sixthofmay

Yet more Maxtor and IBM drive failures...

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6 weeks, 6 dead drives... icon_sad.gif spread amongst 3 machines, all with 350 to 400 watt power supplys and extra case fans (drives run cool to the touch).. I even checked the power supply with my oscilloscope in one machine that had 4 of the drive failures. It checked fine on all outputs (low ripple, voltages in spec) but I replaced it anyway as a precaution. This machine had two failures on the onboard IDE and two on the 48 bit Maxtor/Promise IDE card, so I don't think the failures are related to my hardware. All the machines are on UPSs and up 24/7 though not heavily used.

Maxtor drives low level formatted and tested with Powermax v3.04 when possible. Ages are approximate:

Maxtor 4W060H4 60 GB - 1 year old - sector not found errors, failed SMART W40S57, data recovery eventually successful, and successful low level format though the SMART error remained.

Maxtor 4K080H4 80 GB - 5 days old - read errors on two files, failed SMART 674S57, note this was a replacement for the 60 GB drive above, and in use in a different machine for less than a week. Only two 5 MB files lost.

Maxtor 98196H8 60 or 80 GB (can't remember) - 2.5 years old - write cache failure, then system reported drive not formatted. Failed SMART V80S57. All data lost. Successful low level format though the SMART error remained.

Maxtor 4K060H3 60 GB - 1 year old - read error reported, then system locked up. BIOS would not recognize it, drive would only spin up, and with it connected to the IDE bus would not allow the BIOS to see the other drive on the same channel. Of course no SMART or low level format done since the BIOS couldn't see it. All data lost.

Maxtor 4G160J8 160 GB - 5 months old - write error, then system locked up. On reboot the drive kept seeking and banging it's head over and over and BIOS didn't see it. All data lost. This was a "white label" drive, no Maxtor warranty, and I'm waiting for an RMA from the vendor I bought it from. They offered a 1 year warranty.

Note I ran the Powermax 90 second test on all my Maxtors after the first failure and all reported ok.

IBM DTLA-307045 45 GB 75GXP series - 1.5 years old - has been giving read errors on a few files and this morning after pulling off 30 GB of data I wanted to save, I low level formatted it with the IBM Drive Fitness v3.10 program and it reported error code TRC 7510BEF2. Probably a SMART type error... I have to generate an RMA for it. I've read this can be cumbersome.

The following is a failure from 1.5 years ago when I learned an important lesson about backups:

IBM DTLA-307045 45 GB 75GXP series - failed in a temporary 3 drive Fasttrak RAID 0 stripe after 24 hours use. I had just finished copying 100 GB of unbacked up stuff to it while setting up my current 3Ware RAID 1+0 setup (which has been problem free). I certainly expected the drive array to last for 2 days while I copied all the data back to the new array. Wrong! I made the 3 drive array to allow a single drive letter to make it more *convenient* for copying the files..... ARGGGGHHH! If I wanted to delete all the data, I'd have just hit delete... only had about 5 GB of the most important stuff backed up to CDR. The rest was lost. One drive in the array had failed with the continuous scrich-bang scrich-bang sound many others reported with the 75 GXP series. The array would not initialize and I tried for a few months to retrieve the data, including swapping the controller board with one of the other identical 45 GB 75GXPs (I bought 5 of these beasts), and trying the drive in the freezer trick (I actually had the drive running in the freezer with the cables snaked through the door and the computer on top of the fridge. Eventually I gave up and smashed the drive with a sledgehammer in frustration. I still have the pieces. If the class action lawsuit ends in our favor, think they'll allow me to send the pieces in and get a replacement? icon_biggrin.gif

I still have 3 more of the IBM 75 GXPs to test and I expect at least one to also be bad, because I was getting read/write errors a few weeks ago from one. I do backups religiously now and only lost data for real (100 GB ouch!) on the first IBM failure. I've run out of drive shipping boxes too until the warranty replacements arrive... anyone know where to get these boxes?

