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I have an external 500 GB HDD that's about five years old. I just turned it on and it made a bunch of clicking noises and failed to spin up immediately, though it did so after a few seconds.

To be safe, I figured I'd run Verify Disk in Disk Utility to see if anything was wrong with it. It reported the following:

Missing thread record (id = 14183615)
The volume OWC On The Go was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.

It's now running the repair process, which it says will take about 1.5 hours.

Is this a serious error and/or should I do anything else? The fact that it seemed to have trouble spinning up is a little concerning...


UPDATE: The repair process stopped and now it says:

Error: Disk Utility can’t repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files.

Sounds serious. Is the drive failing?

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That sound you hear is often referred to as "The Click of Death": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death

Head reader errors, motor errors, anything of this sort indicate physical failure, and possibly imminent device death. Get your data backed up off of that disk NOW.

Afterwards, and only afterwards, check and see if it's still in warranty. :)

  • Crap. It apparently unmounted it to do the repair, but the repair failed, and now it won't remount...am I screwed? – daGUY Mar 27 '14 at 23:27
  • You might be, you might not be. There is not a definitive answer. It might take a while but the failing piece may knock back into function, it's up to you how much time you want to put into hoping it will work (and admittedly, risking even more issue, like maybe something like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_crash ) – Jason Salaz Mar 27 '14 at 23:28
  • Disk data recovery is possible provided the platters are intact. They do this by moving the actual storage platters into working readers, in a sterile/clean environment. I have never used a data recovery service but I've heard tons of stories from people that have. I leave it to you to research and choose a service should your hard drive not spring back to life, and decide to go that route. – Jason Salaz Mar 27 '14 at 23:30
  • False alarm – the disk disappeared from the Finder's sidebar, but I was still able to navigate to it directly. Copying everything off of it now... – daGUY Mar 27 '14 at 23:31
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    I haven't seen that alert before. And yes, when you hear what could be a physical error, you should absolutely never trust the disk again. – Jason Salaz Mar 27 '14 at 23:33

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