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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    external hard drives

    Months ago I installed an IOmega 120 GB hard drive connected via firewire. I use it for automated backups at 4 am every morning. On hot days it began making strange noises (sounded like a bearing; no longer hear these noises), so I purchased the new Seagate 400 GB external drive for weekly full system backups. I connected the hardware via USB-2 and it appeared and is working. I changed the drive letter from K (the IOmega designation) to Z, to clearly separate the two. Then I did other things, i.e., I did not install backup software to run the new drive, nor did I use it. The next morning I found that (1) my nightly backup did not work (the error message said that the drive was not available and, indeed, it did not show any longer in Windows Explorer or the installed system data. Attempts to turn off the system (Start > Turn Off Computer > Turn Off Computer) did not work; the system rebooted. I used the power switch forced power-down. Restarting did not bring up the IOmega drive, although turning it off when the PC was off, booting the PC, and reconnecting the drive always brought it back to full usefulness. [The power-down situation never reappeared.]
    Every night the system did the same: refused to do the backup because the drive mysteriously dismounted. Manually (from the basic IOmega software) starting a backup worked fine. Finally I connected with the IOmega tech rep, and he graciously provided me with a download of the latest IOmega Backup Pro software. I installed it and reintroduced the nightly backup script, as well as doing a full system (C and D drives) backup to the Seagate drive (with this software). Again I did manual backups easily with the software. However, I still fine the "K unavailable" message each morning after the system tries the automatic incremental backup.
    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: external hard drives

    I would think you had two options:
    a) change the drive letter back from Z: to K:,
    OR
    [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] hunt through the registry for any instances of K: and change them to Z: (with the usual disclaimers about being very careful indeed) You could also see whether the backup software uses its own configuration files. located somewhere else...

    The most obvious option, to uninstall and reinstall the backup software, pointing the backup to your Z: drive, you have already done.

    From my days of working on large WANs and LANs, I wonder whether "something" is using the drive letter Z: for its own nefarious purposes, and then releasing the drive letter? You wouldn't like to change the drive letter to Y: instead of Z: and see if you still get the same problem, would you?

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  3. #3
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    Re: external hard drives

    The issue is a little different. I have for months done an automatic nightly incremental backup to the 120 MB IOmega drive on K:, and it has worked fine. When I added the 400 GB Seagate drive to handle system backups, it naturally installed as L but I changed it to Z before using it. Then the nightly backups to K stopped working; the drive disappeared whenever an automatic backup was tried. I replaced the IOmega software with the latest IOmega Backup Pro, set up the automatic backups to K (and ran it manually), ran a system backup to Z, and thought I was fine -- until the automatic nightly backup again made the K drive disappear. At that time, the only way I could "see" the K drive again was to turn off the PC, unplug the drive (just turning it off didn't work), restart the PC, and then plug in the drive. I was able to do a manual backup. However, the same dismounting occured when the automatic backup started.
    This morning the situation is worse. The same drive dismounting occured overnight. However, following the same approach as above, while it does remount the K drive and give me full access to its files, introduces a new problem -- I cannot do a manual backup any more without the drive dismounting. So something is degenerating.
    I don't know if this is a clue or not. My original IOmega software backed up the folders to the K drive directly, i.e., without any folder prefix. The new software backs the up more deeply imbedded on the K drive, e.g., K:BackupsGATEWAY34 nightly backupCDocuments and Settings... Since some of my existing full paths are already long, this may make them far too long (over 256 characters). I did have a warning with files in one folder with the first manual backup, and I shortened those file names.
    At any rate, I now am in a situation where I can no longer do my normal daily backups, either automatically or manually. I feel very uncomfortable with this!

  4. #4
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    Re: external hard drives

    Up-to-Date BIOS and USB drivers?

  5. #5
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    Re: external hard drives

    I have a Seagate 300 GB external drive. When ever I try and select the drive from Windows Explorer it will take several seconds for the folders to be listed. Things will be just fine unless I have not browsed around in the drive for a hour or so, and it will delay in the showing of the folders again. It has always done this and I have written it off as the drive has gone to "sleep" and needed to be woke up. I have not been able to find or get any help from Seagate.

    This delay may be what is killing your back up, if you are having the same delay using Windows Explorer.

    We have other external drives(different brands) and they do not do this. Needless to say Seagate is no longer on the top of our shopping list.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  6. #6
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    Re: external hard drives

    Have you checked your Windows Power settings to see if you are putting the drive to sleep from there?

    StuartR

  7. #7
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    Re: external hard drives

    See attachment
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  8. #8
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    Re: external hard drives

    Some disk drives do power management themselves, automatically switching to low power mode if not accessed for a period of time. This gives the exact symptoms you are seeing.

    I used to know how to manipulate the SCSI mode page that controls this - but that was many years ago and using a different operating system, I have no idea whether modern drives still do this and if so how you might manipulate the settings - nothing helpful turned up on the obvious Google searches.

    StuartR

  9. #9
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    Re: external hard drives

    Re your recent posts:
    My power settings call for all hard drives to never be turned off. The monitor goes off after one hour.
    Re the Seagate properties you mentioned: The new Seagate drive does indeed hesitate as you mentioned. However, that drive is working well. I had used it for manual backups and I spent most of yesterday moving the base files and then the nightly backup worked fine last night using -- for the first time -- the "old" script with the Seagate drive as the target.

    Prior to doing all that, I tried multiple times with the older IOmega drive, which had served so faithfully until I installed the Seagate drive (even without installing separate software or using the Seagate drive; i.e., with only Windows XP Home finding the new drive and then my using the disk utility to change drive designation. In my experimentation the past two days, I have been unable to even complete a manual backup; originally that worked fine after mounting the Seagate. The symptoms are the same: The system starts transfering files as a part of the backup and then suddenly hangs with a Windows message that delayed write failed and the IOmega drive dismounted. Sometimes this happens after a few seconds, and sometimes after a minute or two, but it happens. Usually the normal Windows "turn off" command works after this, but sometimes I need to us a forced powerdown (with the power switch). Sometimes turning off the IOmega drive with its power switch (which only works when the PC is off) works to allow remounting when the PC is turned on, but sometimes I need to pull its plug in order for it to restart after the PC is turned up. This is truly strange behavior.

  10. #10
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    Re: external hard drives

    I just noticed an error in my original problem description. When I installed the Seagate drive, it came up as the L drive, one after the IOmega on K. I changed the L to Z. I never changed the IOmega drive from its original K designation. Sorry for the confusion.

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