I've had about 20 drives over the past 10 years and only a 2.5 GB Western Digital failed on me suddenly. I also had 9 GB Seagate and a 3.5 GB Western Digital fail gracefully (head crashes), allowing me to back up the data. But recently I've had major problems with the new large drives. What the heck is going on here? Disposable hard drives? Rather than making them bigger, why not more reliable? I though these things were supposed to have MTBFs of 100000 hours or so. My experience has been that they live a small fraction of that. I've read drive manufactures claim return rates of less than 2 percent. Is this a bunch of bull? Anyone have some inside info? So I'm eventually doing RAID 1 or 5 on all my machines and have sworn off IBM and Maxtor and will try Western Digital next. icon_confused.gif

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Is the power supply at your location "clean"? I have "dirty" power where I am and have had equipment fail often.

Are you on the same circuit as a washer/dryer? Even a toaster oven will cause a spike as it turns on/off whilst cooking.

A UPS solution may be something to consider. Members on the board can probably suggest a good model/price.

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Your problem is unusual. I doubt it has anything much to do with power or temperature given the description of the things you've checked.

One thing raises immediate alarm bells, though... the comment: This was a "white label" drive, no Maxtor warranty, and I'm waiting for an RMA from the vendor I bought it from. They offered a 1 year warranty.

I don't know how many of the drives you're using are "white label" units, but "gray market" drives can be a really bad risk. There's usually a reason why they're less expensive and why they have no warranty. For some purchasers, the risk is outweighed by the lower price, the rationale often being "hey, I can buy 4 drives for the price of 1, so who cares if they fail a little sooner". Of course, that can prove to be a false economy.

The rate of failure your experiencing suggests there is a "handling" issue someplace. The fact that you can "restore" many of the drives to operability with a low-level format further supports this supposition. The failures are due to grown bad blocks (which are being mapped as "bad" so they won't be reused when you do the format). Grown "bad blocks" in HDDs can definitely be caused by non-operating mechanical shock. These events don't create instant failures, they create damage to the Head/Media interface that produces particulate in the Landing Zone (where the heads park when the drive spins down). Over time, that particulate will be transported to other areas of the drive where it causes data errors.

Of course, if this is the case, reformatting is only likely to provide temporary relief. Each time the drive goes through a start/stop cycle, it'll cough up more potentially damaging particulate.

Not also that your "graceful" failures of a WD and Seagate drive, which you describe as "head crashes", is also consistant with the adverse-mechanical-shock supposition. Head crashes that occur "gracefully" giving you time to respond, as opposed to crashes that occur "catestrophically", can also be an indication of "subtle" mishandling.

What many people don't understand is that HDDs need to be treated like they eggs, or better yet, like they're full of nitroglycerin. Even a 1" drop to a desktop surface can cause permanent damage. That damage is unlikely to manifest itself as an early failure, but will show up in increased probability of failure over time... Mishandling is the most common cause of failure in HDD field returns.

If all (or most) of the drives you're having problems with are gray market, I'd look no further for the problem. What you get from "unofficial sources" is pretty much a crap shoot. There's no way to tell whether or not the product is pristine or has been air dropped without a parachute.

If the failures are "legitimate" units purchased from authorized suppliers with factory backed warranties, I'd review your own handling procedures to see if there are any places where you might be banging the drives against a hard surface during the installation process. Also look to see if the equipment the drives are mounted in can be subject to hard knocks. I've seen problems in the past caused by people dropping something heavy on the surface of a desk, alongside where their PC was located.

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seems like maxtor has implemented a time bomb in their drives. Never has any of my maxtor drives failed before. But in the last weeks 4 of them. Strange. :evil:

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I know my reply is long, but worth a read, especially the quote near the bottom about the 75GXP drives.

Emu10k, thanks for the suggestions. The computers are all on their own circuits in different rooms and they have all been on UPSs for years as I live in Florida where the power is anything but reliable. For all lightning storms, I shutdown and unplug everything- power, 75 ohm cable to the cable modem (using a push on adapter), telephone modem, stereo and TV (including it's signal cable also using a push on). I've verified isolation when everything is unplugged with my multimeter. I work at home and time my errands for the morning so I can be home for the afternoon thunderstorms to do the "unplug dance" if necessary. This year I've managed to shutdown for every storm.

