HDD health fluctuating between 100 and 0% health

  1.    12 Jun 2018 #1

    HDD health fluctuating between 100 and 0% health


    Back on 9th May I had a bit of a panic and expected to have to spend a considerable amount of money replacing a hard drive. The reason for this was that a Toshiba P300 3TB HDD was showing up in Hard Disk Sentinel with a health of 0%. When I checked the details I found the Seek Error Rate was sitting at 67 although the disk was behaving perfectly normally. Anyway I spent some time looking for a replacement drive although I didn't do anything that day. Come the next day I boot up and low and behold the error had disappeared and hasn't reappeared - until now, nearly five weeks later. Two days ago (10/6/18) HDS records it as failing, it was perfectly OK yesterday (11/6/18) and failing again today (12/6/18).

    Can anyone give me any idea as to what may be going on? Is the drive actually failing? Seemingly the drive is behaving perfectly as all files and folders appear to be readily accessible and I'm wondering just what the Seek Error Rate actually means. Should I replace the drive (it is only a backup) or can I still use it as normal.

    Does anyone have any ideas please? Any help would be most appreciated. Whatever, I shall be keeping a very close eye on the drive for the forseeable future.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    12 Jun 2018 #2

    Hi, first well spotted.
    Second, you could do some tests under HDS's Disk tab.
    Third, you could do some performance checks, repeating when HDS reports a change in the parameter e.g.
    CrystalDiskMark Crystal Dew World

    "The Seek Error Rate S.M.A.R.T. parameter indicates the rate of seek errors of the magnetic heads. In case of a failure in the mechanical positioning system, servo damage or thermal widening of the hard disk, seek errors arise.

    Although this parameter is not considered critical by the most hardware vendors, degradation of this parameter may indicate electromechanical problems of the disk. Regular backup is recommended. If no other (critical) parameters report a problem, hardware replacement is recommended on mission critical systems only."

    Seek error rate - Storage - Toms Hardware

      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    12 Jun 2018 #3


    Thanks for your response. I ran it through a number of tests using first Seatools and it passed all tests. I then ran it through the random seek test using HDS and suddenly the health went from 0% back up to 100%. It looks to me as though something is happening with it but just what is anyone's guess. Anyway its now showing 100% and I'll just have to wait to see when it goes south again. Thanks also for the links to more info. At least I now know what the Seek Error Rate is and what it checks. I guess I'll just have to keep a close eye on the drive.


    P.S. Not marked as solved as yet as I don't know it has been solved.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    12 Jun 2018 #4

    Another (grim) possibility: intermittent disk controller hiccups/failures. This can't be good, whatever it is. I'd strongly urge you to replace the drive as soon as you can.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    13 Jun 2018 #5


    If you are correct, and even if your not come to that, I shall never get another Toshiba drive. When I bought the first drive I messed up and thought I had destroyed the drive. I therefore went ahead and got another. However, that failed after a few months and the dealers replaced it with another. That failed after a few weeks and again was replaced. Thankfully this one has at least lasted about a year so I've got something out of it but not enough for the amount it has been used, after all it was initially only used once per week when I did my backups. Now though it is used once In a blue moon since I reorganised my drives and is only used when I place a video on it or possibly access a video. In future I shall go for WD drives. Incidentally, the first drive I was able to recover eventually and my husband is using that now.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    13 Jun 2018 #6

    When I'm in the market for drives, I consult the latest Backblaze Drive Stats report. Here's the Q1 2018 version (most recent available): How Long Do Hard Drives Last: 2018 Hard Drives Stats. Based on what I see there, I usually buy HGST drives. I'm also partial to Samsung SpinPoints (not rated by Backblaze, but known as both quiet and reliable). I've never had a drive from either maker fail on me, which is more than I can say for Seagate, WD, and Toshiba (direct personal experience).
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    13 Jun 2018 #7

    Ed- interesting comment on Backblaze:
    How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog • The Register
    - and a sort of overview..
    (This site can't handle lifehacker URLs- they expand to many lines)

    (I tend to use Toshiba and some Hitachi).
      My ComputersSystem Spec


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