External drive causing computer to give disk read error



  • I have a 4tb wd mybook that connects to one of my server computers via usb to act as external storage. I haven't started using the drive yet outside of a few gb movie recording I made.

    It has no other data on it. When I plug it in, it's been killing windows 7 pro with a black screen stating disk read error, ctrl alt del to restart.

    When I reboot, the os fails to load and bios complains about a bad boot. The external drive is not in the boot list.

    When I unplug the drive, everything works, windows boots immediately and has no issues.

    I'm at a complete loss how this is even possible, and have no idea how to handle the issue other than not using my 4tb drive. Any ideas?



  • Sounds like a bad drive. How long have you had it, does it have any warranty left? How is it on other computers?


  • sockdevs

    well if it wasn't a mybook (i.e you can't open the case and the disc controller on the logic board is non-standard so you can't plug it into another case and have your data...)

    hmm... if you have enough spare storage space lying around grab a linux boot disc (i like puppy linux) and see if you can get the data off it then chuck the mybook in the trash?



  • I've had it a while, probably less than a year. It's been plugged in but not utilized. Works fine* in other machines

    *no other machine has the same up time as the computer in question, changing USB ports doesn't matter.

    Why would an external drive kill my windows?



  • Tempted to, but im out of drive bays in my current setup. I've cannabalized old mybooks by ripping it out of the encasing to get straight at the sata, but I really don't want to do it to this one. (It's a pita and I have nowhere to put it)


  • sockdevs

    hmm, yeah i know that feeling. ran into it all the time until i bit the bullet and bought my Qnap external RAID device.

    it's really a shame WD dropped the ball so bad with their mybooks. I love their hard drives but every mybook i've bought has been a piece of shit.



  • Maybe you can try hotplugging it to a working system. See what happens.



  • @Matches said:

    Why would an external drive kill my windows?

    In the words of Hermes from Futurama, "that's a very good question!"

    Seriously, I'm stumped. I'd think it's much more likely to be a bad USB mass storage controller chip than a bad HD; you can try moving the drive to a different enclosure (or put it in your PC) and see what happens.


  • sockdevs

    But why not Zoidberg? (sorry, couldn't resist)



  • Hm, interesting idea. WD garbage does have custom (what I assume) firmware / application software. Wonder if the problem would resolve if I just uninstalled it and let windows figure out how it's supposed to work.



  • @Matches said:

    WD garbage does have custom (what I assume) firmware / application software.

    And you installed it?

    Huh.



  • It installed itself! Virus usb device.



  • Protip: don't turn off UAC.



  • UAC doesn't do shit to stop unwanted installations unless you change it from it's default value to max.



  • @Matches said:

    UAC doesn't do shit to stop unwanted installations unless you change it from it's default value to max.

    It sure as fuck does for device drivers.

    Unless you blindly just hit "yes" every time the dialog pops-up. But that's not UAC's fault.

    EDIT: even without UAC, the "hey this driver's unsigned" warning dialog from like XP SP2 should stop drive-by driver installs from USB drives, unless they've taken the effort to get a Microsoft cert. (In which case there's a good, but not 100%, chance that it's not broken crap.)

    BTW, I'm taking that post as a confession of, "oops, I'm one of those idiots who turns off safety features and now I got burned doooh".



  • I already said I had the wd software installed, doesn't that by default fall under burned?


  • sockdevs

    @blakeyrat said:

    you can try moving the drive to a different enclosure (or put it in your PC) and see what happens.

    good luck. The firmware on the WD mybook USB controllers does weird things to the layout of the disc plugged into it. in particular it hides the MBR somewhere non-standard on the disk and remaps a bunch of sectors around so you get gibberish out if you plug the bare drive into a standard connection.

    I'm sure someone got a big bonus for thinking up that feature of their firmware.... assholes to the lot of them.



  • I think that's just a side effect of the USB connection plus a raid controller and multiple hard disks.

    RE hidden mbr, typically even formatting the drive doesn't kill that shit.


  • sockdevs

    actually reformatting does. the MBR is just Sector 1 (or 0 if you are counting correctly) after all.

    but good luck getting the original data out. without that original MBR, and knowing where all the sectors are remapped to.


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