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Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Time Event
4:17p
Spontaneously dead HDD not recognized by anything

This question isn't strictly Linux but maybe someone here can help.

I think my external hard disk has totally died. Here's the story. I use Debian Etch. I mounted it with ntfs-3g from etch-backports, which I've used before with no problems. The driver gave me a warning about my kernel version, which I blithely disregarded, being the idiot I am. I proceeded to use the drive. After not accessing it for a while, I tried to cd /mnt/hdd; ls and my terminal froze up. Opened another one, tried it again, froze again. I became root and tried to unmount the FS. It complained that it was busy. I tried to find which processes were using it with fuser, that froze too. I then used umount -f /mnt/hdd which succeeded. Thoroughly freaked out by this point, I shut down the system, which went down mostly cleanly except for a few errors which were too quick for me to see.

I switched the drive off and disconnected it. I then turned it back on again, rebooted and reconnected. The drive is making a loud humming noise that stops for a moment roughly every fifteen seconds then starts again. This has never happened before. I tried to connect it to the computer.

amoe@vlinder $ dmesg
usb 1-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi7 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
usb-storage: device found at 6
usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
usb 1-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
usb 1-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
scsi 7:0:0:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery
usb-storage: device scan complete

Looked for /dev/sdb1, where it normally resides - not there. Somehow, even though the device has not been physically touched, it's been made totally unrecognizable to the computer. I've tried it on an XP machine and that does absolutely nothing when I insert it. Google reveals nothing except for "it's massively broken" and some advice to wait for a few minutes before connecting it. I tried that. After about three minutes the loud hum stops, and the drive is totally silent; the power light is still on. If the drive is connected at this point dmesg says absolutely nothing. Tried another USB cable, exactly the same behaviour.

What do you think? Time for a new one, obviously, but is there any hope of getting data off this? A few people mentioned something about the drive "enclosure" possibly being faulty, rather than the drive itself - would it be of any use to open the drive up, bearing in mind I'm not an electrical engineer?

Thanks for your time. And learn from my mistake... don't put off your backup till tomorrow!

5:35p
Transforming common units?
I seem to remember a command that, given a value, it could transform it in terms of units. I'm thinking kilobytes to megabytes and that sort of thing. I can't remember if I saw it in APT or if it was already installed on my machine.

Anyone?

Current Mood: curious

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