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Ext HDD sponateously uninitialized itself. Possible fix?

  1. #1


    Posts : 2
    8.0

    Ext HDD sponateously uninitialized itself. Possible fix?


    My Western digital mybook 3TB ext HDD was functioning fine without issue. I woke up one day to find that the drive had disappeared from windows explorer and only appeared as "mass storage device" in the device manager. When I list the drives in the command prompt, it appears as online, but has 0B total space. In the disk manager the only info - or lack thereof - is "unknown" and "not initialized". There is no info regarding its volume (see pictures).

    I did get a little fed up with it and decided to initialize the disk and start over, but I was met with an error that read something like " cannot initialize due to I/O device error" (see picture again). It seems like my computer acknowledges that there is a blank disk with 0B total space.

    I tried to plug the drive into my computer and boot using ubuntu 14.10 live to see if my disk could be read in that OS, but the drive was nowhere to be found.

    The drive contains data that I would really like to retrieve, so I am racking my brain trying to figure this out. The only other case I could find similar to mine is here: Previously functional USB3 external hard drive shows not initialized - Windows 7 Help Forums

    All other search results seem to show people having issues with 'like-new' drives (meaning that there is info about the drive in disk manager prior to initialization), so I'm afraid I can't find many sources for comparison to help with this. I have posted about this elsewhere: External HDD uninitialized on its own. Can I recover data? - Tech & Computer Forums.

    I would like to try every possible fix before resorting to disassembling the drive enclosure and putting the HDD inside my computer. Thank you for reading, and all input is very appreciated!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails disk1.jpg   diskerror.jpg  

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  2. #2


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Sounds like the external drive interface is toast, hopefully not the drive. May have no other choice than remove it from the external case and try in another USB caddy or drive bay.
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  3. #3


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    A lot of people are having issues with the MyBooks. I would contact Western Digital and see if they will replace the drive. If you are going to try and recover any items on it. Try booting up with a Linux LiveDVD and see if the drive shows up when you plug it in. Then you may be able to move the files from the MyBook, to another drive.
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  4. #4


    Posts : 2
    8.0


    Quote Originally Posted by broe23 View Post
    A lot of people are having issues with the MyBooks. I would contact Western Digital and see if they will replace the drive. If you are going to try and recover any items on it. Try booting up with a Linux LiveDVD and see if the drive shows up when you plug it in. Then you may be able to move the files from the MyBook, to another drive.
    Thanks for the input. WD customer support was unhelpful in offering a solution. Maybe I'll call back and ask for a replacement drive.

    I tried booting up with ubuntu 14.10 but the drive was nowhere to be found.
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  5. #5


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Then the drive is toast.
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  6. #6


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    I bought the very same HD couple of years ago from COSCO, only one day when I plugged in, the disk became RAW/Unknown. I finally opened the enclosure and connected directly to the internal sata port and found out the disk was indeed having bad sectors. However, I was able to retrieve most of the data from it (mostly just Movies), returned back to COSCO without question asked.

    Since the disk was going bad and apparently the USB interface in the enclosure did not know how to deal with it or toast and let's hope that's what happened to yours.

    FYI, External HD is only designed for back up purpose and even that, it's not reliable. For sure It is not for constant use. The heat generated inside the enclosure is way, way too hot and there's no room for heat to dissipate and if you touch it, it is burning hot. The ideal temperature for HD is <= 42 C. All my internal HD's are almost 6 year old and have the fans blowing directly to them, make a little noise but keep the HD's temp to around 30C and they are all good.
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  7. #7


    What you can try is removing the drive from the case, connecting it to your PC, and running Recuva to see if it finds the drive. IF it does, you might be able to recover some files and folders from the drive.

    That said, "I/O error" is a bad sign and when I've encountered that, it means the drive has had a hardware failure -- and in that case, only disassembly and repair by a commercial data recovery outfit will get the drive working again.
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Ext HDD sponateously uninitialized itself. Possible fix?
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