Is my portable hard drive failing?

janky

Standard Member
I have CrystalDisk installed on my PC which checks the health of the installed drives and warns of any issues. When I plugged in my portable hard drive into the desktop PC a caution was issued by CrystalDisk indicating that the drive was not healthy.

When I had finished the backup I was doing I checked within the Tools on the external Seagate drive itself and this did not suggest any problems with the drive.

I don't know whether I should continue to rely on the portable drive now or not. It is only about 3 years old so I am not keen on replacing it if I don't need to.

Should I buy another one just in case. These portable drives don't last long do they? Mine seem to get issues after a few years despite them not being in constant use.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
Post a screenshot of the Crystaldisk SMART table. The usual error is pending sectors or reallocated sectors. As the drive ages some sectors become 'bad' and can no longer be read or read reliably. This is normal. All Hard drives have spare sectors just for this scenario and suspect sectors then marked bad and the contents are then remapped to these spare sectors. The reallocated sectors may stay the same for months or years but if the reallocated count starts to increase rapidly then this is a sign of a failing drive. If enough errors occur then all the spare sectors are used up and data loss starts to happen. If you use the drive as a backup then personally I would not rely on it, however you could simply check the drive every month or so for rising reallocated sectors and act accordingly
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You should never rely on any single data storage device. They can all fail without warning. Backup everything you don't want to lose.


Generally these reports are based on the disk's internal reporting - S.M.A.R.T. - but some things are more likely to be indicators of failure than others so just because the drive has flagged an attribute as outside expected parameters doesn't mean it's going to fail.

I don't know how simple CrystalDisk's reporting is but If Seagate's own tool says it's fine I'd think there's low probability that you're seeing something that's actually an indicator of possible failure.

Generally the trouble with portable drives hasn't been the hard drive itself but the USB interface. I think major manufacturers like Seagate have done away with that these days, making the drives talk USB directly instead of needing an additional circuit board.
 

janky

Standard Member
Thanks to both of you. What is the best way do you think to secure my data if backing up to a portable drive isn't enough? I have looked before at online backup services but they all seem very complicated to use and I am worried about security with these. What if their data gets destroyed by hackers or due to technical issues etc?

Here is a screenshot of the CrystalDisk table reporting the errors on my Maxtor drive. It warns caution 42?
 

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DavidG1

Active Member
Thanks to both of you. What is the best way do you think to secure my data if backing up to a portable drive isn't enough? I have looked before at online backup services but they all seem very complicated to use and I am worried about security with these. What if their data gets destroyed by hackers or due to technical issues etc?

Here is a screenshot of the CrystalDisk table reporting the errors on my Maxtor drive. It warns caution 42?
As expected the drive is failing with reallocated sectors. I would back everything up and then replace it ASAP. You can securely wipe the old drive With something like DBAN or ccleaner (Google them)
HTH
David
 

DavidG1

Active Member
i have a windows home server which backs up all my computers/laptops nightly. The backups are copied off monthly onto an external drive. As regarding cloud storage, they are more reliable if anything than home storage - here is an article by Norton security
 
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EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Thanks to both of you. What is the best way do you think to secure my data if backing up to a portable drive isn't enough? I have looked before at online backup services but they all seem very complicated to use and I am worried about security with these. What if their data gets destroyed by hackers or due to technical issues etc?

The key point about backup is having multiple copies. Where those copies on a portable drive or someone else's server doesn't really matter, use whichever options are easiest for you.
 

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