Hard Drive - If the power is cut, can that be bad for it?

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  1.    #1

    Hard Drive - If the power is cut, can that be bad for it?

    I use SynBackPro to make two "mirror" copies of one folder on my C: to two 1 TB hard drives: Western Digital Black WD1003FZEX

    WD Black

    I have the hard drives on a power strip. I power them on and off, about once per day, to make a daily backup.

    After the copy has been completed, I use "USB Disk Ejector" to "safely remove" the hard drives

    USB Disk Ejector | Quick And Easy Software

    Sometimes, it takes 30 to 60 seconds for a drive to "eject". Sometimes, they both "eject" immediately.

    After being "ejected" / disconnected, the drives continue to spin . . .

    1.) If I wait for 20 seconds, they auto-power off / auto-power down.

    2.) What I have been doing, however, is just cutting the power to them, when they're still spinning.

    My question is - with #2 - I haven't noticed anything, but could this have a negative effect on the hard drives, or the data?

    I'm thinking that with #1, the needles must "park" themselves, which is what you want - but this cannot occur in scenario #2.

    But, I don't know how hard drives work that well - for all I know, the needles park themselves, somehow, even if I cut the power.
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  2.    #2

    The main risk is to the file system if it hasn't written all the data in the buffer it can corrupt the file system
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  3.    #3

    It always says "Success" in SyncBackPro . . . I always successfully "eject" them with USB Disk Ejector . . . so, all the data should be written properly.

    Any idea what happens with the needle: cut the power VS. let the drive auto-power off ?

    As I understand it, the needle never physically touches the platter, but is very close.

    How do you find out if auto-power off parks the needle VS. [not sure what other state it can be in]
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  4. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 2,159
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1809 17763.55

    Hard drives park the heads when power is lost. If that didn't happen, the drive would be damaged. (It's not.)

    "Needle"? No. It's not like a vinyl record. The read/write heads fly over the disk aerodynamically. That is why a conventional hard drive has a maximum operating altitude. Their cases have "breathers", so internal and external pressures are the same. (For Seagate drives, that max altitude is 10000 feet, 3048 m.) That's one of the reasons why the drives in the Event Horizon Telescope (radiotelescope that imaged the M87 black hole) were of the new helium-filled (sealed) type. No pressure loss at altitude.

    Don't subject an HD to a mechanical shock when it is spun up, though. I had a 3.5" 750 GB HD (large at the time) in an external USB case. I dropped it about 20" (0.5 m). Killed it. It might have been OK if the platters weren't spinning.
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  5.    #5

    No worries about the re/write heads . . . just data loss, if not complete due to power loss . . . cool - thanks!
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  6. Posts : 1,228
    Windows 10

    Scenario 2) just cutting power can corrupt your data as it might be writing at the time from the cache, you may also get a head crash on the HDD platters and get damage. Whilst these damaged sectors will subsequently be marked off and not used this can be the start of more damage.

    I have had power cuts to my PCs which has damaged HDD sectors and the data recorded on those sectors. The sectors were marked off as usual when checking discs, but correcting the damaged data was quite tricky.

    "Hard drives park the heads when power is lost. If that didn't happen, the drive would be damaged. (It's not.)"
    That is just not true.
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  7.    #7

    I've been cutting the power on these two HDs for the past 4 years, and haven't noticed anything.

    I think I can give them an extra 20 seconds to power off properly, though, now that I understand the issue.

    I'll run a "chkdsk C: /x /r" on them:

    chkdsk C: /x /r . . . /R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information (implies /F, when /scan not specified)

    That's pretty much all I need to do, right?

    If I only power them on once per day, to do my daily backup, that's 365 times per year . . . How often should I run chkdsk on them? Once per year?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    #8

    After 4.25 years of just cutting the power (no graceful park of the heads), I ran a "chkdsk /x /r" on both of these 1TBs.

    One of them was fine . . . The other one had 20KB in "bad sectors"

    "Current Pending Sector Count" . . . This attribute indicates the number of sectors pending for relocation. Sectors with read or write errors are recorded and await relocations to spare sectors when the next write commands are issued.

