Yes I usually unmount drive before removing physically.
I just ran fsck and here is the output.
fsck.ext3 -f /dev/sda1
e2fsck 1.41.3 (12-Oct-2008)
Linux: recovering journal
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
Pass 2: Checking directory structure
Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity
Pass 4: Checking reference counts
Pass 5: Checking group summary information
Linux: 864/12181504 files (0.7% non-contiguous), 839462/48717104 blocks
I am finding numerous complaints about these FreeAgent drives on linux machines now. I wish I googled a bit more before buying. It seems there is a common problem of the drives powering down and not waking up. My problem may not be identical, but they don't seem to be linux-friendly. I also found a fix for ubuntu, but it's too compicated for noob like me. The interesting thing is that the drive seems to be running fine on my notebook with kubuntu.