Linux – have 3 external HDDs failed after a few hours of use

external hard drivehard drivehardware-failurelinux

I have purchased 3 HDDs in the past month and every time after copying about 1.5TB of data on to them they fail. The first 2 HDDs were Samsung 4TB drives and the third one is a Seagate Expansion 4TB.

  • The model number of the most recent drive (Seagate) is: STEA4000400
  • The first 2 drives (Samsung) were: HX-M401TCB/G
  • My computer is a Thinkpad Yoga 12
  • All drives are powered by the USB port; no external power supply.

What I do is buy the HDD I need then plug it into my computer (running Linux) and transfer the data (about 2TB) from my old HDD (also a 4TB portable Samsung drive). After a few hours of copying the transfer speed slows down alot and then the drive fails and won't mount on either my machine or any other machine, and it makes a very faint ticking sound when connected. I have tried reformatting the drives (sometimes I am able to mount the drive long enough to reformat) but it does not help.

Best Answer

I'd suspect, that those drives haven't failed at all - they were just running out of their specs and should be fine when plugged into a different computer.

Let me explain:

You use the USB ports of your Yoga for two purpouses:

  • As a data connection, all fine with that
  • As a power source for the drives, and that might be the problem.

Now the Yogas are notorious for providing less-than-promised current on their USB ports - this results in the disks being always close to starving for power, as writing to a 4TB drive typically comes quite close to the design limits of power draw.

You could use a (quality!) powered USB hub to overcome this - in such a pattern the juice for the drive would be provided by the hub's power supply, not the Yoga.

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