[SOLVED] External drive freezes all accessing programs

Dec 28, 2019
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I have an external (usb) spinning Seagate hard drive. Whenever I try to access it whatever program I'm using freezes. When I try to format it, Windows says it is unable to do so. Any ideas?
 

stonecarver

Upstanding
Nov 18, 2019
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You could pull the drive out of the external case and shut down you Computer and test it out as a "D" drive hooked up to your motherboard.


If it's new than return and get a replacement. But if it's just been laying around nothing to loose at this point.
 
Dec 28, 2019
3
0
10
0
You could pull the drive out of the external case and shut down you Computer and test it out as a "D" drive hooked up to your motherboard.


If it's new than return and get a replacement. But if it's just been laying around nothing to loose at this point.
Unfortunately, this is a usb external drive and I only have access to a laptop at the moment.
 
Feb 19, 2020
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I just wanted to put this here for anyone else to find, as I have been running into this issue with increasing frequency, with portable drives and after having to RMA many new Out-of-Box drives with less than 24 flying head hours, I decided to get to the bottom of it... The first time I fixed it was a fluke, because I had updated the BIOS, just in case at that time. I have now learned, this appears to be affecting the Microsoft Drivers: disk.sys Ehstorclass.sys and partmgr.sys on drives that rely on the win 10 10.0.18362.1 version of these drivers from 6/21/2006, and seems to affect any USB powered external HDD device.

The symptoms:
Explorer.exe and other programs tend to lock up when attempting to access the device; or on boot, windows will freeze and refuse to load until the affected device is removed. At which point, re-plugging in the device usually results in normal operation, but not always. Sometimes you can reformat the drive, or interact with it, sometimes not. Most often it passes SMART tests, but fails others. Usually seems like there is nothing wrong with the drive, and this issue appears out of nowhere after prolonged use, or happens on drives NIB. The issue doesn't seem to discriminate. In both cases the resolution is the same.

Resolution:
If windows is in UEFI mode (regardless of secure boot or TPM state) make sure that UEFI ONLY mode is enabled in BIOS. Only use the legacy BIOS if you NEED legacy boot. It seems that Using Legacy Drivers, in a UEFI Windows environment can cause this issue when the drive is formatted NTFS (either GPT or MBR). This does not appear affect ReFS or ExFAT volumes, or flash media. Using Legacy boot, or combo UEFI/Legacy on a Legacy installation of win10 does not cause this issue, only on UEFI installations.

Hopefully this info gets into the hands of those that can actually fix the cross compatibility issue, or update the devices, and errors, to protect the drives in this circumstance, as it can often lead to immediate data loss, and worse, can potentially harm USB 3.0 port hardware and the drives themselves.
 

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