The Haphazard Blog

Tag: popcorn hour

My Popcorn Hour Drive Died

by on Oct.09, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

Last year, I added a 1.5 TB Western Digital Green Caviar drive to my Popcorn Hour A-110. Last week, I was going to play something back from the hard disk and it wasn’t listed as a source. I did a hard reboot and the drive was back, but playback was horrible (took forever to play a few seconds and then it would pause). Browsing the drive from my PC also was real slow.

I figured it was dying, but from past experience with Western Digital I had to run the diagnostics and give them the error code. I also had a fair amount of video stored on the drive that I wanted to get off the drive. So I hooked the drive up and rand the diagnostics first.

After that, I had to find a way to mount a Linux (ext3 file system) drive in Windows.  I used Ext2 Installable File System For Windows to do it. Unfortunately, the drive wasn’t dismounted properly so I kept getting a message saying:

The disk in drive X: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?

That’s the last thing I wanted to do since I wanted to get data off the drive. Digging around led me to a utility to check the mounting status of the drive. It was simple enough to run from the command prompt (change directory to the folder containing the executable):

mountdiag X:

It told me the drive was not unmounted properly and there were items in the journal that needed to be completed. Unfortunately the Ext2IFS doesn’t have any mechanisms to mount a drive in this situation. I needed to mount/unmount it in Linux. For this, I turned to SystemRescueCd and created a bootable USB stick. From there, I used my extremely rusty Linux knowledge to mount and unmount the drive.

I was able to mount it in Windows and start copying the files. It took 4 days to copy 204 GB (to give you and idea about how messed up the drive was) and another day to delete 27 files from the drive.

I took a look at the Western Digital support site at the Warranty/RMA information and saw that they had an option to upgrade your drive during the RMA process. I thought I’d take a look at how much a 2 TB drive would cost. After the laughter, the cost was $108 and Newegg had a new 2 TB drive for $100. I thought I’d be willing to pay $20, $25 at most for the extra 500 GB.

So, I called up Western Digital expecting to have to talk to tech support, jump through a couple hoops and get a RMA number, but they have changed how they handle RMAs. Basically, no questions asked. If your drive is in warranty and you want a replacement, you ask for a RMA. Then you have the option of sending your drive first or having them ship first (they take your credit card and put a hold on the funds in case you don’t send your drive back). So I chose to have them send it first since I didn’t need to worry about a weird situation where they get the drive back and determine it wasn’t defective. (Now they take anything back and if the drive is good, it will become a replacement drive and if it’s bad, they toss it.)

To my delight, Western Digital sent me a 2 TB replacement drive. So I ended up getting a free 2 TB upgrade (well, it cost $6 to send the old drive back) which is really nice.

One last note for anyone doing a RMA for their hard drive. The warranty on the replacement drive is initially 90 days. Western Digital transfers the old warranty over after they get the original drive back. So if you check it when you get it, you may be surprised. I will still double check that the warranty gets updated in a month or so to be safe. I still have 2 years left.

October 18 Update: Western Digital got my bad drive back and transferred the remaining warranty to the replacement drive.

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