My IT issues (much more fun, in themselves, than dealing with the local hostilities)


Have replaced one HDD. Still have some installing to do but all seems well with that computer. Not one beep or glitch. I was sooooooo happy about that. It sucks to have all your HDDs crash around you and have no reliable PC, certainly in these pandemic times.

The one that failed the DST a while ago and later flagged OK again in disks is still flagged with caution in R-Linux. Reallocated sector issue, off the top of my head. Bad blocks. It had 7, now 6.

The 2TB disk that I really want to recover… is doing better with the new SATA-to-USB connection! (Correction: It is also markedly warmer today and the drive could be responding to that. Low temps seemed to play a role in its failure.) I could see that some of the elements on the SATA bridge looked a bit dull (corroded) so… I felt that I should give a connector a shot.

The more HDD recovery videos I watched, the more I started to feel that it might actually be an electronics issue – instead of the headstack somehow being jammed or something – that I am dealing with and there too, I guess, low temp could play a role (conductivity).

(I should probably also remove the PCB and clean it up a little to see if that helps. I need a different Torx screwdriver for that.)

I probably should have gotten a docking station to rule out any issues with power. Costs 3 times as much. (There you go. I am a regular English person now. Do you see?) 

I tried a different power supply but the drive was totally dead with it. It was supposed to be for this exact type of drive, but it allowed a slightly higher amperage so maybe that did matter after all. Or else, that supply was simply faulty.

The HDD has now audibly said hello to the PC a few times but I’ve only seen it once, in R-Linux, and I am getting i/o errors at: 1049088, 1049600, 1050112, 1050624 and a few more, by the looks of it, but I could not scroll the window in R-Linux down for some reason. That looks like isolated bad blocks to me, so no head issue. (As I got the serial number etc off the drive the other day, I was hoping as much, though some drives have the serial number stored in the PCB, so I understand.)

But it also can’t be the only problem. Or could those blocks be too critical? In the table? Anyway, if only I could only somehow manage to map the bad blocks, I might be okay???

Can anyone tell me what the red light on a SATA-to-USB3 connector means? There is a blue light too, but that is drive ready/busy, the same blue light that was on the bridge.

Oh, but now I am getting i/o errors at position zero. That’s less delightful.

And this is particularly why I am SO IMMENSELY FURIOUS about the hacking. You can no longer tell what is caused by the hacking – deliberately or accidentally because there has been a lot of hardware hacking as well – or what is an issue of a different nature. You completely lose the feel for what your system does when it runs well. It’s like driving a car, goddammit.

Besides that, you feel powerless. Being targeted by relentless hacking is like driving a car while you’re locked in the trunk! But much worse than that is that the hacking – and the lock-picking – means you cannot do much within any kind of professional context.

… fast forward an hour or so

I almost got it to mount once! Said “mounting cancelled”.

Also, I got this off it:

Physical Drive,Disk


R-Linux driver: uas

1.82 TB (3907029168 Sectors)

(Supposed to be 2000 GB, so 180 GB have gone missing…)

512 Bytes

Default (read attempts)

max transfer: 128 kb

i/o unit : 512 bytes

Buffer alignment: 4 kb

Cylinders: 1907729

Tracks per cylinder: 64

Sectors per track: 32

Sector size: 512 bytes

Port number: 4

Path ID: 0

Target ID: 0

Just wanted to mount again, and then again said “Operation was cancelled” but it even saw the name of the volume.


What is “/run/user/1001/doc”?

The next surprise… It is not a Seagate? It says J MicronTech. Of course… brands often stuff other brands’ drives inside. But nope, that is the connector, I think.

I had already noticed that the serial number on the box did not seem to match the serial number that the drive gave, but I bought the HDD new from a reputable English business. I don’t remember whether the box was sealed in its wrap.

But I now get a very different cylinder count (243201). Not good. Actually, no, that was just an abort. Partial data.

Okay, let’s allow it to rest now. Except, when I then walked away for a sec, I could hear it trying again. I think it really likes higher temperatures. Has never had any issues with really hot weather in my office, but failed after a cold night spent in the coldest corner of my office. Safely tucked away behind the computers, was the idea.

Fingers crossed. I may open it up (in my clean-air enclosure), remove the stack and clean the heads, then put it back again, but only if I have to. Because now… I do keep getting that feeling again of the heads not wanting to move and I had this theory about contraction of metals possibly playing a role in stopping the heads from moving in connection with debris, perhaps. Not necessarily platter dust but plain dust. Also… in theory… the temp could affect the magnet… But I’ve never heard of the magnet being an issue in HDD failure (yet). I think I can rule that out.

Yeah, okay, in view of those 180 GB that seem to have gone missing, it could also be the platter surface that went. Professional recovery services have all sorts of equipment/software combinations that allows them to do so much more.

(It still keeps trying to mount from time to time now. It had not done that at all since it collapsed – until today. The new connector is definitely helping with that.)

Will use the other drive that collapsed to play with, though.

See Portsmouth, that is the difference between you and me. Me, I like solving stuff. You, you like creating problems. I like solving problems but not the kind of unnecessary and unproductive problems that are no more than the result of people throwing sticks in someone else’s wheels.

2 thoughts on “My IT issues (much more fun, in themselves, than dealing with the local hostilities)

  1. OK, am gonna try one more thing (I probably already said that in the above post). Will clean up the PCB, but have no idea which Torx is required to remove that! Yet a smaller one than the two I had ordered for opening up the drive, that much is clear. I have ordered two larger sets now, with more sizes. I may return the Xbox set that I have now as I will have those two Torx screwdrivers in triplicate, which is overkill, plus I won’t use the other two tools that came with it as I am not prying open an Xbox. That’s how it goes. Or I may keep them for when someone on Freecycle is looking for something like that. The problem with Torx screwdrivers is that you can’t do a thing until you’ve got the right one(s)!

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