The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

September 2nd, 2003

When Hard Drives Die

I think one of the scariest things I’ve heard in recent weeks (besides the whole of the MTV Video Music Awards) is a click… click… click… sound coming from my computer’s hard drive.

Yes, my hard drive is dying.

It’s still under warranty, so it’s not too too bad – if Maxtor ever sends out my replacement. I’ve gotten everything prepped, so once it’s here, I can get the data off of it and send the old one to them so it can receive a proper burial.

I guess I shouldn’t feel too badly, though, for this is only the second hard drive that has died (or chosen to die) under normal usage. The first one – and this will date me here – was an 80MB Western Digital drive. I sent it off for replacement and was amazed that they sent me a 120MB instead. I loved it. Now, of course, my hard drive is 80GB. I’m hoping for a 200GB.

Have you had luck with hard drives?

Posted in Technology

FROM: Chris
DATE: Tuesday September 2, 2003 -- 9:05:27 am
I'd tell you that I've never had a hard drive failure on a personal computer. However, saying that just seems like it's inviting all kinds of bad karma to flow my way, so I won't say it. I have had the hard drives on several work issued laptops go though.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday September 2, 2003 -- 12:38:53 pm
I've never had a hard drive physically fail before. However, I've had some weird stuff happen. One time, somewhere on the way to college, my hard drive got seriously messed up. This was back in the day when you had to park the drives before moving your computer around too much. I'd done so, but when I turned the machine back on, all the file names were stuff like @W#@!@.EXE and such. And it told me I had about a gig or 10 free... and it was only, like, a 200 meg hard drive.

Then another time a great number of files on one of my drives suddenly decided that they wanted to only be 32K in size. Yay.

FROM: Yanek [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday September 2, 2003 -- 3:09:31 pm
Oh boy. Hard drive deaths. I'll tell you a story. I had this case, and it was built so that you could fit three hard drives right next to each other in the front of the case. Well, seeing as I had three hard drives, I put them all in the little cage. There was perhaps half a mm between the drives.

Sure enough, a year later one of the drives started acting flaky. So I got worried and copied all the data to another one of the drives. My advanced-replacement from Western Digital came in (same capacity) and I swapped the data back... just then one of the working drives started clicking. ARGH! Two reboots later it worked again. I copied data off -- and then it started clicking and died (whew!!). WD sent me a replacement. It died in a month. Another replacement. Two months lifetime. Another replacement (they upped from a 20 to a 30 finally) and LO it worked. Seems like there was some flakiness with the 20s they were producing at the time.

Well needless to say I opted to buy a nice Antec 660 case with a 3-drive internal bay WITH space for a FAN. So my three drives were then cool. Well, eventually I moved my music drive to a server, so I'm down to two.

Congratulations if you've managed to read this far. :) And kudos to Western Digital technical support for sending me new drives.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday September 4, 2003 -- 10:40:36 am
Well, a good follow-up: my hard drive should be here today. Maxtor sent it out a couple of days ago, but I had to call in order to find the status; their site was down, which was very frustrating.

Since I wrote this Ping, of course, the hard drive hasn't made a peep.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday September 4, 2003 -- 4:20:23 pm
Another follow-up! The dead drive is sitting on my desk, and the new drive is good to go. I think the most impressive thing thus far is that the new drive is pretty much noiseless; I don't think my previous one ever didn't sound... well, like anything.

The only downside is that I have to pay the shipping to get it back to Maxtor. Blah.

FROM: dave
DATE: Thursday September 4, 2003 -- 7:17:04 pm
At least you're getting a warning about your hard drive's impending doom...we lost ours with no warning and lost all our honeymoon photos - hadn't backed them up yet...

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday September 5, 2003 -- 8:07:30 am
I hear ya, Dave.

FROM: vince
DATE: Friday October 10, 2003 -- 11:08:28 pm
yea, my hard drive in my hp laptop started whining like a dying dog. it sounded horrible. it didn't work, then i got it to start up again, but it was working at about 486 speed. so i didn't have time to copy my data, which was all school work and notes. anyone know how to get data off the dead drive? let me know. i could use that stuff.

FROM: Rich B
DATE: Saturday November 13, 2004 -- 11:31:28 am
Just started to get the ping of death just once in awhile on my Maxtor drive after about a year. I have only had this one go bad but I have had atleast 4 Western Digitals die before. Data recovery is fun but expensive. I have used R-studio and Active@ software with great luck but it also thinned out my wallet.

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