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#11244 - 07/31/10 09:51 PM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: MikeS]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
If finder is beachballing when accessing an external drive, that very often means the ext drive is failing. SMART cannot monitor the condition of bus attached (usb/sata/fw) drives. It's not all that reliable anyway.

Use my surface scan script to check your hard drives.

(beachballing only indicates directory problems that dw can fix very very rarely)
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#11261 - 08/01/10 08:32 AM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: Virtual1]
cyn Online

Administrator

Registered: 08/03/09
Virtual, did I miss a link to your surface scan script somewhere in this thread? I think I'd be inclined to replace the drive but if Mike wants to take a shot at your script he'll need to know where to get it (and how to use it).

Mike, after seeing Dianne's question in your Recommendations for Powerbook HD please. it dawned on me that both that thread and this one are better placed in Mac Desktops & Notebooks forum than in Peripherals, so I've moved them over here.

I also moved Jon's response to the replacement hard drive question from this thread to "Recommendations for Powerbook HD please." so this one can stay focused on the original problem drive.
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#11282 - 08/02/10 07:11 AM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: MikeS]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Mike,

As you have discovered the S.M.A.R.T. report of "verified" doesn't mean much. I have had two failed drives that still passed the "verified" test. In fact according to the Google Labs white paper, Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population, S.M.A.R.T. is a poor indicator of drive health. Primarily because it is left up to the manufacturer to determine the failure levels and they have a financial incentive to be overly optimistic. Additionally the "verified" reading is based on a subset of the actual S.M.A.R.T. parameters. AFIK TechTool Pro is the only utility that reports all the S.M.A.R.T. values individually. In both of my cases, TTP showed a non-standard parameter that was out of tolerance while Disk Utility, Drive Genius, and OnyX reported verified.

The aforementioned white paper indicates the best indicator of drive health is a surface scan, which can take several hours to accomplish on a large drive. If new bad data blocks are found on a drive, that drive is 39 times more likely to fail within the next 60 days than a drive with no new bad data blocks.

In any case your drive, as were mine, is toast regardless of whether or not the S.M.A.R.T. is verified and must be replaced. I now make it a policy to run a full surface scan on any drive, before putting it into service and at least quarterly thereafter. It is a time consuming pain in the nether regions of the anatomy, but well worth the time and effort if it prevents data loss.
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#11290 - 08/03/10 03:17 AM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
In any case your drive, as were mine, is toast regardless of whether or not the S.M.A.R.T. is verified and must be replaced. I now make it a policy to run a full surface scan on any drive, before putting it into service and at least quarterly thereafter. It is a time consuming pain in the nether regions of the anatomy, but well worth the time and effort if it prevents data loss.


While a surface scan is indeed a royal pain in the backside, I echo what joemikeb says here. A SMART status of "failing" does indeed mean the drive is toast, but that doesn't mean that "verified" indicates the drive is OK. If you care about your data, being on top of the formation of new bad blocks is wise.

In addition, never have only one copy of important data. Keep backups religiously. Assume that your hard drive and everything on it will be gone beyond all hope of recovery when you wake up tomorrow, and behave accordingly.
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#11318 - 08/04/10 11:53 AM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: cyn]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: cyn
Virtual, did I miss a link to your surface scan script somewhere in this thread?


http://archive.macfixitforums.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/443863

pack a lunch. that site apparently has a downlink from Mars.
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#11324 - 08/04/10 04:04 PM Re: TDM problem associated with "dodgy" Hard Drive [Re: Virtual1]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
pack a lunch. that site apparently has a downlink from Mars.

The delay accessing the archived MacFixIt Forums is caused by very slow ad server, and may be bypassed by editing your hosts file as described in the thread Fix for macfixitforums archive slow loading.

For those who just can't wait or don't want to bother with hosts files, here's the direct link to DataCent's Hard drive sounds.
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#11339 - 08/05/10 12:37 PM How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa

ok start to load page. when it hangs, yank ethernet. problem solved wink So, from there:

Users coming to these forums frequently are having problems that could indicate a failing hard drive. Hard drives are mechanical parts of your computer, and are among the most frequent problems a computer can have. You were probably directed to look at this Hint if you described problems such as your computer becoming unresponsive (mouse moves but clicking doesn't do anything), are seeing the "colored spinning ball", or getting error messages that may indicate a hard drive problem.

