Hardware How to properly store an external hdd for prolonged period

godreborn

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yet again, another one of my hdds has failed from nonuse. I go to see what's on it only for it not to make a connection. windows 10 recognizes it (by that little tune), but nothing shows up, even in disk management. should I start using a sata station or something? are external hard drives prone to this sort of failure? I have a lot of hdds, so I don't want this to happen constantly. btw, these are all external hard drives. any recommendations?
 

Joe88

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How long are we talking about here?

Never really had a problem with external hdd's, have 6 of them ranging from 128GB to 8TB
 

godreborn

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like a matter of months. I can feel one of the drives running, but it's not detectable with different cables, ports, or even computers. they're all external hdds (if that makes a difference). also, I have two external hdds (10TBs and powered) connected to two usb ports, and then one final usb port for a usb hub (powered) with another 10TB hdd (powered) and 2 other 2TB hdds (unpowered). I'm not sure if the computer is doing something to them or not. the drives are not detected in device manager or disk management.
 

CMDreamer

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Do you store them on a humid place?
Humidity is a killer for electronic devices, and even more for rubber and derivatives.

Try to store them along with silicon dioxide bags (silica), it absorbs high levels of humidity compared to the small quantity used.
 
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godreborn

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the weird thing is that the hdds in question are almost in the same spot as when they were connected to my computer. could unplugging the hdds without doing "safe removal" cause a problem? they were also plugged into a powered usb hub. however, this has happened with my ps3 and 360 external hdds too. all were the same make/model. however, the two hdds now - one is using a different enclosure and the other is just a normal external hdd, so I don't think it's the enclosure but perhaps the make? all were WD hdds with the most common being WD elements.

edit: the only truly common thing about all of them is lack of use. internal hdds seem to last, just not external ones.
 

Anfroid

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From what I've heard external drives use don't use high quality drives that get used for internal drives. So they may be more likely to be slower or more likely to fail. Not sure how true that is though.
 

godreborn

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yeah, I don't play any game systems but the switch. the internal hdd (1TB) of my 360 and the internal hdd of my original ps3 (750GB) have lasted for like a decade with no use, so I'm assuming the enclosures are just poorly made. this is why I've kept my main backup drives connected to my laptop at all times.
 

enderer

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when i experienced a similar problem of drives going bad, it was my power cord for my usb-sata dock giving wrong voltage or something like that. i haven't had a drive die on me in years since i changed my cords.
 
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IncredulousP

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Brands make a huge difference. Personally I don't buy anything but Western Digital HDDs, in my experience they have been most reliable. Definitely not seagate.
Here's an interesting article: https://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-reliable-hard-drive-brands-1505797966
I haven't had too much experience with Hitachi, and I serviced a few when I worked in IT, but I also serviced some WD so not too sure how it stacks up.
Also try to use the external only for holding data (backups) and not so much active use (e.g. installing games or editing movies on it).
Don't move, shake, or otherwise bump the drive when it's spinning (but really at all).
Don't power it off until it has been "safely" removed from whatever OS was accessing it.
Don't try to water it, it won't grow.
Don't leave it in the sun, see above reason.
Don't place it somewhere where there is heat, a heat source, or generally hot air/environment.
 
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godreborn

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thanks. my original wii hdd's problem seemed to be the power cable, but crystal disk info said "caution," so I replaced it. one of the hdds I'm trying spins up, but is not detected. is it possible for a y cable or a regular 3.0 cable could work with one drive but not another? I tried both - not detected. the other drive is powered and in a different enclosure and nothing. I just don't get it. this has happened so frequently, and it's always been with a drive that's seen minimal use.
 

Originality

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Different drives do have different power requirements. As a rule of thumb, the higher the rpm, the more power it takes, to the point where a single USB 3.0 port (0.8A max) may not be enough and a Y cable (2x0.5A max) is required.

Of course it could also be the controller in the enclosure/adapter that’s died. Always test drives in computers to know if they’re good or not.

Wii reduces the power allowance in the ports so a Y cable is even more necessary for some drives (but not all).
 

godreborn

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I have a 2 10TB hdds plugged into two usb ports (3.0 and one in each), plus a usb hub plugged into the third. the usb hub has a couple chargers, 1 10TB hdd (powered), and 2 2TB hdds (unpowered) plugged into. about half of the ports are used. they never lose connection or anything. it's just when an hdd hasn't been plugged in for a while. this also includes hdds that are plugged into game systems.

edit: should I buy a sata station in order to test the drives? if so, which one?
 
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