WD15EARS: several disks failing at the same time

Hi all,

I have a rather odd problem. I have 5 x WD15EARS in use: 4 x in RAID5 and 1 x in a USB dock.

So this is the situation. I bought 4 disks in November 2010. The ones with the green label. They’ve been running since in a server with an Areca 1210 controller in a RAID5 config. Never had any problem until April this year. 1 disk failed. The Areca had problems detecting the disk. I put the disk in another computer and used WD Lifeguard Diagnostics. It showed this: “06-Quick Test on drive 7 did not complete! Status code = 07 (Failed read test element), Failure Checkpoint = 97 (Unknown Test) SMART self-test did not complete on drive 7!”. So I created a RMA and shipped the disk. The server kept running degraded.

3 days later, another disk fails. And exactly the same error. I created a RMA and shipped the disk. Of course the array failed but I’ve got backups so no harm done.

Yesterday I received 2 brand new disks from RMA. Also WD15EARS but with a normal black label. Finally I could start my server again. I put in the disks, deleted the old array and created a new one with 4 disks. After a few minutes one disk failed. One of the new ones! I tested it on another computer and exactly the same error message as with the original disks! So I put in 5th disk as replacement. That one was bought a bit over 6 months ago. Again, a few minutes later another disk fails. Same error. This time one of the remaining old ones.

Ok, so I started thinking I could be the cabling, the controller,… But in meanwhile I tested all disks in a different computer internally. And also on a 3rd computer in a USB dock. No matter where I put them, the errors are there.

And more, the 2nd new disk that I receive yesterday also has those problems!

In one computer I tried to write zeros with the WD tool. After a while: “Sector #285533696 - 285533952::Write Zeros Error! Continue?” I pressed yes and it popped up that many times that I just gave up.

On this computer with the USB dock I’m running HDDScan.

Short self test: error with read element failed

Extended test: error with read element failed

Both seems to be stopped at 10%

Also running the RD-Read test. That one is showing lots of “Bad block found, start LBA…” messages.

Is this even possible?? In a period of days, not counting the time that the server was off, 5 disks fail with the same error. And 2 brand new disks also fail with the same error?

Am I going crazy or do I have just bad luck?

Hi well those drives are not certified for raid 5 they have no tlr. By the spec sheet it tells you only for use in software raid 0 or 1.

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-701229.pdf  right at the bottom of the page it tells you that. I am also quite sure that using them in a raid 5 environment voids the warranty . Also the green drives are not really recommended for use as a boot drive as they are slow, they constantly park the heads which is part of the green feature.

Warranty is not void when used in raid 5. It’s just not supported. Nor is it relevant since the disks were tested and failed on 2 other non-raid systems.

I have been having pretty much the same problem with my WD20EARS on a Vista Business 64bit system, pretty much the same failures as you have with about the same Data Lifeguard failures.  I am on my third replacement drive in a matter of a couple of weeks - have just posted my information (see posting from “frustrated” posting entitled:

Problems w/ WD20EARS, Warranty replacements & Quality Control

I Guess that I am not the only one.


Your problem sounds indeed similar. In meanwhile I tested my hardware with different disks so I can exclude controller, motherboard, cabling, whatever… Which means the WD disks are messed up.

But I may have found something. So neither the quick as the extended test passed. Then I came to a tool called Hard Disk Sentinel. It has an option to re-initialize the entire disk. It takes about 17 hours for one disk. After that the WD quick and extended tests pass without errors!

It just finished the 2nd disk and I just started using one disk again to test. It’s copying 1TB of data and so far it works just fine.

It doesn’t explain what’s wrong with the disks. And it worries me that 2 brand new disk have the same problem. What does the label on yours say? Mine were manufactured in Malaysia. Perhaps a bad batch?

Maybe the problem may come back after a few days or weeks. Also I contacted the WD support several days ago and I’m still waiting for an answer.

If I have to RMA these disks again. I’ll just sell them and buy another brand. I have around 8 WD’s and 7 of them failed in the last 2 or 3 years in one way or another. I also have disks from 3 other brands and they’re still working fine.

I’m starting to get really disappointed with WD.

Well, I’ve seen this problem mentioned a couple of times in forums. Those drives are not built for use in RAIDs. People have been able to make them work and then at some point, they **bleep** out. Sounds like what happened to you. Also WD has dropped the warranty period to just 2 years on those disks, so you see how much faith WD puts in them.