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Seagate External Drive No Longer Mounts
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Apr 8, 2014, 04:29 PM
 
I have a 500 gig Seagate FreeAgent External Drive that I purchased, brand new, about 5 years ago. It has two Firewire 800 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and of course the power connector "port". The drive came with a Firewire 800 cable, a Firewire 800-to-400 cable, and a USB 2.0 cable. I have been using the drive exclusively for backups of each of my machines, along with a number of Miscellaneous files. I have always used the Firewire 800 connection, and up until Sunday, everything was fine, and I never had any issues with the drive at all. In fact, with Super Duper making bootable backups, I have (infrequently) booted from that drive.

In any event, this past Saturday, besides my maintenance tasks, I made Super Duper backups of both my Mac Mini and my Macbook Air to this drive (thankfully, as will be soon evident, I also made such backups to another external drive). Well, starting Sunday, the drive will not mount at all. I have tried using both Firewire 800 connectors, the USB 2.0 connector, and also tried it on 3 machines (my Mac Mini, my MacBook Air, and a 4 year old MacBook Pro (17" version)), and still the drive will not mount. I also tried to "see it" with Disk Utility, Tech Tool Pro, and Disk Warrior, and still no luck. (The Mac Mini and MacBook Air both have the latest version of Mavericks, whereas the MacBook Pro has the latest version of Snow Leopard).

I need to also mention that the drive is still getting power, as the drive's light illuminates on startup. Also, no matter which machine, and no matter which type of connection, when a machine starts up, the drive's light does flicker somewhat, which I believe indicates that the machine is trying to access the drive (and thus trying to get it to mount).

At this point, I am unsure as to why the drive cannot be seen. Late last June, my "older" MacPro stopped booting up. That is, the machine would try to start up, but then the ensuing question mark came up. That machine had a 4 year old, 1 TB Seagate drive in it. No matter what I tried (even Target Disk Mode), the drive could not be "seen". I surmised that most likely (the machine was, after all, 8 years old), something was wrong with the mother board (or, at least the connection between the mother board and any other devices inside the machine (the DVD drive could not be seen either)).

I subsequently purchased a Mac Mini last July, and I was able to salvage both the Seagate Drive (now in an external case) and the DVD drive (also in an external case). The reason I mention this is that I am thinking that the 500 gig Seagate Drive inside the FreeAgent's case can (hopefully) be saved, and I could place it inside an external 5 1/4" drive case. If it can't be saved, I'll have to find a way to COMPLETELY destroy the drive, as it has both of my backups on it, along with some important personal files.

But, before I go that route (if it's possible), is there anything else I can do to try and have the drive mount (or at least "see" the contents)?

Any advice, information etc. would be appreciated!
( Last edited by akent35; Apr 8, 2014 at 04:41 PM. )
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 07:42 PM
 
Open the enclosure and move the drive to a different enclosure to test it.

There was a weird firmware bug in some Seagate drives about five years ago that would cause the drives to be unrecognized from one day to the next. It affected two of my drives within days of each other just a few months ago, and it affected a drive a friend of mine had bought at the same time, some time last autumn. The drives still spun up and sounded normal, but no access was possible. Both my enclosures are still working fine now, with replacement drives, and the drives themselves would not function in enclosures verified to be fine.

In his case, Seagate acknowledged the *possibility* of the drive being affected by a firmware bug and actually recovered his data for free. This is the only information I have on this issue, so I more or less assumed that this was what happened to my drives as well. I never checked with them, since all my data was duplicated in multiple redundant backups, and any warranty had long expired.

Our three affected drives were all purchased in LaCie enclosures.
     
akent35  (op)
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Apr 8, 2014, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Open the enclosure and move the drive to a different enclosure.

There was a weird firmware bug in some Seagate drives about five years ago that would cause the drives to be unrecognized from one day to the next. It affected two of my drives within days of each other just a few months ago, and it affected a drive a friend of mine had bought at the same time, some time last autumn.

In his case, Seagate acknowledged the *possibility* of the drive being affected by a firmware bug and actually recovered his data for free. I never checked with them, since all my data was duplicated in multiple redundant backups, and any warranty had long expired.

Our three affected drives were all purchased in LaCie enclosures.
Thanks, SH! Actually, I just finished doing that (removing the drive itself, placing it inside another enclosure), and it still did not mount. I am just about certain, though, that everything on that defunct drive is/was also on the drive that was originally (and now back inside) the enclosure.

I have another, 1 TB (2.5") drive in a nice, small external case, and I'm going to duplicate everything right now from the good drive to the 1 TB one. Next, I want to purchase a new, external 500 gig drive to basically replace the bad one. Such a size will be more than enough for me.

