How To Retrieve Data From A Defective External Hard Hard.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by irishred, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. irishred

    irishred MDL Novice

    Jan 22, 2011
    I have a 1.5tb western elements external HDD not even a month old when it became defective. It worked once when I downloaded 100GB for back up. There are no physical damage and the hard drive is silence. I spent another month with WD trying to get it fixed. It is still under warranty but they won't do data retrieving. They suggested their partner to do the retrieving but I would have to pay for it. I did get angry and was not very nice about it. They also informed me that if I got it done with any other company, they would void the warranty. Needless to say as you can imagine, I responded with calling their products crap. So here I am, hoping to be able to retrieve data without futher damage to the external and be able to send back their product without voiding the warranty. I would appreciate some help on this. I promise to be very cordial to anyone who will try to help me.
  2. irishred

    irishred MDL Novice

    Jan 22, 2011
    The WD is no longer recognized by my computer.
  3. 2centsworth

    2centsworth MDL Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    #3 2centsworth, Jan 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
    I am sorry to hear of your loss. Mechanical hard drives are precision devices and do fail eventually, but defects and/or poor handling can lead to premature failures. Unfortunately if a motherboards BIOS cannot see the drive it's unlikley any commercial data recovery tools you can obtain will recover any data. In the old days we would try swapping PCB' but todays drives that won't work.

    First be certain it's not the cable/controller/OS. Then I would try running the WD diagnostics boot CD and see if it can see your drive. If not......Professional data recovery services are your last resort. Ones like what WD offers all run the same business model, they recover what they can then charge typically several thousand dollars for the data.

    Backups are cheap insurance against data loss on hard drives that fail. If your data is valuable, buying a second drive as a RAID or backup drive is very cheap insurance, and much cheaper than data recovery services.

    RAID and backups help guard against loss of a hard drive, the more redundancy the better in my experience. I like 3 copies of my data at least, 2 copies on the mirrored array I have my OS and data on and a third copy on another harddrive usually via an automated drive imaging backup program like acronis.

    Google data recovery and free tools for it before you give up completely, but keep in mind if your drive has experienced a physical failure between the head and media or has other media defects spinning (running the drive) it may damage more disk area making data recovery impossible even for the pro's.

    EDIT: I should have specified you need to remove the drive from the external enclosure to eliminate the sata to usb interface as part of the problem, didn't know if you knew that already or not. Plug it directly into a known good motherboard and run the wd diagnostics or data recovery software if the diagnostics see the drive.
  4. cynics

    cynics MDL Novice

    Feb 26, 2008
    if the data is critical, my advise is not to do any recovery by yourself. instead, send it to the pro data recovery guy.
  5. irishred

    irishred MDL Novice

    Jan 22, 2011
    I wanted to back my files so that I can do a clean install of windows 7. I currently have vista x64 and would like to not have it anymore. I plan on downloading windows 7 from these links to a dvd but am unclear about which segment I'm suppose to download. I have about 300gb to back up not including vista and have a 450gb hdd but I read here that it would be a good idea to back up my vista in case something goes wrong. I don't have my hdd partitioned. I am not going to put all of my files back but would like to save those. Am very leary about external hdd now. Oh, what is a RAID? I don't have any experiences of delicate hardware devices. The only thing I know how to do is take the cover off my computer case and install a burner. I have a very good blu ray burner and 25gbs dvds but it would take so long to burn. So do I want to take the risk of losing my files for a quick solution or take hours to burn on dvds. Thank you!
  6. livinginswva

    livinginswva MDL Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Just because one external fails doesn't mean all will. You don't quit driving because one car breaks down do you? Get another drive and give it a try.
  7. amendalus

    amendalus MDL Novice

    Dec 3, 2013
    In order to recover data from external hard drive, you can try the following tips:
    STOP using the computer as soon as possible, because computers write to the internal drive all the time. So you can't download software or do anything from OS X on that drive/ partition until you have created a data recovery external drive first to run the computer off of.

    If you can't understand the steps further on, can't buy a new external drive and/or $100 for third party recovery software, then your going to need the services of a local PC/Mac data recovery/computer service, any of them should be more than competent enough to passively image your drive and hand it to you for digging through the mess to find your files.

    If some time has passed, or you overwrote the drive with a lot of new data, your too late and your chances are slim to none.

    If you used "Secure Empty Trash" or Disk Utility > Zero Erase or Zero Free Space (or 7x-35x erase), your files cannot be recovered. If you have Filevault or encrypted files, most likely in nearly all cases they can't be recovered.
    Hope it works for you!
  8. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
    on rare case it can be the usb to sata adapter inside the box so try checking your model with online pictures of disassembly .. however some new drives have it direct to hdd circuit board usb to sata which is 1 piece.. harder to diag.

    if u want to risk it u can try to change the heads that are likely broken from being dropped.. i did 1 one time via youtube tips and got data back cause i had spare hdd same head type and hrs to play with it.