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I got a Dell server from a giveaway at my school (Optiplex something). The Server came with a 2TB hard disk drive (Hitachi HDS723020BLA642), and a 250GB SSD. The SSD is now my main OS disk in my gaming desktop, it works great (so does the server).

I’m having problems with the hard disk drive though, it shuts down at random times. The S.M.A.R.T. status shows all green, and several different disk checking utilities found no errors. Reading and writing files works fine, there seems to be no data corruption or anything of the sort. The drive seems to have minor physical damage with small piece of plastic missing on the corner, possibly from a fall.

I have tested the disk in several different computers, using several different operating systems, and both SATA/USB connectors. The hard disk drive always shuts down after 1-2 hours of being powered on, whether or not it is in operation.

Any idea what could cause this?

  • did you check Power Options to see if automatic HDD power off is turned off? – Chin Oct 19 '15 at 3:55
  • You say the drive “shuts down” but do you mean it just spins down and you don’t hear it hum but you can still access it? Or do you mean that after 1-2 hours it powers down and is unreachable unless you do something like rebooting? – JakeGould Oct 19 '15 at 4:13
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I’m having problems with the hard disk drive though, it shuts down at random times. The S.M.A.R.T. status shows all green, and several different disk checking utilities found no errors. Reading and writing files works fine, there seems to be no data corruption or anything of the sort. The drive seems to have minor physical damage with small piece of plastic missing on the corner, possibly from a fall.

My guess is if this drive is sporadically shutting down every 1 to 2 hours and there is a sign of physical damage, yet the S.M.A.R.T. status shows clean it means there is something past the data storage level that is physically damaged on the disk—possibly the controller on the drive itself—that is causing it to malfunction.

What to do? Unless you have a spare controller board from the exact same model of hard drive from Hitachi to use as a replacement, I would consider the drive a lost cause and you should just toss it. You might be able to score a controller board off of eBay for the exact same make/model of drive but there would still be no guarantee that replacing the current one with the new one would fix anything.

Remember: According to Hitachi’s official specs for the HDS723020BLA642, this drive is 5+ years old and you scored the hardware for free. Is it really worth it to investigate why a 2TB SATA drive that can easily be replaced by a new drive is failing nowadays? In my book, it’s not worth the effort.

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    It's not worth the effort. I'm going to scrap the drive, even without the 2TB I still got a free 250GB SSD and server! – Ulincsys Oct 20 '15 at 3:39
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The hard drive does this naturally, as it's going into its power save mode. A lot of lower end hard drives with large capacities do this.

If this was a server-grade drive, I'd suspect something else entirely. It's normal for low-speed drives to almost turn off to "save power".

  • I have a funny feeling you are mixing up drive sleep versus the drive going completely offline? Drives that go to sleep can be awoken by access. But if the drive is disconnecting, that is something else. – JakeGould Oct 19 '15 at 4:12

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