MaxtorSCSI- well I try not to play frisbee with the drives too much.. icon_lol.gif

Seriously, they've all been treated like nitrogylcerine by me, never jarring or shocking them. I use an antistatic grounded wriststrap too when handling them. I've bought most of the Maxtors locally from a large reseller (TCW) with full manufactures' warrantys. Hopefully they were treated just as well before I got them, but ya never know. They might have "hockey" games with them in the warehouse for all I know... icon_rolleyes.gif

As you may remember Western Digital used to have a terrible reputation- the "click of death" (heh.. search google usenet). It was caused by a media defect problem (media flaking off during use or somehow contaminated during manufacture) leading to head crashes and eventual failure. It was a very common problem with WD drives made in '95 - '96. Out of curiosity, I have opened up all of mine and a few others that I've gotten from friends, either with the click of death or just reporting bad sectors, and they all had a nice visible circular groove or two on the top platter. The inner platters appeared ok, though it's hard to see. Why just the top platter? Who knows.. maybe the way the air currents in the drives are. When the head goes over the bad section(s), the drive makes a characteristic whining sound. After the first one died I learned to associate that sound with head crash. The Seagate had the same sound and eventually developed bad sectors. This was one of the first 7200 RPM IDE Seagates, 9 GB in capacity. They ran hot as hell, which caused me to learn about strategically placing extra fans in cases. Noting the location of bad sectors that Scandisk reported were all clustered together (characteristic of a head crash), I parititioned it to use only the good half and gave it to a friend in need and amazingly the drive is still working today albeit at half capacity).

Interestingly, one of my older Maxtors, a 13 GB IDE about 4 years old, has been making a similar whining sound for the past year, but slightly different in character. Most of the time it only does it briefly for a few minutes after powerup. It doesn't seem to change depending on where the heads are unlike the WDs and the Seagate. The spinning platters also briefly audiblly slow down slightly when it starts doing it. I did a low level format and the 90 second test with Powermax today and it found no problems. All leading me to believe it's not a head crash on this drive making the noise, but flaky bearings. It may last for years more, though nothing not backed up is going on it.

My only white label drive was the 160 GB Maxtor, which I bought as an experiment to see if it was crap. Well that was an interesting experiment... icon_confused.gif

The IBM 75GXP that I low level formatted this morning and reported a failure was a boot drive on one of my other machines, and I need that machine back up pronto, so today I went to Compushell and got a 60 GB Western Digital, 7200 RPM 2 MB cache drive. I just did a low level format on it and it passes all tests. I hope it doesn't suck too as I'm running out of drive makers to try...

Many of the failures seem to related to media defect problems. If I recall correctly, the Maxtor S57 error codes indicate that the drive has run out of spare sectors to replace bad ones. The IBM 75GXP drives are known to have this problem as well, which causes failure in the long term, and the flaky controller problem that causes failure when new (see the quote below for a real eye opener!). It should be interesting to see how the class action law suit turns out. I wonder if Maxtor has made a time bomb too and if they get sued as well... Any wonder why the warrantys have been dropped to just a year? It's interesting is that several of my bad Maxtors (including the bad 80 GB replacement) are the "Quantum" Maxtors.

I don't know how many of you saw this post from a thread for 75GXP owners but I found it *very* interesting.

The following post was at the bottom of this long thread all about the 75GXP series:

http://www.tech-report.com/news_reply.x/3035

------ quote ------

318. Posted at 07:00 am on Jun 6th 2002 by qubit

My DTLA-307075 (75GB 75GXP) went bad 6 months ago. But I didn't write off the data as being unrecoverable. I used WinHex to make a ghost image of the drive onto my new larger one, zeroing out the bad sectors in the target while logging each bad sector. (There were bad sectors in the FAT so I combined the good parts from FATs 1 and 2.) At this point I had a working mirror of the drive that went bad, with zeroed-out 512 byte holes in files where the bad sectors were.

Then I set the 75GXP aside, because I knew it was possible to recover some of the data *on* the bad sectors, but I didn't have the tools to do it. So I decided to wait until then to RMA it.

