Jul 132009

I have this hard drive. Two hard drives, actually, two out of many, these two being distinguished by the fact that at one time or another, they’ve been used in my old Fujitsu laptop.

The original drive was a 40 GB drive, which I replaced with an 80 GB drive years ago. I’ve since used the 40 GB drive in an external enclosure as a backup drive. I have several other drives of varying sizes in similar/identical enclosures.

Then there is the 80 GB drive, which has been the drive in this laptop for the last couple of years. But now that I no longer use this laptop myself, I figured I’d set it up for my wife. And since she doesn’t need an 80 GB drive, and the 40 GB drive was proving to be rather small for my backup needs, I decided to swap the drives back.

But then, the 80 GB drive that I took out of the laptop refused to function properly in the external enclosure. It was recognized alright, but no data could be read off it, not even the partition table. Same behavior on several computers running different operating systems (various Windows versions and Linux.)

Oops, I said, and swapped the drives back. Lo and behold, the 80 GB drive was again working fine, inside the laptop. But when I put the 40 GB drive back into the enclosure, I was in for a surprise: it was no longer working!

What the… I swapped the drives back and forth, they were both working fine in the laptop, but not working in the enclosure. Perhaps the enclosure is faulty? A logical thought, except that when I swapped enclosures using one of my several other backup drives, the enclosure was working just fine… but neither the 40 GB nor the 80 GB drive works in any of the three enclosures that I tested them with so far. Yet they both work fine in the laptop.

I must say I am stumped. I’ve never encountered a problem like this. Why would a drive work fine in a laptop but not in an external enclosure? Why would another drive, which used to work fine in the enclosure, fail after it has been inside a laptop (with, I should hasten to add, no operating system booted, so it’s not like there was a chance for a virus to affect the drive or anything like.) Modern drives do have persistent memory, but surely there are no persistent settings that would affect a drive like this? In any case, the 40 GB drive used to live in this laptop for years, and worked fine afterwards in the enclosure for years. But now, after it has been in the laptop again, it fails in the enclosure. Why?


And I am supposed to be an expert at this.

 Posted by at 11:22 pm