I had the same issue with my DVD drive (and posted a thread about it). I swapped to using a different SATA port on my motherboard and that fixed it, so it looks like in my case it may have been a flaky SATA port (I used the same SATA cable when trying the new port).
The symptoms were roughly the same as yours – the drive would disappear and sometimes come back after a reboot or two. When it showed up it worked normally.
Managed to get everything copied over to a Samsung 2TB, swapped it in, and I’m going to RMA the Hitachi.
My drive failure toll since 2005:
1 Western Digital
Most of my drives are Western Digital and Samsung. Of four Seagates I purchased, all have failed. Three of their refurb replacements have failed, one of them DOA. Only one remains in service daily, a refurb on our bedroom DVR where data loss is no big deal. I’ve relegated the others to rotating backup status.
That seems like an alarmingly high HD failure rate. Ten drives in five years? Is there something in your setup that is making drives prone to failure because that rate seems a little outside the usual curve, to say the least. Are all of the drives (save the Tivo one) going into the same system or have the systems changed as well?
Ned, if you eliminate the craptacular Seagates, the numbers don’t seem that skewed for for a six-year period in a household with about a dozen hard drives in use in various devices. It’s just the Barracuda 1.5/2TB models that bring the failure rate into the stratosphere. (And if you search on those models, it’s not atypical. At one point Seagate offered free data recovery – an $1,800 values – on these drives, and I saw an article estimating a 30% failure rate.)
These drives were in multiple systems, and even my main system has seen numerous part changes – I think the only parts in that rig from a year ago are the optical drive, SD card reader, and case.