Question Legacy HDDs not communicating with Win 10 and likely not 8.1

gn842a

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I have two XP era HDD Western digital drives, I think one is 128 gigs (quaint) and one 256 gigs. They are in "metal gearbox" (a brand name) external hard drive cases and so, they've been reasonably well protected. They both show "proof of life" in that the light comes on and you here that gentle HDD whir on startup and they vibrate very slightly. They both transmit data through USB 2.0 A to B cables. These are pre-SATA HDDs. The data cable on the interior of the hard drive case looks very much like a motherboard power supply cable today: Long, skinny, lots of pins. But it feeds into a USB 2.0 output.

Three or four years ago I took all of my CDs, maybe 150 of them, and shipped them to a service that turns them into mp3s and also lossless formats. The service wanted me to provide a storage medium so I sent off the 128 gig metal gear box and got all these files (and the CDs) back in the metal gear box.

At that time I was running Win 8.1 and the transfer of the files to the hard drive was not problematic. And to my amazement Carbonite backs up the music files too.

So anyhow, I have recovered 99% of my data after a recent crash from Carbonite and for some unknown reason one of the lossless file directories appears to have been garbled or lost in the Carbonite restoration process.

So I decided to hook up the old trusty 128 gig metal gear box and nose around in its directory to see what was what. It is a known thing that this hard drive worked three or four years ago with Win 8.1, and it fired up, but Win 10 doesn't "see" it. It does not show in the disk management folder. There is no chirp notification when it is connected or disconnected.

I thought it might be a Win 10 thing so I took it upstairs where we're still running Win 8.1, but up there it also was not recognized by the 8.1 OS, even though my downstairs 8.1 OS had no problem with it a few years ago. I have not yet booted my son from his gaming to see whether the HDD shows in the upstairs 8.1 directory or the disk management, but I am not optimistic.

It is not out of the question that the units have not done well for lack of use these past six years and so perhaps they need to be tossed. But I wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious. I don't even know what's on one of the external HDDs. I do know that there are, or at least were, music files on the other.

thanks,
Greg N
 

gn842a

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Ran into a similar this issue with my 2011 vintage Unicomp keyboard, which I mothballed because you could not access BIOS with it. Otherwise I liked it, it's an IBM selectric keyboard modernized for computers. Except BIOS. I even called the company and talked a long time with someone, but they were of the view they did not need to access BIOS.

Anyhow I was testing it before putting it on Craigslist, and same issue. It shows a proof of life (green light) but doesn't connect or function. I believe I was using this in the last days of XP. I moved to Win 8.1 in fall 2013 getting out just slightly ahead of the April 2014 suspension of support for XP.

I probably stopped using the Unicomp keyboard around 2012 and haven't used it since. So I have no experience using it with 8.1 or 10.

Greg N
 

popatim

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gn842a

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Sounds like the drive is having an issue reading the platters which could have corrupted from sitting too long.
You can remove the drive from the enclosure and try it in a pc. It should be using an IDE interface so you will need an adapter to convert it to Sata https://www.newegg.com/syba-sd-ada50016-sata-to-ide/p/N82E16812186078
and possibly a Sata power to molex adapter if your pc lasks one as well. https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16812198026
Thank you for the links. It is true that these external drives have sat too long. I had an old Seagate from about the same era but it was fired up every day. It was working as of this afternoon (from my old build, was testing it.)
I'll need to think about this option. It might be easier just to go through my CDs, find the ones I think are missing, and make new files from DVD drives (which I still have).

thanks,
Greg N
 

gn842a

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And hopefully those CD's still read fully.
I have many that were burned "several years ago" that are no longer readable all the way through.
Huh. I had no idea. Actually the CDs I'm referring to are OEM CDs from whatever company did the contract with the artists. Deutsche Grammaphone, Philipps, etc. I never ever listened to them any more. So I sent them off to be turned into MP3s and lossless. Now I listen to them all the time because they're on the phone. But I won't be able to use the lossless files on the phone till I get a new smart phone with more storage.
 

USAFRet

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CD/DVD pressed from the factory are almost certainly OK.
CD/DVD you burn at home is a different technology. The organic layer can absolutely break down.
I have some where you can actually see the rot growing on the inside.
 

popatim

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it's not how old they are, its how long they sat unpowered. The magnetic fields of the data bits breaks down over time and needs to refreshing occasionally. How often depends on the technology & materials the drive is made of.
 
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gn842a

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it's not how old they are, its how long they sat unpowered. The magnetic fields of the data bits breaks down over time and needs to refreshing occasionally. How often depends on the technology & materials the drive is made of.
This is something I did not know. Surely by now someone has characterized how long an unpowered HDD can sit before losing data? (I'm sure it would be a % degradation...but at some point the drive becomes unreadable?) I'm interested because I just mothballed an HDD. I have no plans to use it but figured it might come in handy some time.

And of my two OLD HDD's that are still operable, it is in fact as you state, they were in stalled and being powered up regularly. So you can't just take an HDD and toss it in the closet and expect it to spit out data years later. What about a brand new virgin HDD that's never even been plugged in....does it lose its operability?

thanks
greg N
 

gn842a

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I see a lot of articles citing a study by Backblaze of hard drives but I still haven't figured out whether their study of 25,000 HDDs was for HDDs running 24/7 or on some kind of irregular schedule. I had been planning on running my external HDD 1x a week for about half an hour to do a data back up. That's "regular use" but it's a lot less use than 8 or 24 hours a day. Sounds like I should plan on replacing it after three years with an external SSD. Greg N
 

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