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Thread: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    139

    Question [Solved] Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    [Solved] edit: See post number 5 for a link to some software that works with external USB drives. Unfortunately it works under Windows only but if you have access to a windows machine that you can plug your external drive into it does work. See post 5 for more details.

    Hi,

    My system suddenly crashed on Sunday morning with no warning. By using TestDisk and Supergrub I managed to get back to normal booting and all my stuff is still there.

    BUT.... I am scared my hard drive is dodgy and will crash catastrophically in the near future. My whole linux system runs on an external USB Fijitsu Siemens hard drive. I just setup my work laptop (which has windows XP) to boot from USB first. My Ubuntu hard drive is then plugged into the USB port and it boots and I am a for away a fully functional Ubuntu system and I just ignore the stupid XP.

    I checked out the Fujitsu diagnostic tool on "UltimatebootCD" but it runs in dos has all sorts of disclaimers and my drive type is not listed in the supported hard drives. I would hate to crash my drive by trying to run the wrong diagnostic tool on it.

    Long story short: I am looking for a reliable safe hard drive diagnostic tool that I can run on an external USB Fujitsu Siemens hard drive. (320GB)

    Thanks

    Sneaks
    Last edited by SneakPeak; August 26th, 2009 at 03:47 AM. Reason: Solved
    Sneak Peak
    Ubuntu 10.04 32bit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    British Columbia, Canada
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    Re: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by SneakPeak View Post
    Hi,

    Long story short: I am looking for a reliable safe hard drive diagnostic tool that I can run on an external USB Fujitsu Siemens hard drive. (320GB)
    In all likelyhood, there is none. This has nothing to do with the OS, the problem is that 99% of USB bridges do not support the commands required for SMART or other meaningful diagnostics.

    Your best bet would be to connect the drive temporarily to a PC using the native interface, PATA or SATA, to run diagnostics. This would involve removal of the drive from the external case and possibly voiding your warranty.

    Software: once you remove the drive, you will be able to see who manufactured the drive. Go to the manufacturer's website to download the diagnostic tools.

    And before you do anything: MAKE A BACKUP!

  3. #3
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    May 2007
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    139

    Re: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    Thanks for the advice but I am a bit scared to take the drive out of its external casing. I will just back up my home directory on a daily basis and see what happens.

    Cheers

    Sneaks
    Last edited by SneakPeak; August 25th, 2009 at 07:17 PM.
    Sneak Peak
    Ubuntu 10.04 32bit

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Texas
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    3,930
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    command line tool to access the drives built-in diagnostics.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install smartmontools
    GUI front end GSmartControl is on the PartedMagicCD and will be available for Ubuntu starting with v9.10
    UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn
    SystemRescueCd | Dual Boot | psychocats | FAQ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    139

    Re: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    Hi

    This software was recommended in another post:

    http://hddguru.com/content/en/softwa...01.22-HDDScan/

    It does work with USB drives and will do S.M.A.R.T testing if you have a recognized / compatible USB drive. (I don't) If your drive is not compatible / recognized then it will do some basic "Read" and "Butterfly Read" and "Erase" and "Verify" tests although there is a warning against using "Verify" if your drive is not recognized / compatible.

    Cheers

    Sneaks
    Sneak Peak
    Ubuntu 10.04 32bit

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central New Hampster
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    42
    Distro
    Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Hard Drive Diagnostics External USB Drive

    Quote Originally Posted by recluce View Post
    In all likelyhood, there is none. This has nothing to do with the OS, the problem is that 99% of USB bridges do not support the commands required for SMART or other meaningful diagnostics.

    Your best bet would be to connect the drive temporarily to a PC using the native interface, PATA or SATA, to run diagnostics. This would involve removal of the drive from the external case and possibly voiding your warranty.

    Software: once you remove the drive, you will be able to see who manufactured the drive. Go to the manufacturer's website to download the diagnostic tools.

    And before you do anything: MAKE A BACKUP!
    FWIW, I built an external USB drive for use as a backup drive, I built it using a common kit ("I/O Magic", purchased at retail store "Staples"). For that device, all Windows XP administration tools (as well as all the SMART utilities I tried) and also the utilities in PCLinuxOS (fsck, fdisk, etc) all worked perfectly when the Maxtor hard disk that I built with began to fail.

    The USB layer was never a question for my device. I simply trusted that USB was acting as a serial data stream, communicating between 2 translator chips.

    Your suggestion of removing the internal disk drive, although complex, is worthy; yet, my experience would suggest attempting diagnosis while still packaged as a factory assembled USB device.
    --Registered Linux user 260423.

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