HARD DISK MONITORING

Hard disk case: communication errors

Problems occurred between the communication of the hard disk and the host

This example shows the status of a Samsung SATA hard disk.

Hard disk problems reported

First hard disk checks

Initially, the hard disk health reported is 100 %. The text description shows no problems with the hard disk but shows communications problems:

Problems occurred between the communication of the disk and the host 122 times.

Hard disk cable and connection issues

According the text description, numerous data transfer (communication) problems found. In most cases this is not really related to the hard disk, but related to the connections and/or data cables. For example loose SATA cable connections frequently cause this issue.

It is recommended to verify both the power and the data cable connected to the hard drive. If you see the plugs do not fit properly, you should change the data cable to a different one, for example a SATA cable with a metal clip to fix the connection:

SATA hard disk cable with metal latch

The error counter counts all errors found during the lifetime of the hard disk. It means that the errors do not reset automatically after fixing or replacing the cables. So if things will be improved, the error-counter will not increase further (the current amount of errors remain reported).

If the problems are corrected, it is possible to manually reset the error counter in Hard Disk Sentinel:

  • open the S.M.A.R.T. page of the hard disk drive

  • locate the #199 Ultra ATA CRC error count attribute

  • locate the Offset column for this attribute and click on the 0 between - and + and enter the error count value reported in the text description but with negative sign.

This will reset the error-counter to zero. So the error text will be removed from the text description and it will be displayed again only if there will be new such problems found.

Example

If your hard disk reports 112 data communication errors in the text description (Problems occurred between the communication of the disk and the host 122 times.):

Ultra ATA CRC Error count errors

Note that the Data field contains also the number of errors in hexadecimal format (007A = 122). If you prefer, you can switch this Data field to decimal after right click on the list of attributes.

After clicking on the 0 in the Offset column, you can enter -122 in the small window:

Setting S.M.A.R.T. attribute offset

Then the list shows the configured offset:

Ultra ATA CRC Error count errors FIXED

Soon the error counter resets to zero and the text description will no longer shows communication errors and displays (if there are no further problems found) that

The hard disk status is PERFECT. Problematic or weak sectors were not found and there are no spin up or data transfer errors.

Recommendations

  • Check data and power cables and connections of the hard disks and SSDs

  • Consider using high quality cables, for example SATA cables with SATA 6G designation (especially if you prefer to use a SATA 6G device)

  • Avoid using power cable extenders, splitters

  • IDE/ATA hard disks: make sure to connect the hard disk cable properly. Use 80-wire standard cable (not round one) and the "longer" end should be connected to the motherboard, the shorter end to the master device and the center connector should be to the slave device. If there is an optical drive on the same cable, the hard disk should be always set to master and the optical drive should be the slave device.

  • Disk menu -> Surface Test functions can cause high amount of traffic transferred between the hard disk and the controller (host). This way they can be effectively used to check if there are further data communication errors. Disk menu -> Surface Test -> Refresh data area is one of the best methods to test as it automatically performs verification by comparing the content of the sectors after the "refresh" with the original content.

  • Other system factors (for example generic overheat, not stable power source, overclocking) can also cause data communication issues. It is recommended to verify and eliminate these issues also if possible.

 

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Software for hard disk monitoring and data protection