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Is my external hard drive dead or can it be salvaged/saved?


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#1 CreepahWeegie

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:23 PM

Hi, this just recently happened to me as of yesterday and I really don't know what's happened. I've only had this external hard drive (WD My Passport 2 TB) for almost 4 months only (12/25/13-4/6/14) and its already not working. Let me provide you with some backstory:

I usually used this for school to use during the day as so: First period: plug in and at the end unplug using safely remove
2nd period: plug in and not unplug safely till 3rd period (kept it connected in between passing periods.
4th period: plug in and unplug at the end of the class
5th period: plug back in and unplug at the end of class and then I would leave it in my backpack sometimes after school. Each class was about 50 minutes, but never did I remove it without safely removing it first. 

Yes, I have dropped this external hard drive. I dropped it about a week ago, but even up to the day after dropping and up until yesterday, it had been working perfectly. It was yesterday when something happened that I believe that might be the cause of this problem. I was at my girlfriends house yesterday and we were watching a movie on her laptop from this external drive in question and I paused it to get it up and go to the bathroom. When trying to get up, the external slipped as I was getting up and it almost fell off the cable but it didn't and just hung there, and I heard the disconnect sound but yet it wasn't disconnected. It was after thisis when it got weird. After returning from the bathroom, I unplugged and then plugged it back in, only this time it had a bit of trouble loading. After disconnecting and reconnecting (safely of course), I tried just copying it over to her desktop and it started and at about 20 percent, it started making a bit of a whirring noise louder than usual and the transfer rate just dropped to 0. There was no clicking at this time and after the whirring stopped I disconnected again and then reconnected and tried again and it worked just fine and made it all the way through. Once I came home, I ran CrystalDiskInfo and I found a caution about the Current Pending Sector Count (it being 200 of 200. I don't appear to have a screenshot even though I took one last night. I must've deleted it by accident.) After reading some forum posts online, I ran a WD diagnostic and it said it failed due to something about these sectors as well. (I'll try to provide a screenshot later)I went to bed last night around 4 AM and at that time it was still working okay and then when I woke up this morning, I find out to see it not in my computer anymore.

After seeing this, I began doing even more googling on this. I located both the disk in my disk management and my device manager, but no sight of it in My Computer or Explorer. In Disk Management I kept getting this pop-up about having to do something with it (I can't remember what) but I know no matter which choice I picked it said that there was something related with an I/O Error (I will also provide a screenshot later of this). I have tried this on 3 other computers other than my main desktop that I have here, and each time as of today it would begin to install the software as its working and it would sometimes have a clicking sound variating from 10-30 seconds in between each click and then sometimes as fast at 6-10 seconds. However, after it finished installing the software, the clicking would stop and it wouldn't come back even as we kept in there, but still no luck. (All of those computers were on Windows 7 and 8.)

I really have a lot of stuff on here that I would like to get back in any way possible. Even if I can't fully salvage the entire drive, if I can just get the stuff I want off of it, it would be a godsend. I just want to know after all of this if this external is entirely defunct and needs to be sent to the graveyard or if I can do something, anything to get this thing moving just enough for me to grab what I need.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

This is what I have done so far to try to fix it as well:
1. Tried different USB Ports
2. Tried uninstalling/updating the drivers
3. Tried going through Disk Management and seeing if I could change just the letter of the drive (that's where I got an I/O Error)
4. Tried going through CMD to change it from there but I could only find it by showing the disks



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#2 smax013

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 05:43 AM

The clicking sound usually indicates a potentially hardware problem with the drive…either that it is about to fail or has already failed.

If the drive was being accessed/spinning (i.e. light likely blinking) when it slipped when you go up, then it could have damaged the drive. The other possibility is that it damaged the USB port on the drive.