This hint shows you how to run a very basic "surface scan" or "read scan" of your hard drive. It will attempt to read every block on your hard drive, to make sure they are all working. There are other pieces of software (such as TechTool) that can do a surface scan for you and are more user-friendly, but this is something you can do for free that may be enough to identify your problem.

You will need to be logged in as an admin on your computer. If you're the only user of the computer this shouldn't be a problem. If you're using your parents' or work computer and have only a standard (limited) account. you may need to have the owner log the computer in using an admin's account before using this Hint.

This hint will NOT work for you if you are using Leopard (10.5) and your password is blank. If you are running 10.5 and your password is blank, you will need to change your password to something before you can use this hint.

To get started, open the hard drive on the desktop. Open the folder Applications inside that, and then open the folder Utilities inside that. Double click on "Terminal". A new window will open up that looks a bit like a word processor, with text and you can type in it. You don't need to type anything, just get the window open. It will show something similar to this:

Last login: Sat Jun 21 08:55:49 on ttyp1
Welcome to Darwin!
jasons-macintosh:~ jason$


This next block of text you will need to highlight here, and select "Edit" and then "Copy" from the menubar above, to copy the text. It won't tell you it's done anything, so just select this entire block of purple text and then do Edit and then Copy.

clear;echo;echo "Enter your admin password to allow direct access to your hard drive.";echo;echo "(your password will not be shown as you type)";echo;sudo -k;r=1;while [ $r != 0 ];do sudo -v;r=$?;done;clear;echo "Password accepted.";echo;if [ "$(echo "$(diskutil list | grep "/dev/disk")" | wc -l | tr -d ' ')" == 1 ];then d="/dev/disk0";echo "(automatically selecting only attached hard drive)";else echo "Select number of device to scan:";select d in $(diskutil list | grep "/dev/disk" | cut -d '/' -f 3);do if ! [ -z "$d" ] ; then d="/dev/$d";break;fi;done;fi;passmb=10;passb=$((1024*1024*passmb));testmb=$((testmb));clear;echo;echo "Quick read-scanning $d:";echo;echo "(if the progress indicator stops responding, the drive is bad)";echo;while true;do echo -n "Test at ${testmb}MB ... ";start=$SECONDS;r=$(sudo dd if=$d of=/dev/null bs=1048576 count=$passmb iseek=$testmb 2>&1 | grep "bytes");time=$((SECONDS-start));if [ -z "$(echo "$r" | grep "$passb")" ];then echo "END OF DEVICE";echo;echo "If your hard drive capacity is rated $((testmb/953))GB, then it looks ok.";exit;elif [ $time -gt 10 ];then echo "SLOW READ";exit;else echo -n $'\r';fi;testmb=$((testmb+passmb));done

After you've done that, click once in the window that Terminal opened up, and then up top select "Edit" and then "Paste". The text should appear in the window. (but it will be black, not purple) It should show the blue message below now. If it still just shows the text you pasted, press Return to start it:

Enter your admin password to allow direct access to your hard drive.

(your password will not be shown as you type)

Password:


Type your password and press Return. (it won't show the password as you type it, just type it and press Return) If you entered the correct password, it will begin. If you only have one hard drive and do not have any attached firewire hard drives, time capsules, or flash drives, it will immediately begin scanning your hard drive. Otherwise it will ask you which drive to scan. This will look something like this:

Password accepted.

Select number of device to scan:
1) disk0
2) disk1
#?


It can't tell what disk is what so you will need to select which one to scan. Enter the number of the disk (1 or 2 etc) and press return. The first one ("disk0") is usually your startup drive. If you are having problems with an external hard drive instead of your boot drive, you will want to select one of the other devices in the list besides the first one. Once selected, the scan will start.

Once started, it will display something like this:

]Quick read-scanning /dev/disk1:

(if the progress indicator stops responding, the drive is bad)

Test at 30MB ...


