External drive starting to fail?

Hi all,

I have purchased a number of WD external drives, totalling about 30 Tb of storage. Up until a few days ago, everything was working fine, but now I am having an issue with one of the My Book drives, which is out of warranty.

I am using Windows 7 64 Ultimate edition, 12 Gb RAM, i7-950 processor with an Asus Rampage II Extreme mobo.  The external drives are connected through two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 hubs.

A few days ago I noticed the speed of one drive lagging noticably.  Normally I can get about 20-25 MB/s sustained transfer, but with the drive in question, it has dropped to less than 5% of that. The other drives on the hub work normally.

I unplugged the hubs so I am only running the one external drive, and it is plugged directly into one of the computer’s USB 2.0 ports. When I power on the computer, whether I access the drive directly or after an hour of the computer being on, the drive is recognized by Windows Explorer, I can get a full directory, and I can get a sustained transfer rate as above. However, after about a minute, the speed drops drastically.  If I unplug the drive and the power to it, then plug it back in about a minute, the drive is not recognized at all.  I have to do a cold reboot, and then the drive is again recognized, I can transfer as normal for about a minute, and then once again the cycle continues.

I have used a freeware sector copier (Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier) to attempt to salvage the files; it has not found any errors but is very slow, just like with Windows Explorer.  At the rate it is going, it will take about 2.5 months to recover all the data (about 1.5 Tb).

I know the drive is failing, but is there any better and inexpensive way to recover the data? And is this particular method of drive failure something that others have run into?

Any help is greatly appreciated!




Try using photorec to recover your files is a free application.