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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: Failing USB HDD... Reply with quote

I have a nagging problem. I had a client bring me a USB disk that is being a pain to recover via ddrescue. It is an old Verbatim Store-n-go 2GB disk that apparently has a platter in the plastic housing. I hear it spinning and clicking when accessed. However, after about five minutes the device disappears from /dev and reappears a few minutes later. Below is a clean attempt to capture the device.
Code:

username@laptop01 ~ $ sudo ddrescue -b 512 -d /dev/sdb /home/username/verbatim.img /home/username/verbatim.map
GNU ddrescue 1.21
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
     ipos:  707788 kB, non-trimmed:   589824 B,  current rate:       0 B/s
     opos:  707788 kB, non-scraped:        0 B,  average rate:    949 kB/s
non-tried:    1438 MB,     errsize:        0 B,      run time:     12m  7s
  rescued:  690552 kB,      errors:        0,  remaining time:         12m
percent rescued:  32.42%      time since last successful read:      4m  9s
Copying non-tried blocks... Pass 1 (forwards)
ddrescue: Input file disappeared: No such file or directory
username@laptop01 ~ $ sudo ddrescue -b 512 -d /dev/sdb /home/username/verbatim.img /home/username/verbatim.map
Password:
GNU ddrescue 1.21
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
Initial status (read from mapfile)
  rescued:  690552 kB,     errsize:        0 B,  errors:       0

Current status
     ipos:    2117 MB, non-trimmed:    2427 kB,  current rate:       0 B/s
     opos:    2117 MB, non-scraped:        0 B,  average rate:       0 B/s
non-tried:    1436 MB,     errsize:        0 B,      run time:      1m 13s
  rescued:  690552 kB,      errors:        0,  remaining time:         n/a
percent rescued:  32.42%      time since last successful read:      1m 13s
Copying non-tried blocks... Pass 2 (backwards)
ddrescue: Input file disappeared: No such file or directory
username@laptop01 ~ $ sudo ddrescue -b 512 -d /dev/sdb /home/username/verbatim.img /home/username/verbatim.map
Password:
GNU ddrescue 1.21
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
Initial status (read from mapfile)
  rescued:  690552 kB,     errsize:        0 B,  errors:       0

Current status
     ipos:    2124 MB, non-trimmed:    3279 kB,  current rate:       0 B/s
     opos:    2124 MB, non-scraped:        0 B,  average rate:    6678 B/s
non-tried:    1434 MB,     errsize:        0 B,      run time:      2m 37s
  rescued:  691601 kB,      errors:        0,  remaining time:     19h  2m
percent rescued:  32.47%      time since last successful read:      1m 15s
Copying non-tried blocks... Pass 1 (forwards)
ddrescue: Input file disappeared: No such file or directory
username@laptop01 ~ $ sudo ddrescue -b 512 -d /dev/sdb /home/username/verbatim.img /home/username/verbatim.map
Password:
GNU ddrescue 1.21
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
Initial status (read from mapfile)
  rescued:  691601 kB,     errsize:        0 B,  errors:       0

Current status
     ipos:    2124 MB, non-trimmed:    3410 kB,  current rate:       0 B/s
     opos:    2124 MB, non-scraped:        0 B,  average rate:     862 B/s
non-tried:    1434 MB,     errsize:        0 B,      run time:      1m 16s
  rescued:  691666 kB,      errors:        0,  remaining time:  2d  6h 51m
percent rescued:  32.48%      time since last successful read:      1m 13s
Copying non-tried blocks... Pass 1 (forwards)
ddrescue: Input file disappeared: No such file or directory
username@laptop01 ~ $ sudo ddrescue -b 512 -d /dev/sdb /home/username/verbatim.img /home/username/verbatim.map
Password:
GNU ddrescue 1.21
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
Initial status (read from mapfile)
  rescued:  691666 kB,     errsize:        0 B,  errors:       0

Current status
     ipos:    2119 MB, non-trimmed:    8260 kB,  current rate:       0 B/s
     opos:    2119 MB, non-scraped:        0 B,  average rate:    1379 B/s
non-tried:    1429 MB,     errsize:        0 B,      run time:      1m 35s
  rescued:  691798 kB,      errors:        0,  remaining time:         n/a
percent rescued:  32.48%      time since last successful read:      1m 13s
Copying non-tried blocks... Pass 2 (backwards)
ddrescue: Input file disappeared: No such file or directory

It does slowly move forward but is there a better way to do this?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth,

That the drive vanishes from /dev indicates that it goes not ready.
That's either an intermittent electronics problem or a spin motor issue.
Lets not allow for two faults.

If the drive in normally operated in a particular orientation, rotate it (not around the spin axis) so it rests on another face.
This will change the way gravity and the air bearings interact. It may allom you to gen more than 5 min operation at a time.

If its an intermittent electronics problem, its probably a thermal issue. Consider how you can improve cooling.
Possibly remove at least parts of the case?
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is cooling. If I unplug it and wait ten minutes, it goes longer than if I simply wait for it to reappear. I already tried different orientations to no avail. I cannot figure out how to disassemble this stupid thing either, making matters worse. I can't even find a picture of this unit online. It only shows me flash drives, not a mechanical one like this, and the model number is useless. It is silver and gray with maybe a one-inch USB cord. It also has a red LED on the front.

*EDIT*

I grabbed the disk. The model number is "094933". It is a 2.1GB Store'n'go disk.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 2GB mechanical disk sounds ancient, and probably not likely to be just a commodity ATA disk in a USB enclosure. I wouldn't recommend pulling it apart.

You could try the old "leave it in the freezer for a while" trick (requires some condensation-proofing) to get more runtime out of it.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought about the fridge, but am hesitant due to it possibly losing magnetism. I may try something though. The client may just be out of luck.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update. I put it in the fridge and, once cooled, tried it. It went four minutes instead of three. This gave me an idea. I put it into my freezer, coupled it to an active repeater USB cable, fed that out through the door seal, and down to my laptop on the floor. Seems to be working!

*UPDATE*

We made it to ten minutes! I am going to upload a YouTube video of this shortly. Should get some laughs!

*UPDATE*

It stopped at 18min, 34secs. Going to let it cool and try again. Much better now though, and I am using a mapfile, so it can resume each time.
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