Experience, Information Technology


Seagate 6TB External Hard DriveSome months ago I was working at a client in Chicago and needed an external hard drive to transfer some files. There was a Staples I could walk to over my lunch hour and they didn’t have a bad price on a USB 3.0 6TB Seagate drive. When I first got the thing it was fantastic! Hooked to the back of an IBM ThinkCentre, it seemed faster than the internal hard drive. For a while I was just plugging in an adapter to the front for the MicroSD card which contained all of my coding music, then finally I just migrated the music to it deciding I would come up with some other solution for my car on long drives. (I did actually. I went back to taking just a few CDs with me and playing radio roulette killing the odd 20 minutes on a phone call with ear piece in ear.)

I really began to think this drive indestructible. At this client site I have to break down my desktop computer every night, storing it in a locker. Yes, there are some companies cerebrally challenged enough to believe “Festival Seating” (something banned in Cincinnati after a particular Who concert) is a good idea. It’s not a good idea, it’s a crime against the human species and The Hague should imprison them for it. Every morning before the lights came on I would arrive at work and unpack, usually two desktops, from that locker, cart them over to a desk, set them up. Every night, usually after everybody left, I would take them apart and cart them back to the locker. Given the reputation of Seagate drives, I’m stunned the thing didn’t die after the second week of that.

The life of a traveling consultant means you travel. Needing to drive several states over for my next gig, I carefully packed up a desktop, laptop with docking station and the rest of my travel gear. I wrapped the external drive in bubble pack and and stuck it in the larger pouch of my laptop bag. (Not one of my better ideas.) Once I arrived at my location a couple of days later I assembled everything and all seemed well. I decided the desktop needed to be switched to KDE Neon because Pinguy OS had pushed out a disastrous update. Now, when a command line completes, even something simple like an ls of your current directory, it hangs for 5-10 seconds while it does some calculation to give you a stat you really don’t care about.

Just in case I needed something I decided to copy the home directory off to the 6TB drive. Once I kicked it off I went out to run errands. I came back a few hours later and the copy was still running. The drive was also making a bit of noise. Not “head dribbling on the platter about to die” noise. Nor was it “howl of a bearing about to die” noise. Answered email on the laptop for another 20 minutes and noticed the percentage of copy had not moved. Nothing had died. There was no error. The system still thought it was copying. The drive was still making that noise and I could finally place it. If you are old enough to have heard the “cricket chirp” of the original Seagate ST-225, and, you know someone who installed one without completely tightening the drive mounting screws, then you know exactly the sound I’m talking about. The shifting of the drive as it yields to the torque of moving the heads due to insufficient mounting.

No way was I opening this thing up. Hadn’t had it that long, might still be under warranty. Even if the drive was twisting like a disco dancer inside of the case, that still didn’t explain the paused data transfer. I powered everything down and moved the drive to the laptop docking station. The laptop has Worthless Windows 10 and Seagate offers SeaTools for Windows 10. In retrospect, I should probably have pulled down the .ISO and Rufus’d a thumb drive.

SeaTools Screen Shot

Why the comment about the ISO? Because that status is after 2 days of run-time. I took the screenshot this morning. Right now it is up to 70%. The process “might” be done by this time tomorrow.

“How’s your life?” asked the dung beetle.

Oh, I used a couple of thumb drives to copy off things worth saving. The desktop is humming right along. The laptop, however, is stuck in the dock until that process ends. I don’t want to end the software prematurely because it has fixed that head-movement-torque sound. It was horrible for the first bit, then I left and it was pretty quiet when I came back.

I’m guessing there were one or two bad spots caused by riding around in my laptop back in my car across multiple state lines. One of those was probably in an inopportune location. Now that it has been mapped out and worked around all should be well.

Damn slow software though. You would think the status would also have a columns for “repaired” and “unable to repair” errors.