I will still need to completely destroy the bad drive.
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 08:11 PM
 
Keep the enclosure and stick a new drive in there.
     
akent35  (op)
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Apr 8, 2014, 08:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Keep the enclosure and stick a new drive in there.
Great idea! Now, I need to find a bare, 500 gig, 7200 rpm drive. Anyone have any suggestions where I can get one? I'll try and go a google search, but not sure if I'll have any luck.
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 02:07 AM
 
Why? I replaced mine with 4TB. This is 2014.
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 03:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Why? I replaced mine with 4TB. This is 2014.
All year.

SH is right. 500 GB -> 1 TB -> 2 TB are about the same price today, and a 3 TB is only a few bux more. 3TB is currently the best price per TB. You pay a premium for 4 TB, which may change soon as 5 and 6 TB drives have just been introduced.

I'd suggest a 3 or 2 TB drive, based on how much you want to spend. You won't save anything by going smaller, you'd only get a slower drive using an older design.
     
akent35  (op)
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Apr 9, 2014, 12:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
All year.

SH is right. 500 GB -> 1 TB -> 2 TB are about the same price today, and a 3 TB is only a few bux more. 3TB is currently the best price per TB. You pay a premium for 4 TB, which may change soon as 5 and 6 TB drives have just been introduced.

I'd suggest a 3 or 2 TB drive, based on how much you want to spend. You won't save anything by going smaller, you'd only get a slower drive using an older design.
Wow! Yeah, it is all year 2014, this year! How did you come up with that?

Yeah, when I did a search yesterday, there was very little price difference between 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. I was really hoping to find an inexpensive 500 Gig drive that was 7200 rpm in speed, and had a Firewire 800 connection. I previously purchased a Thunderboltb to Firewire 800 adapter that I still want to use, and drives with such connectors are somewhat expensive. Yes, I know that USB 3.0 is "about" as fast, but then the adapter would not get used.

I'll keep looking.
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 12:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Why? I replaced mine with 4TB. This is 2014.
Yeah, I am well aware of the year. But, as it is, I already have two external 1 TB drives (one is a small, portable one), and I am not even using 40% of the space on each one. 4 TB would be a waste of money, and overkill.

I'll probably settle for a 1 TB drive. But, I want one that is 7200 rpm in speed, and has a Firewire 800 port.
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 12:51 PM
 
You already have a working enclosure — why spend for another new one?

If you get a 3TB drive and throw that into the Seagate enclosure, you can use that as an extra Time Machine backup for ALL of your drives, including both externals.
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You already have a working enclosure — why spend for another new one?

If you get a 3TB drive and throw that into the Seagate enclosure, you can use that as an extra Time Machine backup for ALL of your drives, including both externals.
On the back of the enclosure, there are two Firewire connector openings, one USB 2.0 connector opening, and the one for the power connection. The old drive was mounted vertically, and it also had a small circuit board attached to it that had the actual Firewire 800, USB, and power connectors.

Not sure how "easy" it's going to be to vertically mount a new drive, as there was also a metal "case" that held the drive in place vertically. (I actually had to bend parts of that case a little to get the drive itself out).

It looked like there was not that much of a difference in price between just the bare drive, and a drive already in a case. The price differences from one brand to the next were, for the most part, due to the rotational speed of the disk (I really prefer 7200 rpm, as that would run faster in case I want to boot from a backup on the drive), and the connections. USB 2.0 is, of course, cheaper (and OK for me), but I really want Firewire 800, so that I can make use of the adapter I previously purchased.

I'll keep looking. I am rather surprised how relatively "expensive" 500 Gig drives are (compared to 1 TB and 2 TB drives).

Appreciate your advice, even in 2014!
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 03:10 PM
 
All hard drives have standardized sizes and connections. If the old drive was a 3.5" S-ATA drive, then the little connector circuit board and the mounting frame will attach to ANY 3.5" S-ATA you can buy.

The reason that 500GB hard drives aren't much cheaper is that the hardware is usually identical. It's just the controlling circuitry (sometimes even just the firmware) that limits the capacity.
     
akent35  (op)
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Apr 10, 2014, 12:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
All hard drives have standardized sizes and connections. If the old drive was a 3.5" S-ATA drive, then the little connector circuit board and the mounting frame will attach to ANY 3.5" S-ATA you can buy.
Understand. I had already suspected that is/was the case. My only issue now is trying to re-attach the mounting frame correctly. If I can do that, then I will have my firewire 800 connection.

[QUOTE=Spheric Harlot;4273155The reason that 500GB hard drives aren't much cheaper is that the hardware is usually identical. It's just the controlling circuitry (sometimes even just the firmware) that limits the capacity.[/QUOTE]

While that certainly makes sense, I'm still somewhat surprised that with almost everyone wanting to buy larger drives (1 TB or greater), 500 gig drives would be in abundant supply, and thus the prices for such devices would be substantially cheaper.
     