I did write a program to parse the bad sector list along with the partition's FAT, to create a list of files with bad sectors in them, so at least I knew which files were effected. There are 8516 bad sectors, and 722 files effected.

But this week, I got Linux working on my new computer (upgraded not too long after the 75GXP went bad) and modified the IDE taskfile driver to allow me to use READ LONG on the bad sectors -- thus allowing me to salvage data from the bad sectors, while avoiding the nasty click-click-click and delay of retrying (I can now repeat reads of a bad sector about twice per second) and I can also get the 40 bytes of ECC data. Each read of one sector turns up different data, and by comparing them I can try to divine what the original was. That part I'm still working on (it'd help a lot to know what encoding method the drive uses - it's not RLL(2,7), which is the only one I've been able to get the details on).

But today I did a different kind of analysis, with VERY interesting results. I wrote a program to convert the list of bad sectors into a graphics file, using the data on zones and sectors per track found in IBM's specification. After some time and manipulation, I discovered that all the bad sectors are in a line going from the outer edge 1/3 of the way to the inner edge, on one platter surface! It's actually a spiral, because of the platter rotation. But this explains why all the sectors went bad at once. One of the heads must have executed a write cycle while seeking! I could even measure the seek speed from my bad sector data -- it's 4.475 ms/track! (assuming precisely 7200 rpm) And there are evenly spaced nodes along the line where larger chunks were corrupted -- starting 300 ms apart, gradually fading to where they actually are *less* corrupted than the line itself, at 750 ms apart.

I don't know if anyone else will find this interesting, but I found it fascinating, and it explained a lot. If you'd like to talk to me about the technical aspects of 75GXP failure, please email me at quSPAMLESSbitATinorNOSPAMbitDOTcom (remove the chunks of spam, change AT and DOT to their respective symbols).

------ end quote ------

THE FRICKING DRIVE TURNED ON THE WRITE CYCLE DURING A SEEK!!!! If that's not damning evidence of a serious problem, then I don't know what is! It's probably what killed my first 75GXP. I'm surprised no one here has posted about this guy's experiment yet.

So... I'm not surprised at the 75GXP problems I've had, given what others have reported, but the Maxtors are a shock. Until 6 weeks ago I never had a Maxtor problem and swore by them. Now I'm swearing at them.... Somethings tells me my experience is just the tip of the iceberg and we'll see massive failures and law suits in the coming years as these big drives age. I have about ten 4 to 17 GB drives made by IBM and Maxtor, averaging 4 years old now, and all are completely healthy (except for the 13 GB Maxtor noted above). I wonder if the era of long reliable drive life is over and that big drives will just have to be RAIDed? icon_neutral.gif

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I too experienced significant failure with newer Maxtor 7200rpm HDD. A DiamondMax 60+ failed within 3 months and the replacement DiamondMax 45+ failed within a day with SMART error (I suspect it was a bad RMA drive from someone else). This was eventually replaced with a Barracuda III and has worked well since.

The case has housed 2 other 5400 rpm IBM Deskstar 5 and Quantum Fireball CR disks. They are both 2 - 3+ years old and I have had any problem. Power supply in Enermax with twin fans.

My own theory is 7200 rpm drives are not easy to make them reliable with prices dropping like leaded balloon. You get what you pay for is very true here for HDD. This is real unfortunate as HDD is the most important asset in a computer system! I really miss those old reliable HDD that works for years without even a bad sector.

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Guys, you're really unlucky. Maybe you should consider changing supplier - I've found a good supplier and stick to them. Countless drives over the past 6 years, and not a single failure (ignoring the inevitable 75GXP crappage).

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Guys, you're really unlucky.  Maybe you should consider changing supplier - I've found a good supplier and stick to them.  Countless drives over the past 6 years, and not a single failure (ignoring the inevitable 75GXP crappage).

Ummm, my two cents:

I bought a bulk-packaged (by Maxtor themselves!) set of 20 98196H8 Maxtor drives last October (been about 50 weeks right now, less than a year), and what is my failure rate?

40% (eight out of 20 drives) in less than a year! 8O :roll:

Absolutely no damage to the box...

