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I've been experiencing random issues in accessing a particular disk - sometimes Finder will hang and not respond when accessing the disk or some directory in it. Sometimes the system just won't shutdown and has to be powered down. (This disk does not have the OS on it.)

Today, when I ran a find command, I got an "Input/output error":

bash-3.2$ find /Volumes/Backup/ -name mega*.* -print

find: /Volumes/Backup/ID/Other data: Input/output error
find: /Volumes/Backup/ID/vCards: Input/output error
find: /Volumes/Backup/Bills/Ike: Input/output error

[.... etc.]

So I ran dmesg and noticed the following:

SATA WARNING: Enable Drive PHY PM failed
SATA WARNING: Set drive APM level failed
disk0s2: I/O error.

[Repeats the same 5 times again]

Doubts:

  1. What do the SATA warning and error mean - hard disk failure or damaged SATA cable?
  2. I was searching for a file on Volume "Backup" (which is disk1s2), but dmesg is showing warning / errors only for disk0s2 (they are on 2 different drives) - are they somehow related to the find I/O errors?
  3. Any other suggestions to pin-point the exact cause of failure?

OS: macOS Mojave Version 10.14.6

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hard disk failure or damaged SATA cable?

The damaged SATA cable most likely would have made using this disk impossible or thrown random errors. If you're getting the same error while accessing the same data it's most likely a hard disk drive failure.

Any other suggestions to pin-point the exact cause of failure?

  1. Download smartmontools for MacOS X.
  2. Run smartctl -t long /dev/device (not a partition) under the superuser
  3. Wait
  4. When it finishes, check the output of smartctl -a /dev/device or post it here.

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