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Apr 15, 2014, 02:44 PM
 
Here is a happy update regarding my issue. I found a 1 TB Seagate 3.5" Internal Drive (7200 rpm, 32 MB cache) at Best Buy for $58.98. But, by using a $50 Best Buy Rewards Certificate which I had, I am only paying, including tax (free shipping), $9.83! I opted for store pickup, and thus the drive should arrive there no later than April 21.

Meanwhile, I removed the 1 TB 7200 rpm Seagate Drive from my working external case, put it inside the case that had the 500 Gig drive that went bad, connected it to my Mac Mini via the Firewire 800 cable, and it worked flawlessly! So, when I receive the new Seagate Drive, I'll just mount it inside the empty external case, and connect it via USB 2.0 to my Mac Mini.

As I stated previously, I wanted to have the capability of Firewire 800 connectivity, as I previously purchased a (rather expensive) Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 cable, and thus I could continue to use it with my Mac Book Air when I make my backup.

My next project will be to dismantle the bad 500 gig drive. I believe I have the tools to do it, and then I'll destroy the drive's platter (and whatever else I can destroy).

All in all, a happy ending, and I appreciate everyone's advice about my issue.
     
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Apr 15, 2014, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by akent35 View Post
While that certainly makes sense, I'm still somewhat surprised that with almost everyone wanting to buy larger drives (1 TB or greater), 500 gig drives would be in abundant supply, and thus the prices for such devices would be substantially cheaper.
That's not how it works:

a) Why should they be made in abundant supply if that's not what people are wanting to buy?

b) Why should they be substantially cheaper if they're making fewer of them, and if the actual cost of making them is the same?
     
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Apr 16, 2014, 12:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's not how it works:

a) Why should they be made in abundant supply if that's not what people are wanting to buy?

b) Why should they be substantially cheaper if they're making fewer of them, and if the actual cost of making them is the same?
For a), I was actually thinking/saying that they would be in abundant supply, ie, not selling many of them, and thus not making many more of them.

For b), they would not be making many (if any) more of them, but with the remaining inventory just staying basically static, resellers would want to move them.

In any event, that's all history, as I purchased a 1 TB drive.
     
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Apr 16, 2014, 01:42 PM
 
Vendors don't have "remaining inventory" of products still being made.

Stuff that's discontinued is cleared by resellers, often at a discount. As long as it is still being made, numbers are just reduced. Reduced numbers also means less economy of scale for all parties involved, so prices don't drop much until the products are finally discontinued.
     
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Apr 16, 2014, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Vendors don't have "remaining inventory" of products still being made.

Stuff that's discontinued is cleared by resellers, often at a discount. As long as it is still being made, numbers are just reduced. Reduced numbers also means less economy of scale for all parties involved, so prices don't drop much until the products are finally discontinued.
I did not say that vendors have "remaining inventory". I stated that resellers do. Obviously (at least to me), vendors are no longer going to manufacture a product that has almost zero demand, and as you stated, costs about the same as ones which have a demand.

For a product that is no longer being manufactured, and resellers still have them in stock, they would want to move them out as quickly as possible. Remember, there are inventory costs that affect a company's bottom line.

I guess when I recently looked, that point had not been reached yet.
     
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Apr 16, 2014, 02:55 PM
 
I said the same. "Vendors" meant "sales points", not manufacturers. Apologies for being unclear.

There is no such thing as "remaining inventory" on products that have not been discontinued. These are just normal supplies that will be re-stocked once depleted.
     
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Apr 16, 2014, 05:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I said the same. "Vendors" meant "sales points", not manufacturers. Apologies for being unclear.

There is no such thing as "remaining inventory" on products that have not been discontinued. These are just normal supplies that will be re-stocked once depleted.
Not sure why you even started all this, as I have already purchased a 1 TB drive. But, it is interesting, per se.

Actually, here is the definition of vendor:

Vendor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, it could be a manufacturer, or another middle man, or the "final" reseller. The main point is that if 500 gig drives are becoming more and more "scarce", from a manufacturing perspective, then what still remains of such drives for sale by a reseller is where I was coming from, regarding remaining inventory.

For an item that has been "discontinued" (ie, no longer made by a manufacturer), then supplies will not be refreshed. So, the ones that the reseller has left are clearly considered to be in inventory. As inventory of 500 gig drives is reduced, it will not be re-supplied. That is also where I was coming from. Again, such inventory does affect a reseller's bottom line, and thus one would think they would want to get rid of them (assuming demand is low and/or basically non-existent).
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 09:42 AM
 
Ok so this is a bummer. I had a spare 2tb external seagate expansion drive. So I thought slap it into an old iMac and get some more drive space. I connected the drive via USB and did a clone. Restarted mac from clone via USB to check. Yup all good. Took drive out of enclosure. Fitted to iMac. Won't boot.