So, if my problem is at all caused by "supplier" issues, than Maxtor needs to learn how to handle their own drives...

And I have run on a UPS the entire time... So handling and/or source should not be an issue...

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And I have run on a UPS the entire time...  So handling and/or source should not be an issue...
Hah! UPS is about as careful with packages as the Army is with artillery targets. I've had so many packages destroyed by their incompetance that I refuse to have anything delicate shipped by them. Where do you think they got their nickname, UPS = "OOPS"? :)

UPS sucks.

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You may not realize it, but the average HDD is the most high-precision device you are every likely to own. Think about the requirements for a typical, modern-day HDD...

One year of operation is 8760.25 hours of power-on time (by comparison, if you drive a car 100000 miles at an average of 30MPH, that's only 3333 hours of power on time). A 10K RPM drive's spindle motor will turn over 5 Billion times in that single year (your car's engine probably turns 1/10th that amount in 100K miles, and you'll change the oil a few dozen times to keep it running that long).

Track widths are measured in 10s of µInches (that's millionths of an inch). Heads fly over the surface of the disk at distances measured in 10ths of µInches (barely enough clearance for a few air molecules). The media surface needs to be smooth to a level that's generally 1/2 the fly height (so smooth, in fact, that two platters placed in contact face-to-face are almost impossible to pull apart because no air can get between them). Those same Spindle Motor bearings that need to turn 5x10^9 times per year have to minimize wear to the point that they maintain factory-original runout tolerances of at most a few µInches. To remain error-free during operation, the drive's heads can never be allowed to stray off-track (for this generation of HDDs, that's no more than 15% or so away from the center of a 20µI wide track, or 3 millionths of an inch on each and every rotation of the disk), or be allowed to touch-down on the media, even when subjected to mechanical shocks as high as 60Gs (most fighter pilots will black out at G loads in excess of 7Gs). The drive needs an internal cleanliness level a few orders of magnitude better than the environment you could expect to be in if you were undergoing brain surgery. The moving components inside the drive (spindle and actuator motors) must be designed so that they do not generate any significant particulate themselves (simply touching the surface of the shirt you're probably wearing right now would generate 100's of thousands of particles). Lubricants and adhesives used in the manufacturing process need to be carefully selected to minimize "outgassing", the volitilization of elements within the material that produces gas particles that can be as damaging as material particulate.

This is just the "obvious" stuff.

And in spite of the demands of ever higher levels of mechanical precision, the cost per MB of storage continues to spiral down by a factor of 2x or more almost yearly (I recall reading someplace that compared to the cost of the original HDD, the IBM RAMAC introduced in the 50s, magnetic storage cost/MB has decreased by about 50000x).

While I could only speculate as to the causes of the problems being described here, I can tell you (at least as far as Maxtor drives are concerned) that they are highly unusual. Large OEM customers monitor field return rates on the HDDs they buy very carefully, and they rate suppliers like Maxtor on their performance on a quarterly basis (and penalize the suppliers for poor performance, I might add). Annualized Return Rates (ARR), the rate of return from field installations for any cause, typically run in the 1-2% range (a suprising number of HDDs are returned for reasons totally unrelated to the drive. My personal favorite was a drive we got back once from a major OEM with a toe-tag labeled "No Dialtone"). Annualized Failure Rates (AFR), the measure of field failures actually confirmed to be drive related, typically run at 50-75% of the ARR rate. Ever-evolving OEM specifications ensure that each successive generation of product must meet more stringent quality and reliability standards. Ignoring the occassional design or factory problem that causes a "spike" (and every HDD manufacturer has had their "turn in the barrell" on this, when you're building 10+ million drives/quarter even a minor glitch can cause measurable problems), and experiences being related here notwithstanding, HDDs are in fact substantially more reliable than they have been in the past. And that's not opinion, it's factual information based on data collected independently by my OEM customers, who have no motivation to make the data look any better than it actually is.

A 40% failure rate would put any HDD supplier out of business in a heartbeat. These kinds of examples are highly unusual.

