Steve Flannery

Steve Flannery

3 Extremely Common Western Digital Hard Drive Problems

Let’s take a look at the most common western digital hard drive problems. You’ve probably heard the name Western Digital before if you have been around computers for a while, after all, they are the world’s largest manufacturer of hard drives.

If you were to open up your desktop or laptop, there is an excellent chance that Western Digital built yours. You probably don’t even have to open up your electronics either since Western Digital also manufactures External Hard Drives usually used in Home Media setups.

My point here is if you have a computer or laptop, then it probably contains a hard disk drive that is probably manufactured by Western Digital or one of its subsidiaries. 

If that hard drive ever becomes faulty, then Steve’s P.C. Repair will help you when it comes to Western Digital repairs.

How It Western Digital Started

           Western Digital was founded in 1970 in the state of California and began its life manufacturing semiconductor items such as calculator chips and floppy disk controller chips.

It wouldn’t be until the early 1980s when Western Digital started to making something related: hard disk drive controllers (the piece of electronics that controls how the platter should move, when the head slider should read or write, and the part that sends data to and from the disk to the computer).

Moving forward to the 1990s, Western Digital saw what can be described as a slump. The technology was moving forward, and Western Digital could not keep up, causing it to sell many of its side ventures and focus solely on hard drive manufacturing.

However, that was still not enough, and it wasn’t until Western Digital requested aid from I.B.M. that it was able to recover and once again gain a foothold in the data storage industry. 

Enter the 2000s, which is when Western Digital began to pick up steam again with their release of the first mainstream A.T.A. hard drive disks with 8MiB of disk buffer. 

There’s no need to understand what that means but instead understand that those products were what allowed to company to surge through the ranks and line itself up amongst the best data storage manufacturers in the world. 

However, 2006-2007 might have been the years when Western Digital became a household name with the release of their new My Book line of external hard drives; that ranged from a few hundred gigabytes up to the most massive 2TB that was released in 2009. 

Western Digital did not stop there; however, year after year from that point on, they would become the company with the most firsts in terms of capacity as they would often release new record-breaking storage.

Becoming the largest manufacturer

Finally, in 2012, after Western Digital’s acquisition of H.G.S.T., it became the world’s largest manufacturer of hard drives. As of October 2019, they are still the largest manufacturer in the world and are releasing new products very often. 

Their most significant yet, a 14TB, was published 2 years ago, for example. Western Digital also has its series of S.S.D. and N.V.M.E. available to the public, but those technologies are often designed and sold by their subsidiaries such as SanDisk.

Despite being the largest manufacturer in the world, taking roughly 40% of the world’s hard drive market share, Western Digital products are not without fault. 

It is not to say that they are more prone to breaking down; instead, the opposite is true, year after year, they rank in the top three most reliable storage in the market. 

However, since Western Digital’s products are the most numerous in the world, it stands to reason that a large share of that fail belongs to them despite their low failure rates. 

Western digital hard drive repairs are, therefore, the most numerous that we see here at Steve’s P.C. repair, and having seen the most we have the most experience with and success rates.

Most Common Western Digital Hard Drive Problems

So what are some examples which you might encounter that could mean a visit to our repair shop for Western Digital repairs? 

Most signs of incoming failure of a Western Digital hard drive are difficult to spot before they fail for good but be on the lookout for computer boots up far slower than usual, and the computer fails to boot (sometimes a few times in a row), files are getting corrupted or files are disappearing. 

If you encounter any of those symptoms, then we highly encourage you to drop what you’re doing and back up any critical data right away. This is one of the few common Western Digital Hard Drive Problems.

Sometimes, however, we won’t even get a warning and will fail from one boot up to the next. You can quickly tell when a hard drive has completely failed because the symptoms are far easier to notice since many of them have specific sound cues. 

Computer Stopped Booting

Let’s assume that your computer has stopped booting at all from one day to the next; get close to your desktop or laptop and see if you can listen to some of the following: clicking noise, chattering sound, spinning then turning off then spinning again on repeat. 

There is another sound cue of a failed storage device or rather lack thereof: it is not spinning whatsoever. If any of those are occurring, then you have a dead Western Digital hard drive in your hands in need of repair. 

Depending on which sound you hear will determine the amount of work that needs to be done along with an accompanying success rate.

Let us start with the most straightforward scenario, which is a disk that is not turning on whatsoever. 