The test number will start at 0 and work its way up, until it reaches the end of the hard drive. This can be a VERY long process for large hard drives. (many hours) There are 1,000 MB in each GB, so if you have an 80 gigabyte ("80GB") hard drive, it will have to test 80,000 MB.

You won't need to watch it while it runs, but you should check on it from time to time to make sure it's still going. The test should continue at a steady pace. If the numbers stop changing, it has found a problem with your hard drive.

When it reaches the end of your hard drive, or if the test finds a bad block, the scan will stop, and this will be displayed:

Quick read-scanning /dev/disk0:

(if the progress indicator stops responding, the drive is bad)

Test at 190780MB ... END OF DEVICE

If your hard drive capacity is rated 200GB, then it looks ok.
logout

[Process completed]


The test number will be different for you, but the GB number is what's important to look at. If your hard drive size is not what it says, then it found a problem at that point on your hard drive. So in the above scan, I have a 200GB hard drive so my hard drive has passed the test.

Or you might see this when you come back to the computer:

Quick read-scanning /dev/disk1:

(if the progress indicator stops responding, the drive is bad)

Test at 7660MB ... SLOW READ
logout

[Process completed]


Again the test number will be different for you. But what this means is it was able to read that part of your hard drive, but it took a very long time, and something is wrong with it. This may be what you get if your computer has had problems showing the spinning wheel but if you leave it alone for awhile the ball goes away and you can get back to work.

Please don't post replies or questions to this hint here. Post replies and questions in the original thread that directed you to this hint.

if this scan indicates a problem you should start a thread in one of the forums here or follow up on the one that directed you here, to discuss your options for repair. When the scan is done you can just close the Terminal window and quit terminal.
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#11368 - 08/06/10 12:55 PM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: Virtual1]
MikeS Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
joemikeb, tacit, Virtual1, et al
Well, I am now composing this reply on my laptop resplendent with new 120 GB internal drive.
It honestly feels like a "new" quieter and faster machine.
Needless to say the replacement didn't go without a hitch or two, but I must admit that I do feel quite pleased with myself.
"surface scan", does this mean another 100 pounds sterling (160 US dollars), as, if I remember correctly -or not possibly with my track record - TechTool Pro is/was the software of choice?
Thanks for the help/suggestions.
Regards. Mike

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#11370 - 08/06/10 01:16 PM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: MikeS]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Since you want to run a surface scan on your internal HD you can use the TechTool Deluxe disc that came with your laptop. The time investment will be worthwhile.
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In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11371 - 08/06/10 01:27 PM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: artie505]
MikeS Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
shocked shocked blush
I didn't realise that "Techtool Deluxe" came with the laptop. It's now 7 or 8 years old - were they supplying it then?
I'll find out, hopefully, tomorrow when I'm downstairs, if I can find the discs after all this time. I know I've still got them, but not sure where? Any idea? grin
Thanks again. Regards. Mike

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#11372 - 08/06/10 02:15 PM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: MikeS]
dianne Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Hi, Mike smile
Quote:
I didn't realise that "Techtool Deluxe" came with the laptop.

You will have a TechTool Deluxe disc only if you purchased an AppleCare Protection Plan for your PowerBook G4. The utility does not ship with a computer. See: Micromat - TechTool Deluxe

In case you need another free alternative, you could use Virtual1's instructions on how to run a surface scan in post #11339 in this thread.
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Back up everything you can't afford to lose – documents, mail, movies, music, photos, and other data and settings.

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#11374 - 08/06/10 04:00 PM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: dianne]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Oops! You're quite right, dianne.

Sorry to have forgotten that, Mike. (Got it mushed up in my head with the Apple Hardware Test which ships with all Macs.)
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In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11385 - 08/07/10 11:59 AM Re: How to check a hard disk for I/O errors [Re: dianne]
MikeS Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Hi dianne
At least you've saved me the, immediate, effort of sorting out my discs. smile
Yes, Virtual1's instructions look extremely useful/helpful.
Finally, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who gets mushed up in the head artie. grin
Thanks again. Regards. Mike

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