As I said, it kind of sounds like a hardware issue with the drive. If so, then your best way to get the data back would be a data recovery service such as DriveSavers (https://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com). A good data recovery company can usually recover most things. The downside of a data recovery service is that they are EXPENSIVE typically. You would likely have to pay several hundred dollar or more…potentially even more than $1000. If you want to go this route, then I would strongly suggest that you don't use the drive anymore (i.e. plug it into computers, etc) until you get it to the data recovery program.

If you decide that using a data recovery company is too rich for your blood, then you could try some data recovery programs. They are usually for recovering from non-hardware related issues with drives, but it might still work with some hardware issues.

The other option would be to remove the internal drive from the enclosure. If it is a problem with the USB port on the enclosure, then this might help.

#3 CreepahWeegie

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:13 AM

The clicking sound usually indicates a potentially hardware problem with the drive…either that it is about to fail or has already failed.

If the drive was being accessed/spinning (i.e. light likely blinking) when it slipped when you go up, then it could have damaged the drive. The other possibility is that it damaged the USB port on the drive.

As I said, it kind of sounds like a hardware issue with the drive. If so, then your best way to get the data back would be a data recovery service such as DriveSavers (https://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com). A good data recovery company can usually recover most things. The downside of a data recovery service is that they are EXPENSIVE typically. You would likely have to pay several hundred dollar or more…potentially even more than $1000. If you want to go this route, then I would strongly suggest that you don't use the drive anymore (i.e. plug it into computers, etc) until you get it to the data recovery program.

If you decide that using a data recovery company is too rich for your blood, then you could try some data recovery programs. They are usually for recovering from non-hardware related issues with drives, but it might still work with some hardware issues.

The other option would be to remove the internal drive from the enclosure. If it is a problem with the USB port on the enclosure, then this might help.

I would go the data recovery route if it wasn't much data  I wanted recovered, but I feel like I may have a bit too much data I want back that I would not be able to cover with money any time soon as of now. I was going to just wait a week on it and then try a data recovery program to see if I can get anything from it and also take  some time to maybe find someone around here where I live that knows a bit about hard drives as well and they can tell me if I can do anything with it.

 

I thought about removing the enclosure, but I'm a bit nervous I might mess something up by doing that so I don't know if I could do that. And yes, it was blinking when I got up and it fell. I still think it might be usb port related mainly because even though I dropped it,  it never clicked or had a single problem with it afterwards. It wasn't until after the incident on Saturday is when it happened. So, I still think its related to that unless the shock of the fall took a week for the drive to process.



#4 smax013

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:09 AM

I would go the data recovery route if it wasn't much data  I wanted recovered, but I feel like I may have a bit too much data I want back that I would not be able to cover with money any time soon as of now. I was going to just wait a week on it and then try a data recovery program to see if I can get anything from it and also take  some time to maybe find someone around here where I live that knows a bit about hard drives as well and they can tell me if I can do anything with it.


I don't think the amount of data will matter all that much if you wanted to go that data recovery company route. The cost is generally a function of what they might need to do such as if they need to take a part the internal drive to get to the bare platters (all done in a clean room).

If you want to try data recovery software, just keep in mind that the more you try to use the drive, the greater that chance that you cause the data to become completely unrecoverable. So, if you think at all that you might go the data/drive recovery company route, I would say do not use the drive any more before you send it to them. If you are not going to go the data/drive recovery company route and just try some data recovery software, then this is less of an issue.
 

I thought about removing the enclosure, but I'm a bit nervous I might mess something up by doing that so I don't know if I could do that. And yes, it was blinking when I got up and it fell. I still think it might be usb port related mainly because even though I dropped it,  it never clicked or had a single problem with it afterwards. It wasn't until after the incident on Saturday is when it happened. So, I still think its related to that unless the shock of the fall took a week for the drive to process.


Well, the slipping of the drive while you were watching the movie could still cause hardware issues if the drive was reading/writing. It could have caused the heads to crash on the platters, etc. The fact that there is some clicking (unless I am misunderstanding you) suggests that it is still possible that there is a hardware issue with the internal drive.