    How to fix Current Pending Sector Count . . . Do a zero fill erase of HDD . . . How to fix Current Pending Sector Count - YouTube

    I used the WD Data Lifeguard:

    1.) The "Quick Test" would not run

    Quick Test on drive 2 did not complete!
    Status code = 07 (Failed read test element). Failure Checkpoint = 97 (Unknown Test)
    SMART self-test did not complete on drive 2!

    2.) As far as I can tell, "Extended Test" does what "Erase" does, but asks for permission before fixing anything, so I just did "Erase".

    3.) "[Full] Erase" took 7 hours 50 minutes on this 1TB.

    4.) I was then able to run the "Quick Test" successfully, and it was ok

    5.) I re-ran chkdsk /x /r on it, and I see that the above cleared up the "Current Pending Sector Count"

    I'm going to let these HDs power off, and park the heads properly, from now on - and run chkdsk on these drives in another 6 months . . . then annually, thereafter. I guess they say, ideally, to just leave everything powered on 24/7, but I'm not going to go by that. I think it will be ok.

    These 1TB WD's have a 5 year warranty on them, which is why I thought they were good. It looks like they really are, based on how I've been using them.

    It looks like Seagate Barracuda is the #1 HDD at the moment, according to Userbenchmark.

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    Here's other info I found on it. I wonder if it's as bad as some say. I'll just have to keep an eye on it.

    Chkdsk /r - How often? - Windows 7 Help Forums . . . It was not until I ran the chkdsk /r that the bad sectors were identified and the bad sector count in smart were updated . . . Chkdsk /r - How often? - Windows 7 Help Forums

    How often should I run CHKDSK? - Super User . . . When CHKDSK finds bad sectors it will log the affected files to the system log so you know which files are damaged. Once bad sectors are found on a disk it is likely to fail soon and copying all valuable data off it ASAP is a good idea . . . windows 7 - How often should I run CHKDSK? - Super User

    How to fix "Current Pending Sector Count" on WD External Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums . . . This is a critical parameter. Degradation of this parameter may indicate imminent drive failure. Urgent data backup and hardware replacement is recommended . . . How to fix "Current Pending Sector Count" on WD External Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums

    Can Current Pending Sector Count be fixed permanently? (WD) - Page 2 - Windows 7 Help Forums . . . i still dont know why it shows a pending sector in two programs and none in wd, but they will rma it anyway . . . Can Current Pending Sector Count be fixed permanently? (WD) - Page 2 - Windows 7 Help Forums

    How to fix Current Pending Sector Count . . . Do a zero fill erase of HDD. MAKE BACKUP OF ALL FILES ON HDD FIRST AS EVERYTHING ON IT WILL BE LOST! . . . If you have 1 or only few Current Pending Sector Count it may be possible to fix them . . . 1. Download and install HDTune . . . 2. Run HDTune, select HDD, go to Erase tab, select Zero fill from the list and press Start . . . You can also use other program to do zero fill erase, software provided by manufacturer of your HDD might have that option . . . After erasing finishes, check if Current Pending Sector Count changed back to zero. If it didn't your drive might be failing . . . Run chkdsk to check for bad sectors . . . For example if your drive letter is D, do this: Open Start menu, type emd and click cmd.exe that will show up . . . Now type: chkdsk d: /r to check HDD for errors and bad sectors . . . How to fix Current Pending Sector Count - YouTube

    How to low level format or write zeros (Erase) to a WD hard drive or SSHD . . . How to low level format or write zeros (Erase) to a WD hard drive or SSHD

    Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows - WD Support . . . Software and Firmware Downloads | WD Support

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  9. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 6,279
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.14.3 Beta (18D21c)

    Warranty means nothing with device lifespan, which can vary. Run S.M.A.R.T. on the drives from Powershell with Check Disk Health with PowerShell | IT Pro
    Using PowerShell To Evaluate Storage Health -- Redmondmag.com

    Powershell is a very powerful tool.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    #10

    Crystal Disk Info vs. Power Shell

    What do you think of Crystal Disk Info vs. Power Shell ?

    CrystalDiskInfo – Crystal Dew World

    I like it. I plays a tone when my SSD goes down 1%, and shows all the S.M.A.R.T. info
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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