While it's impossible to say where a drive (or box of drives) may have been subjected to excessive handling (except that it's unlikely to have been at the Factory), it's almost certain that where abnormally high failure rates are being experienced by individual users, handling is likely to be the most-probable cause.

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And I have run on a UPS the entire time...  So handling and/or source should not be an issue...
Hah! UPS is about as careful with packages as the Army is with artillery targets. I've had so many packages destroyed by their incompetance that I refuse to have anything delicate shipped by them. Where do you think they got their nickname, UPS = "OOPS"? :)

UPS sucks.

What does an uninteruptable power supply and United Parcel Service have in common?

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they share the same acronym...

but seriously.. i think this guy has some issues with UPS....

not taht I can blame hikm.. I've seen worse packages come to my door than the one pictured in his link.... I just returned a dead 1000jb and they are shipping the replacement via UPS instead of fedEx(the original dirve arrived via fedex ground).... I'm only glad that UPS has substantially increased their service as of the past few years.

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Just curious  MaxtorSCSI, are you working for some HD company?  You seem to know a heck of alot about HD's :P  Sounds almost like you are an engineer

Yes I do.

Yes I am.

The specifics should be fairly obvious based on my user name. :lol:

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Out of curiosity, I have opened up all of mine and a few others that I've gotten from friends, either with the click of death or just reporting bad sectors, and they all had a nice visible circular groove or two on the top platter. The inner platters appeared ok, though it's hard to see. Why just the top platter? Who knows.. maybe the way the air currents in the drives are.

The circular mark on the media surface is the characteristic damage you get with a head crash. If the media surface is "burnished" to any degree at all, it's already too late for your drive. Head crashes are an "avalanche" affect. Once the initial damage is done, that creates particulate that causes more damage, which creates even more particulate that causes even more damage, etc., etc., etc., until finally the damage is too severe for the drive to continue to operate.

The top and bottom surfaces are usually referred to as "Cap" surfaces. They tend to be more prone to failure because of a number of factors. First, as you surmise, airflow within the drive tends to favor the deposition of particulate on the top and bottom most "outward facing" surfaces. Second, the arms on the actuator tend to be thinner for these surfaces because they only need to support a single head (vs. the interior arms which need to support two heads). This means that excessive mechanical shock is more likely to cause damage to these surfaces first. Also, these surfaces tend to be exposed for the longest during the drive assembly process. If something goes awry during the build operation, these surfaces usually bear the brunt of that "glitch".

If the groove was all the way at the inner-most radius of the disk, in the area called the "landing zone", your observation is almost certain proof that the drives failed due to excessive non-operating shock (mishandling). The heads park in this area when the drive isn't spinning. If damage is being done during shipment/handling/installation, it happens here. But note though that damage visible in other areas doesn't rule out mishandling.

Assuming the bad sectors on the drive you repartitioned were due to a head crash (which is pure assumption), repartitioning should not be trusted to restore the drive to reliability. The drive will still fail, and very probably sooner rather than later. But there are many reasons why a drive might develop bad sectors that have nothing to do with reliability. Repartitioning wouldn't make much of a difference one way or another in this case. Though it would be better to low-level format the drive and use the entire resulting partition than to try and avoid a region on the disk by partitioning around it.

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Just curious  MaxtorSCSI, are you working for some HD company?  You seem to know a heck of alot about HD's :P  Sounds almost like you are an engineer

Yes I do.

Yes I am.

The specifics should be fairly obvious based on my user name. :lol:

Longmont, CO?

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MaxtorSCSI, thanks for all the info. I knew the tolerances were tight, but not *that* tight. Amazing the darn things work at all. icon_eek.gif

For the record, I tested that other IBM 45 GB 75GXP that was giving read errors and it too needs to go back. So 8 out of 15 45GB+ drives I've had have failed.

About half of the failed drives came from TCW (an hour away from me) and the other half via UPS from various mailorder resellers. TCW probably gets them sent via UPS too. Oops is right. Sivar- I saw that on Slashdot a while back. Too funny and sad...

