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IT Question: External HD Recovery

Wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction. I have an WD external HD that is failing to read. The light is on but no one is home so to speak. Anyone have the skills or point me in the direction of someone who can retrieve data for me with out the exorbitant price tag? I have been quoted $1000+ which I think is insanity or is that the going rate? Happy to pay someone but...
Cheers in advance
G2C
2017 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Harder, Smarter. #ruthless
2018 - Could be a long year...
2019 - The Empire Strikes Back
2020 - No more BS, no more excuses, it's time.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #1
1. Is the drive making any noises, either the typical noises it makes or atypical, e.g the so called Click Of Death ? I assume it's a mechanical and not SSD drive.
2. If you have different cables or different computers, try those.
3. One thing that worked for me a few years back is dropping the drive onto carpet from about 10cm height, no more than that.

If you do get it working, get the information off and onto something else.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #2
If a different PC doesn't recognise it, you're in deep trouble.  Tried booting with the WD  connected?  Tried another USB port? 

If all that doesn't work, get a seagate or back up to a cloud.


Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #3
Depending on the volume of data, but yes a reputable data restoration service will charge in the vicinity on 1K.

What has worked for me in the past is putting the drive into a freezer for about 30 minutes. Then taking it out and connecting to your PC and downloading the files to another device. You get one chance, so make it count.

I know it sounds weird, but I can assure you it does work. Good luck...
Drugs are bad, mmmkay...

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #4
Let us know the model number and size of your External HD, it might help us offer more specific advice.

If the drive is mechanically or electrically failing, it might not be coincidental that you've have problems as the weather grows colder.

First things first, have a new spare HD on hand, because if you do something to actually get your old HD working it might not ever happen again, so you need to be ready to transfer off whatever you want straight away.

1/ Try gently warming the old drive up before you plug it in, just a little like sitting it on a warm(not hot) hot water bottle for a while. 40° ~ 50°C is more than hot enough, so do not boil the kettle!

2/ fwiw, the exact opposite. I've also heard of people having success with the reverse, placing the drive in a good quality sealed zip-lok bag with desiccant crystals and leaving it in the fridge for a while, you must use the crystals to keep it all dry inside the bag. Don't leave it in there too long, you do not want it to get so cold that it develops condensation when you bring it out.

Both the above techniques tend to affect the device power supply circuit more than the actual HD, when External HDs fail it's often the PSU part of the device and not the HD.

Another thing, plug it in and leave it on for an extended period, like overnight. If the problem is a failing PSU capacitor they can start working after they have warmed up. They'll stop working again when they cool so the bit in bold above applies. The voltage regulation becomes unstable and the device hangs. After sometime left on to warm up unplug wait 10s to 15s then reconnect.

Repeating these warming / cooling steps too much is a bad, you eventually cause the device to stop altogether.

Check the various connectors, you'd be surprised how frequently a USB device stops working because something is stuck in the connector socket, fluff, a bug, food crumbs, pet hair, or that one of the pins has become damaged. A small magnifier and good light source will help you inspect the pins.

Some devices are USB powered, others have mains sockets or external plug pack PSU. If it's the plug pack type PSU it's worth trying a replacement plug pack. These little plug packs go bad after a few years due to failing capacitors and the usual DC output becomes a square or sine wave.

If it's a mains powered device, the HD sits inside the box with a PSU, you can remove the drive and put it into a new external case to test the result, those cases start at about $30 at a company like Scorptec. There are different types so you need to know what you are replacing.
The Force Awakens!

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #5
Thanks guys, Ive tried most of those, havent tried
- warming it up
- leaving it plugged in overnight
Ill give those a bash
Cheers
2017 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Harder, Smarter. #ruthless
2018 - Could be a long year...
2019 - The Empire Strikes Back
2020 - No more BS, no more excuses, it's time.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #6
Hi GTC.

So, being in the industry there are a couple of questions I have.

1.  when was the last time you used this device succesfully?
If it was a while ago, then it may come good simply by unplugging and replugging it multiple times but Im guessing you tried this given you are asking here.

2.  After connecting your device, browse to disk management on your PC.  See if there is a drive letter attached to the external disk.  If there isn't one, you might be able to set one which could be the reason why you cannot "see it".

3.  Does any information about this device appear on the computer you have connected to?  Does the box asking what you want to do with it appear at all?

4.  Generally what do you have stored?  Is it important information?  If so, a DIY fix such as heating and cooling could prevent the drive from being accessible at all by disk recovery.  Keep in mind they often state a maximum they will charge, and then dont put guarantees on these services.  I have heard of them asking for a much more modest amount if they dont have to do too much work to extract the data, but they also provide no guarantees.

5.  Sometimes, using the external usb components on the inside of these shells, actually are the point of failure.  They will power the device, but not connect.  Is there an external power source to this device?  Can it be dissassembled?  If so, do you have scope to try a different USB cable to attach to the computer or an external caddy or even direct connect it to a computer as a slaved device?  If you have anyone that is somewhat IT savvy they might be able to help with this.

6.  Sometimes using a barebones operating system can help.  I dont know which version of windows you are running, or even if you use a different operating system, but occasionally you can get to the data using safe mode, or even a unix/linux operating system.  This will allow you to back it up, before viewing it and then deciding what else you want to do.

There is no magic bullet I am afraid.  ive had to write off hard disks before but I did use a mob in hawthorn or camberwell.  http://www.techneticsdata.com.au/

You can always ask them and they tell you they will inspect for free.  I know people who have used them before and have been happy.

When it all comes down to it, sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet. 

The only real lesson in this, is to keep no more than one months worth of data, in one place.  That way, even if you lose a disk, you will have that data elsewhere except for a very minute quantity that you might be dissapointed in losing, but it wont be diabolical.



