[SOLVED] External 2.5" HDD grinding on one machine and working impeccably on others, what gives?

Dec 12, 2018
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Good part of day you're in the middle of dear Tom's Hardware forum member or a reader passing by :p,

I've just run into a weird situation... not sure if I should call it an "issue", still. I hooked up my daily driver external HDD which hasn't given me trouble since Feb 2014 (knock on wood) to a recently "renovated" :D (Windows reinstalled) spare rig to transfer some files today, only to hear a nasty grinding & a bit clicky sound. I got a bit scared and duly powered it all off. Never happened before, and it didn't repeat when I plugged it to my laptop which I hook it up to on a regular basis. It just murmurs softly, like it always did, same as on other machines. It's a HGST HTS541010A9E680 1T 5.4K RPM 2.5" hard drive pulled from a Toshiba P50 laptop (with an SSD in its place now) and stuffed inside a USB 3.0 enclosure by Deltaco.

Specs:
  1. The laptop is that same Toshiba P50-A-13C. To whom it may concern, the power brick is the original Delta it came with. Works like a charm, doesn't even heat up much. The HDD works very well with this one.
  2. The 2nd rig is a modded Xeon E5450 in an Asrock G31M-S R2.0 mobo with 2x2G DDR2 RAM, an MSI GTX 750 Ti, and a Corsair VX550W (not VS!) PSU I bought used last year. (Please bear with me and don't write off the PSU too soon. This thing is one of the suspects but its suspect status won't help much I think. I'd be more delighted to understand what happened and how rather than just what component to throw off the window first.) The HDD clicks and grinds horrendously from time to time on this one, especially when I plug it in during the Windows XP session (2nd partition on the rig's own internal HDD) that can't recognize it (it's GPT "protected", I will elaborate soon), but it transfers files normally on the Windows 10 partition, as on other systems. (I didn't transfer much though :D before taking action to avert the possible catastrophe)
  3. The 1st rig is a Ryzen 1700, an Asrock AB350 Pro4 mobo. some other pretty ordinary stuff, and a Seasonic Focus+ Gold 550W. The HDD works very well with this one, too.
All machines are in stock configurations.

Possible clues and important points:
  1. The external drive was plugged into the front panel, not a USB port on the mobo's I/O pane. Suspect #2 - the shoddy cheap PC case, see further below.
  2. I had an issue once with a flash drive I think? that when I already had a keyboard hooked up to one front panel USB port and when I plugged a flash drive into the remaining one, the system just rebooted. Suspect #3 - the PSU, but suspect #2 won't go unnoticed just yet.
  3. The PSU also has to power 3 internal HDDs, 2 of which are 2.5", a DVD drive, a floppy drive and a generic card reader. Suspect #3 again. Though both the minor and major rails are plenty juicy according to the sticker.
  4. This drive featured a Windows installation once, remember, I pulled it off my laptop. I never really reformatted or remapped anything. That's why I always have to keep an eye on it when starting up a machine I plug it to, because Windows may want to try "repair" the "corrupt" "Windows" partition that I promptly "borked" by pulling a Thanos on everything I could remove, in pursuit of free backup space on the external drive. (It was back in 2016.) This is also the reason the HDD is unreadable (though visible in Disk Management) under XP. The laptop it came from has a full UEFI BIOS after all. And this same point is why my second rig's Windows installation tried to put its claws onto the external drive (by attempting to "repair" something at boot) today, the last time it clicked. Suspect #4 - the wacky HGST mechanism of dealing with software shenanigans. It's normal operation but that kind of "normal" which can make an anykey user like me shtick their pants.
Possible diagnoses/suspects:
  1. The drive is acting wacky on its way to the technological he(aven)/(ll).
  2. There is some additional interference in the electronics of the pretty cheapish Codegen computer case, which causes the front panel USB ports to supply dirty power.
  3. The Corsair PSU itself is supplying dirty power which the HDD doesn't like.
  4. The drive is acting wacky "per design" and it doesn't smell like failure whatsoever.
Another point: me yes speak backups, not worries pleases :p 99% of the data on the drive is re-acquirable or disposable or something I don't care much for (even though I'm a bit of a data hoarder and I never enjoyed the hype around that Mari Kondo book... ugh) or backed up, and the remaining stuff is also backed up.

Things I did, or am doing, right now:
  1. Checked the SMART stats in CrystalDiskInfo. Nothing changed, still crystal clear apart from 2 UltraDMA errors I first saw a good couple years ago before even digging out the 2nd rig. 100% positive they have nothing to do with the drive and especially with its mechanics.
  2. I'm also in the middle of an HDDScan "Verify" session right now. No noticeable changes from the last time I ran it half a year ago or something. No unreadable sectors, a few 150mses and 2 500mses (1 of which showed up when I opened Crystaldiskinfo, silly me :D )
As always, your help will be greatly appreciated Milord who's reading this :)
 
No idea really, so I'm just waffle a bit.

What sort of enclosure case is it? Is it one of those which just runs on USB power (which may be an issue as not all USB ports supply the required power), or does it require a separate power source?

As a point of comparison, I have an external HDD which uses only USB power. But it clicks if I plug it into a USB hub, and doesn't if I plug it directly to the case's USB ports or the motherboard.
 
Dec 12, 2018
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No idea really, so I'm just waffle a bit.

What sort of enclosure case is it? Is it one of those which just runs on USB power (which may be an issue as not all USB ports supply the required power), or does it require a separate power source?

As a point of comparison, I have an external HDD which uses only USB power. But it clicks if I plug it into a USB hub, and doesn't if I plug it directly to the case's USB ports or the motherboard.
Yup, it doesn't have any ports for a power brick. Just a 2.5" enclosure that runs off USB. Windows always recognises it as "ASMT 2115 USB Device" (probably to do with the controller on the adapter board inside that thing). It's a Deltaco MAP-HL43U3.

Some HDDScan reports in the meantime: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1ughq891bh2djv0/AAAVuTY8yInmfElLtINo9TbFa?dl=0 Dunno if I should really blur out the serial number...
 

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