Multiple WD Hard Drive Failure and troubleshooting ideas

I run a computer shop with a very loyal customer base.  Recently (past 3 to 6 months) I have had significant reliability issues with my Western Digital hard drives (I sell 10 to 20 per month).  In the past week, I have had 4 drives less than a month old fail on me which is prompting me to write this post.  Over the past 6 months, I have had over 10% of my new drives fail either out of the box, or in the first month.

I am not here to bash Western Digital.  I believe that overall, quality control on hard drives is not what it used to be evan just a year or 2 ago.  I emailed my suppliers (ASI and Ingram Micro) and they state that my problems are no different than other shops problems with other brands of hard drives.

Specifically I have had several drives (WD Blue - 160 GB, several 500 GB) that when they fail, they are no longer recognised in the bios.  The drives spin up, but are not detected.  Given that these are fairly new drives, I had EXACT idential (down to the revistion) drive on hand in stock, I was able to try swapping the controller board on them.  The drive would not be recognized with a new controller board either.

This got me wondering if maybe these new drives have something programmed in them where if they do not pass some type of Power on test, that they just don’t go ‘online’.  In the past, it was very rare for a failed drive to spin up, but not be recognized by the bios.  Most failed drives would always be detected so I could still run some type of attempt at data recovery.  I am wondering what anyone else thinks of that theory, that when the drives don’t complete their internal diagnostics, they just stay off-line…

Since swapping the contoller board did not make the drive online, I am also wondering if that is also something new programmed into these drives and swapping a contoller board is not longer an option to attempt to recover data from a failed drive.  When my next shipment of drives comes in, I plan on running tests by swapping the controller board off brand new drives to see what happens.

In troubleshooting, I also tried the ol’ freeze the drive trick, and I have tried these failed drives in multiple computers and on multiple sata cables.  If anyone has similar issues or ideas, I’d like to hear about them.


-Brad Grorud


you will be losing time …

each drive has adaptive data on the platters that must match the eeprom chip on the PCB

i think im  not saying garbish