Drive shipping boxes seems quite a speciality item as none of the local packing and office supply stores knows where to get them. I went to CompUSA expecting they'd have them or at least some sitting in their shop, with all the drives they replace in repairs and upgrades, but they didn't know what I was asking for (heh). Bet a local reseller would have some but none are conveniently close to me. A brief search of the web turns up only IBM offering them for sale (for about $18 total for 2 including shipping.. ouch!). Maxtor says on their RMA packing web page that they'll send some for a nominal charge (no pricing info listed) but only say to contact support to get them. I'm just going to wait for the replacments to arrive before sending out more, but out of curiousity MaxtorSCSI, would you know how much they are charging for them?

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...Amazing the darn things work at all.  

It *is* amazing. Especially when you consider what you get for the money.

Drive shipping boxes seems quite a speciality item as none of the local packing and office supply stores knows where to get them.  

HDD manufacturers go to great lengths to design packaging that provides the most robust protection possible for the drives, within the constraints of cost, of course (cost being defined primarily by shipping expenses rather than box material. You pay to ship by weight and by volume, so the boxes want to be as small as they can be and still provide robust shock protection).

Unfortunately, the packaging can't be made from "Unobtanium" (since this material is infinitely expensive), so it can never be "perfect". And each manufacturer has their own idea of what's "best" for their drives, so no one's going to go into the generic HDD packaging business unless they can figure out how to be all things to every manufacturer.

I think Maxtor bulk-ship boxes (the ones that 20 drives come in) are rated for a 3' drop. We also have boxes for individual drive shipments. These may be rated better than the bulk package boxes (since they have more room for foam and they weigh much less).

I went to CompUSA expecting they'd have them or at least some sitting in their shop, with all the drives they replace in repairs and upgrades, but they didn't know what I was asking for (heh).  

I'm sure they do the same thing I do with packaging at home: throw it away as soon as I can.

I'm just going to wait for the replacments to arrive before sending out more, but out of curiousity MaxtorSCSI, would you know how much they are charging for them?

No idea, sorry. Not an engineering function. A quick phone call would tell you, though.

But your strategy is a good one. Wait for replacements to arrive and use the boxes they come in to ship the returns.

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6 weeks, 6 dead drives...

I have a year and a half old dead Maxtor DiamonMax 16 that came with an OEM Compaq Presario S5300NX.

http://home.ntelos.net/~heapbigchief/drive.jpg

I have been through the ringer wondering why my OEM XP Home failed.

Finally, I pull the hard drive out of it and I see that the air hole is covered over with a white sticker.

Were the air holes covered on your dead Maxtor's?

Every hard drive I have ever seen old or new has had a warning on the label stating not to cover the air hole right beside of the air hole but this dead Maxtor of mine has no such warning plus you can see in the link to the scan I made of it that the air hole is covered with a white sticker.

If this is not supposed to be this way but yet drives like this with the air hole covered were provided for OEM machines it is my OPINION that this was done purposefully to cause the hard drive to fail years before it should. Maybe Maxtor is getting a kickback from Compaq or Microsoft to do this because it means that one must buy another hard drive plus purchase Windows because OEM restore disks only work on the OEM hard drive that came with the OEM machine so if this is to generate revenue it profits Microsoft greatly because one must buy Windows since under the conditionds of a dead OEM hard drive the OEM restore disks won't work BUT buying Windows off the shelf will reinstall the system.

Think this is intentional ot not?

If yes, then what could be done about it?

If not, then why cover the air hole on OEM hard drives?

.

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Are you sure the breather hole is in the cover and not the base? Some drives have that.

Yeah its in the cover. It has 6 screws in it that covers the guts inside the aluminum block that houses the whole works.

I'm not expert by any comparison but the only HD's that I am aware of that have the air hole covered or no air hole at all are truly sealed or pressurized hard drives are for high altitude applications.

They are so expensive those would never appear in mass produced OEM machines.

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http://home.ntelos.net/~heapbigchief/drive.jpg

Finally, I pull the hard drive out of it and I see that the air hole is covered over with a white sticker.

I have a DM+9 in my hand right now that looks identical to yours.

Now, in order to not fuel your conspiracy theories, where do you think the air hole is on this thing? Not the little ~3/4" circle down by the barcodes, right?

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