Windows 10: Care and Feeding a homebrewed external hard drive. Solved

  1.    04 Dec 2016 #1

    Care and Feeding a homebrewed external hard drive.

    Several years ago I build my own external hard drive. Bought a powered case and tossed a 500GB drive in it. The drive was already "old" at that time, and now a decade has gone by. I've both my wife's and my own cd collections (around 1000 albums) ripped to Mp3 format, a few are Flac as my wife had an ipod as well. I did the same with my daughter's Wii by jailbreaking it so I could store all her games on an old hard drive. She's more or less out grown the Wii, which is a good thing, since the external drive I'd built for that died. She's more interested in playing Borderlands with daddy now at age 13.

    So here's the meat of my question. The drive with all the music on it is starting to make "clicking" sounds occasionally, just like the external drive on our Wii did. Currently I'm not in the position to replace the music drive, and with 225GB used of the 500GB, it's not like I could afford to rent cloud space from Microsoft, Google or any other company offering cloud storage.

    Other then just carefully packing the music hd away, is there anything else I could do to protect it until I get around to building or buying a new external drive? I have it connected to my laptop at the moment. I had a few movies stored on there, and I wanted to watch one. I know it's not a good idea to just turn a hard drive off, but I don't see an option to "unmount" this E: drive in Windows 10 file explorer. I'd hate to just unplug the usb cable and flip the power switch off potentially scrambling the disks/files up.

    When I do have the funds to build or buy another external drive. I'm seriously thinking about going with a SSD drive. Then I can eliminate some of the issues of having a mechanical drive. What bus do SSD drives use? SATA? PCIe? IDE? I only ask because I can't remember what bus the dead Wii hard drive had. I'd say it's more then likely IDE, but it could be sata too.

    A side note to all of this. Is where to place the new external drive once I do rebuild it. The laptop I've currently have it hooked to, I'm trying to eliminate all entertainment and gaming software from and strictly use it for work. I plan on building a Gaming-Media computer to work into our entertainment center and TV. But this gives me almost too many options to connect to it. I could install it in to this computer. I also have a Roku 3 with a USB port, and my Router has a USB port to attach a network drive. I'll be running either Kodi or Plex on this computer as a media server software. Which of these options would be most efficient or would it really matter?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,285
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       04 Dec 2016 #2

    I know it's not a good idea to just turn a hard drive off, but I don't see an option to "unmount" this E: drive in Windows 10 file explorer
    Right. In Windows Notification Area should be an icon representing a USB Thumb drive, click that to get a Safely Remove prompt to eject the drive, if having more than 1 such drive listed choose the correct one.

    As for the SSD drives, most are SATA and will fit a case made for either type. I use one with a 2.5" 500GB HDD salvaged from a dead Notebook. HDD and SSD use the same data and power plugs or sockets. There's other types of Solid State drives that mount differently.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. strollin's Avatar
    Posts : 754
    W10 Pro (desktop), W10 (laptop), W10 (laptop), W10Pro (tablet)
       05 Dec 2016 #3

    In addition to the icon in the Notification Area Berton mentioned, if you right-click on the drive in File Explorer, you should see an Eject option listed.

    Drives have dropped in price considerably since you "built" your 500GB external. You could get a 1TB mechanical drive for around $50. An enclosure for it for around $20-25. If you wish to go ssd, it will be more expensive, a 500GB ssd will set you back around $150. BTW, ssds are most commonly SATA but they do make IDE ssds.

    In any case, I would get a new drive pronto and get your data transferred off that other drive. Clicking noises are not a good sign when dealing with hdds. Continue to use the drive if you wish but I wouldn't store anything on it that isn't backed up or otherwise replaceable.

    Since you have a router, that means you can use a Home Group or setup a traditional network. Plugging your external drive into your router will give you the ability to share that drive with any computer on your network. Plugging the drive into a computer on the network will work as well but that means the drive will only be accessible when that computer is powered on. I think the router is your best bet since it's a "always on" device making the external drive always accessible.

    I run a Plex media server and really like it. The Roku 3 is an excellent client for Plex but you would be able to access your media from lots of other clients as well.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    05 Dec 2016 #4

    Copy that data somewhere else as soon as possible before you lose it. Then run chkdsk /r on the possible faulty drive.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


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