Out of interest I put the old drive in the enclosure. Not recognised. Neither is any other drive I have.

So since when was it ok to custom firmware these drives to only work with he supplied enclosure. !!

Stupid tech firms always with the not playing well with standards.

Anyone else found this. I've also found many 2.5 in enclosures now using custom sata interfaces so you can't swap them over either.

:-/
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 02:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Ok so this is a bummer. I had a spare 2tb external seagate expansion drive. So I thought slap it into an old iMac and get some more drive space. I connected the drive via USB and did a clone. Restarted mac from clone via USB to check. Yup all good. Took drive out of enclosure. Fitted to iMac. Won't boot.

Out of interest I put the old drive in the enclosure. Not recognised. Neither is any other drive I have.

So since when was it ok to custom firmware these drives to only work with he supplied enclosure. !!

Stupid tech firms always with the not playing well with standards.

Anyone else found this. I've also found many 2.5 in enclosures now using custom sata interfaces so you can't swap them over either.

:-/
Man, Doc HM, that sure is some weird stuff! I guess the Seagate Enclosure that I have (purchased about 5 years ago, with a 500 gig Seagate drive inside) is "generic" enough to accommodate another drive. As I stated above, I have installed the 1 TB, 3.5" Seagate Drive that I had in another (more recent) enclosure inside the older enclosure, and it works fine. I am assuming that when I get the newer 1 TB, 3.5" Seagate drive on Monday and mount it inside the newer enclosure, it will work fine.

Going the other direction, back in November, I replaced the slow 1 TB, 2.5" 5400 rpm drive (Hitachi Model HTS541010A9E662) that was inside my Mac Mini with a 256 gig Samsung SSD, and installed the 1 TB, 2.5" drive inside a newer 2.5" enclosure. The drive works fine, including being able to boot from it after a Super Duper bootable backup on it.

Maybe going forward, when one wants to purchase an external drive, it would be best to purchase the drive and enclosure separately. Hopefully, such an enclosure would be "generic" enough to accommodate just about any drive that will fit. (I wonder how one knows how "generic" an enclosure is. Also, are there such strange differences between 2.5" and 3.5" enclosures?).

From what you described, except for the original drive that was inside the enclosure, placing another drive inside renders that drive not being accessible. Do you have another enclosure that you can make such tests with? The one I installed the drive from the Mac Mini in is an Orico 2588US3:

Amazon.com: Tool Free Screw-Less ORICO 2588US3 USB 3.0 2.5-inch External Hard Drive Enclosure Adapter Case for HDD SSD SATA Drive - Black: Computers & Accessories

It's a real nice, slim, and light external case.
( Last edited by akent35; Apr 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM. )
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 01:18 AM
 
Well, I had a strange thing happen, similar to Doc HM's situation. I picked up the new 1 TB Seagate drive from Best Buy today, and placed it inside my newer external enclosure. But, when I booted my Mac Mini up, that drive was not recognized at all by Disk Utility. I re-confirmed all the connections, and tried again. No luck.

So, I swapped 1 TB Seagate drives from the two external enclosures. That is, I placed the new 1 TB drive inside the older enclosure, and the older 1 TB drive inside the new enclosure. This time, Disk Utility did recognize the new drive (along with the old one), and I was able to Erase it, format it, and partition it. I will next copy some files from the old drive to the new one.

I am at a loss why the new 1 TB Seagate Drive, mounted inside the newer enclosure, would not be recognized. It's certainly a mystery (the new enclosure is connected to my Mac Mini via USB 2.0, and the older one via Firewire 800 (along with the Thunderbolt-to-Firewire 800 connector)).
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 07:05 AM
 
I do wish companies would leave stuff alone. I see why they do it. Seagate want you buying a while new external drive when your old drive pegs out not simply buying a cheaper bare drive and swapping it out but these things ARE supposed to be standard.
With the portable drives I get that it may be a footprint thing to build the interface into the drive controller board but it's a pain.

Progress is good though right?
     
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Apr 18, 2014, 01:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
I do wish companies would leave stuff alone. I see why they do it. Seagate want you buying a while new external drive when your old drive pegs out not simply buying a cheaper bare drive and swapping it out but these things ARE supposed to be standard.
With the portable drives I get that it may be a footprint thing to build the interface into the drive controller board but it's a pain.

Progress is good though right?
TOTALLY agree with you! As it is, I do not know if buying another vendor's drive (Western Digital, for example) would have made a difference with my strange situation.

I have always had good to excellent success with Seagate drives, and that is the primary reason why I got one. But, I am truly baffled as why the installation of a bare drive (supposedly not case dependent) would not work in a newer enclosure that accommodated an older Seagate drive. One would think it would be the other way around!

That still leaves a problem for your situation. You have a bare drive, but which "type" of external case will it work in?
     
   
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