"everything you know is wrong"

Paul Hewson

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #7
The first major problem in older style hardware is thermal cycling. Stuff heats up and cools on a regular basis, this causes fractures to develop in PCB tracks and solder pads. It's a bigger problem with fully enclosed type cases, but also some larger units can depend on small fans that can fail or become blocked with dust and debris.

The second major problem occurs with  devices that have a built in PSU, is that the PSU capacitors fail, either they swell and burst causing the dielectric to dry out, or they grow crystals internally and short out across the dielectric. Most Capacitors are only rated at a fixed lifetime, whether they are in full use or sitting idle.
The Force Awakens!

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #8
Hi GTC.

So, being in the industry there are a couple of questions I have.

1.  when was the last time you used this device succesfully?
If it was a while ago, then it may come good simply by unplugging and replugging it multiple times but Im guessing you tried this given you are asking here.

2.  After connecting your device, browse to disk management on your PC.  See if there is a drive letter attached to the external disk.  If there isn't one, you might be able to set one which could be the reason why you cannot "see it".

3.  Does any information about this device appear on the computer you have connected to?  Does the box asking what you want to do with it appear at all?

4.  Generally what do you have stored?  Is it important information?  If so, a DIY fix such as heating and cooling could prevent the drive from being accessible at all by disk recovery.  Keep in mind they often state a maximum they will charge, and then dont put guarantees on these services.  I have heard of them asking for a much more modest amount if they dont have to do too much work to extract the data, but they also provide no guarantees.

5.  Sometimes, using the external usb components on the inside of these shells, actually are the point of failure.  They will power the device, but not connect.  Is there an external power source to this device?  Can it be dissassembled?  If so, do you have scope to try a different USB cable to attach to the computer or an external caddy or even direct connect it to a computer as a slaved device?  If you have anyone that is somewhat IT savvy they might be able to help with this.

6.  Sometimes using a barebones operating system can help.  I dont know which version of windows you are running, or even if you use a different operating system, but occasionally you can get to the data using safe mode, or even a unix/linux operating system.  This will allow you to back it up, before viewing it and then deciding what else you want to do.

There is no magic bullet I am afraid.  ive had to write off hard disks before but I did use a mob in hawthorn or camberwell.  http://www.techneticsdata.com.au/

You can always ask them and they tell you they will inspect for free.  I know people who have used them before and have been happy.

When it all comes down to it, sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet. 

The only real lesson in this, is to keep no more than one months worth of data, in one place.  That way, even if you lose a disk, you will have that data elsewhere except for a very minute quantity that you might be dissapointed in losing, but it wont be diabolical.




Thanks for that, a lot to digest.
1. done numerous times, no good
2. When you plug it in, its not coming up in file explorer. The strange bit is, if I click on the eject safely button, something is there and I can click to eject it.
3. No
4. The information on it is not super critical, but I wouldnt mind retrieving it. I had this cowboy look at it and he rambled on about costing $550 to do half the job or $1200 to do the full recovery (or at least recover as much as possible). I didnt feel comfortable with this guy so I didnt pursue it. I also rang WD support and they gave me  a similar cost estimate.
5. No idea
6. I have windows 7, can try starting in safe mode and see if it reads then.
2017 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Harder, Smarter. #ruthless
2018 - Could be a long year...
2019 - The Empire Strikes Back
2020 - No more BS, no more excuses, it's time.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #9
Sata bridge failure.....replace the board.
80% of HD faults are this board.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #10
Thanks for that, a lot to digest.
1. done numerous times, no good
2. When you plug it in, its not coming up in file explorer. The strange bit is, if I click on the eject safely button, something is there and I can click to eject it.
3. No
4. The information on it is not super critical, but I wouldnt mind retrieving it. I had this cowboy look at it and he rambled on about costing $550 to do half the job or $1200 to do the full recovery (or at least recover as much as possible). I didnt feel comfortable with this guy so I didnt pursue it. I also rang WD support and they gave me  a similar cost estimate.
5. No idea
6. I have windows 7, can try starting in safe mode and see if it reads then.


Cool.

Given you can eject it, that means the computer is seeing the device.

https://www.easeus.com/resource/usb-not-showing-up-in-windows-10-8-7.html

Try some of these steps.

Im guessing you may not get far if the cowboy has looked at it, and is willing to charge you for a recovery.


It can't hurt to try this link, and also, the heating cooling thing.

Sorry i cant be of more help.


"everything you know is wrong"

Paul Hewson

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #11
Thank God it's not super critical GTC.  I sync 5 externals (using PCs with XP (I must use XP due to Outlook Express) and 7) as my stuff indeed is important.

But really warming to see how such a small community can unearth such a wealth of knowledge :)  Kudos

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #12
Is it an external hard drive that you has a shell you can crack open?
First thing you can do is try and move the HD to another external unit. It could be something as simple as a dodgy cable. I've had that problem before.

Everything else is pretty well covered.

Re: IT Question: External HD Recovery

Reply #13

Cool.

Given you can eject it, that means the computer is seeing the device.

https://www.easeus.com/resource/usb-not-showing-up-in-windows-10-8-7.html

Try some of these steps.

Im guessing you may not get far if the cowboy has looked at it, and is willing to charge you for a recovery.


It can't hurt to try this link, and also, the heating cooling thing.

Sorry i cant be of more help.



Thanks mate, I actually downloaded (and paid for) the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional. It doesnt see the disc, I might need to try the steps in the link
2017 - Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Harder, Smarter. #ruthless
2018 - Could be a long year...
2019 - The Empire Strikes Back
2020 - No more BS, no more excuses, it's time.