disk, which is still new since BOXX did all the installations (but not the deck itself). The troubleshooter implies that Windows (XPPro) will automatically reinstall it.

I also have a DVCAM deck connected to the same Firewire card (three ports). If I uninstall the driver, and the disk drive fails completely, will turning on the DVCAM deck prompt Windows to reinstall the Firewire driver?

I'd like to at least try that, but I don't want to lose ground here if I just need to replace the drive.



Edit: I just checked the DVCAM deck, and I still have deck control through the firewire, so I guess maybe the driver issue is moot?

07-21-2004, 09:58 AM
Each drive manufacturer has downloadable tools to test the health of the drives. (Seagate (http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html) , Hitachi - IBM (http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT), PowerMax for Maxtor (http://tinyurl.com/33u8y), etc.) This could narrow the problem down to a drive problem or something else, (like cable, firewire card, device confilct). You may need to move the drive from the firewire case and internally mount it in the computer to test it, but it would be worth the effort. Some times the problems can be fixed with low level format of the drive, but then it will show similar problems a couple months later. Do it now while it is under warranty!

Tom Wood
07-21-2004, 12:38 PM
Eh, it's easier to just replace the thing. I ordered a Western Digital and hopefully the Maxtor will spin up one more time. I figured a triple SCSI RAID had three times the probablility of a failure, so the Firewire is both backup and render destination. (Prevents disk thrashing) Amazing how -little- a 4.5G DVD will hold in this situation. :p


07-21-2004, 08:38 PM
Odds are if you were having problems with the firewire card and driver, you would also be having problems with your DV camera.
Not sure about the Hard drive, but the camera driver should automatically reinstall when you turn on the camera. Or atleast that is how my camera works. I try not to assume, but since the driver is generic, you would think it would work for all DV cameras.
Since hard drives are usually supported in Windows, I would think the same thing would apply for the hard drive as well.
I still think you are safer getting the newer hard drive. Even if you were able to keep it going for awhile, you data is more important than the price of a hard drive (even external ;) ).

Tom Wood
07-23-2004, 07:33 PM
Installed the new Western Digital with the cool lights but no on/off switch??? Are you supposed to leave it on all the time or switch it via a powerstrip?

And the other drive that was acting up, powered up just fine and now acts like nothing was ever wrong. I guess it just wanted company. :p


07-24-2004, 09:13 AM
That is curious. When you turn the computer off, does the drive spin down? (Go into sleep mode?) If it doesn't 'go to sleep' then I would power it down with the power bar.

OTOH, I tend to leave my computers on 24 /7. It seems to be less wear and tear on the computer and parts when they are left on.