As to pulling the internal drive out of the enclosure, you should not need to worry about damaging the enclosure itself…if the internal drive is fine, then you can always buy a new enclosure for it. The only thing you need to be careful of is the internal drive itself. You likely can find a YouTube video telling you how. For example, I found this one…don't know if it is the model as your's:



The only potential issue with removing the internal drive is that it appears some WD external drives (and maybe other external drive brands) don't use a standard internal drive inside the enclosure. For example, at about 5:45 in the above video, you will see the guy discuss how the USB 3.0 is built into the circuit board attached to the internal drive rather than the standard circuit board with a SATA port that you would see with a standard 2.5" internal drive. So, for the external drive in the above video, pulling the drive out of the enclosure does you no good as there is not way to attach the drive to the computer by way of SATA. In other words, the USB interface is integral with the internal drive, not part of the external enclosure. If your drive is like that, then removing the drive from the enclosure won't really do you any good.

#5 CreepahWeegie

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 07:01 PM

 

I would go the data recovery route if it wasn't much data  I wanted recovered, but I feel like I may have a bit too much data I want back that I would not be able to cover with money any time soon as of now. I was going to just wait a week on it and then try a data recovery program to see if I can get anything from it and also take  some time to maybe find someone around here where I live that knows a bit about hard drives as well and they can tell me if I can do anything with it.


I don't think the amount of data will matter all that much if you wanted to go that data recovery company route. The cost is generally a function of what they might need to do such as if they need to take a part the internal drive to get to the bare platters (all done in a clean room).

If you want to try data recovery software, just keep in mind that the more you try to use the drive, the greater that chance that you cause the data to become completely unrecoverable. So, if you think at all that you might go the data/drive recovery company route, I would say do not use the drive any more before you send it to them. If you are not going to go the data/drive recovery company route and just try some data recovery software, then this is less of an issue.
 

I thought about removing the enclosure, but I'm a bit nervous I might mess something up by doing that so I don't know if I could do that. And yes, it was blinking when I got up and it fell. I still think it might be usb port related mainly because even though I dropped it,  it never clicked or had a single problem with it afterwards. It wasn't until after the incident on Saturday is when it happened. So, I still think its related to that unless the shock of the fall took a week for the drive to process.


Well, the slipping of the drive while you were watching the movie could still cause hardware issues if the drive was reading/writing. It could have caused the heads to crash on the platters, etc. The fact that there is some clicking (unless I am misunderstanding you) suggests that it is still possible that there is a hardware issue with the internal drive.

As to pulling the internal drive out of the enclosure, you should not need to worry about damaging the enclosure itself…if the internal drive is fine, then you can always buy a new enclosure for it. The only thing you need to be careful of is the internal drive itself. You likely can find a YouTube video telling you how. For example, I found this one…don't know if it is the model as your's:



The only potential issue with removing the internal drive is that it appears some WD external drives (and maybe other external drive brands) don't use a standard internal drive inside the enclosure. For example, at about 5:45 in the above video, you will see the guy discuss how the USB 3.0 is built into the circuit board attached to the internal drive rather than the standard circuit board with a SATA port that you would see with a standard 2.5" internal drive. So, for the external drive in the above video, pulling the drive out of the enclosure does you no good as there is not way to attach the drive to the computer by way of SATA. In other words, the USB interface is integral with the internal drive, not part of the external enclosure. If your drive is like that, then removing the drive from the enclosure won't really do you any good.

 

Sorry about the late reply. But yeah, that's the exact one that I have in the video. So, it probably won't do me too much good then sadly to open it up. Well, I had a technician at my school check it out and he said he plugged it into a computer and he claimed it would be something with the OS being Windows 7. I hardly think that's the case though since for the time I used it, I used it in Windows 7 and 8 without a single issue. I still want to try to see if another usb cable instead of my own would do anything, since that's pretty much the only thing I think of that I haven't tried.






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