Device Not Turning On

If it is not turning on, or rather, the discs inside of it are not spinning at all, then the very likely problem is that the printer control board has gone bad. A printed control board is the piece of electronics that dictates how the hard drive operates. 

Everything from controlling how fast the platters spin to which spots the head should read from is prescribed by the board, therefore if the control board fails, the drive itself won’t work at all. 

The good news to this kind of failure is that the data itself should still be in the right conditions, and replacing the control board or the chips in the control board that failed can usually result in a functioning hard drive. 

Spinning Disk Making Noises

Another common Western Digital failure that many people can encounter is a spinning disk that is making chattering or clicking sounds.

If either of those sounds is met and you can still access your operating system, then we strongly suggest you back up any critical data immediately since hard drive failure is not a possibility but a certainty at that point. 

If the computer refused to boot one day to the next and chattering or clicking noises are coming from the hard drive, then we recommend you turn off the computer and stop using it to prevent any further damage.

Mostly what is happening is that the spindle or arm that holds the head (which does the reading and writing) has had a mechanical failure. This failure can come in different forms, but in Western Digital hard drives, it is mostly from a stuck spindle or heads that have crashed onto the disk plates. 

If a stuck pivot is the culprit, then data recovery can still have reasonable success rates if the platters are switched to a twin donor enclosure. If the heads are the ones that failed, however, data recovery success rates plummet. 

The reason that head failures have low recovery rates is that when a head crashes with the data plates, scratches are made on the surface. Since the plates are spinning at incredibly high speeds, even head hits of a couple of fractions of a second result in vast amounts of data loss.

While this type of failure can technically be repaired what we here at Steve’s P.C, improve focus on instead is the recovery of as much data as possible from the failed hard drive. 

The process is much more complicated than the previous types of failure because it is the data medium itself, the hard drive plates, that have become damaged which means that we have to transfer the plates to a healthy donor drive and attempt to copy as much of the data as possible without further damaging the surface of the plate.

This may sound scary but a few ways that you can prevent or at least be aware of the likelihood that your Western Digital hard drive might be failing soon. 

For example, studies have found that Western Digital hard drives are most likely to fail due to mechanical failures arising from the mishandling of the device. It’s one of the common western digital hard drive problems.

In other words, sudden shocks such as drops were the most likely causes of failure, so directly handling them with care (even the portable My Books) is a good practice. Another much more active approach to monitoring your hard drive is called S.M.A.R.T. system (self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology), which is compatible with pretty much all newer hard drives. 

S.M.A.R.T. system can relay error messages. Which can alert you of a failing or soon to fail hard drive, and most studies have shown that Western Digital devices are better at reporting to the user that a hard drive might be failing rapidly over other brands of hard drives. 

A hidden option

One last idea that could help extend the lifespan of your storage is an option hidden away in the power settings of your computer or laptop. This option is under the Hard Disk tab of the power options menu and is used to turn off any hard drives that have not been accessed for a certain amount of time. 

What this means is that the hard drive will shut down, thus preventing wear and tear, it is very useful if you have multiple hard disks in your computer, of which many might be idle most of the time. This latter idea could be beneficial for people who have two or more drives, such as gamers or media enthusiasts. 

Using a primary boot drive for the operating system and keeping most games or media in separate larger hard disk with the power down option, you can ensure that those hard drives enjoy more lax lifestyles and hence longer life spans.

Conclusion

In the end, if you are an owner of a Western Digital hard disk drive, you are in good company. Western Digital is an American founded and based company with real American values. Reliability and excellence are deeply ingrained in its culture, and it shows: Western Digital hard drives are some of the most reliable hard drives that are available on the market today and also offer some of the most extended warranties in the industry. 

While solid-state drives have become far more commonplace in even middle of the road computers and laptops, Western Digital has kept pushing the boundaries of hard-disk technologies. 

Technologies such as 4k video recording and gaming consoles (both being technologies that require vast amounts of hard drive capacities) capable of using external storage are becoming more commonplace. 

I believe that most Western Digital huge hard drive capacities will have a more permanent home in database systems instead.

 Ultimately, if your hard drive does fail, rest assured that Western Digital hard drive repair is one of the many services that Steve’s P.C. Repair is capable of performing for you. 

Keep an eye out for upcoming articles here on our website. Next, we might talk some more about hard drive manufacturers or perhaps other topics. Do you have any issues or questions that you would like answered? 

Let us know. Until next time, have a good day!

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