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how do i recover a dead external hdd?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I had this firelite 120gb external HDD for 4 years before it died today.



i have tons of pics i took and lots of data from years ago that is precious to me. This external got a switch that enables usb mode or external mode,with usb mode requiring only a usb line,while external mode requiring usb line and a 12v power cord.

i am currently trying the freezer bag+freeze method.the HDD powers up and spins when i connect it to pc thru usb mode,but device manager doesnt see it,and i've been getting tons of device has malfunctioned message on the notifications but chalked it upto my friend's dead hdd i tried to recover.

now my external hdd is dead,as it doesnt light up,although it powers up and hums,and it's not being detected in devices.

There is too much valuable moments that i will never live again stored on that data,but ive no money to pay $2000 for services.anyone with DIY suggestions that was successful with experiences like mine,please help me.
post #2 of 13
Have you tried directly connected to the pc? Dose it power up that way? If so, download a copy of Ubantu live cd and burn it to disc and boot with that and access the hdd in question and recover what you can.
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post #3 of 13
This is why we have data redundancy.

First I would suggest taking it out of the external enclosure and directly connecting it to your computer.
    
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post #4 of 13
If you are having no luck connecting the drive via USB, you can open the enclosure and plug the bare drive into your system. This will eliminate the USB connection or electronics in the enclosure as the source of the problem.

For file recovery utilities, I'd recommend Recuva. Keep in mind that these types of utilities will only work if the drive itself works.

Dead drive = lost data (unless you are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a data recovery lab to open up the drive and do their thing).
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post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ace123 View Post
I had this firelite 120gb external HDD for 4 years before it died today.

Amazon.com: 120GB Firelite Xpress USB 2.0 2.5IN 2.5IN Portable HDD Ext: Electronics


i have tons of pics i took and lots of data from years ago that is precious to me. This external got a switch that enables usb mode or external mode,with usb mode requiring only a usb line,while external mode requiring usb line and a 12v power cord.

i am currently trying the freezer bag+freeze method.the HDD powers up and spins when i connect it to pc thru usb mode,but device manager doesnt see it,and i've been getting tons of device has malfunctioned message on the notifications but chalked it upto my friend's dead hdd i tried to recover.

now my external hdd is dead,as it doesnt light up,although it powers up and hums,and it's not being detected in devices.

There is too much valuable moments that i will never live again stored on that data,but ive no money to pay $2000 for services.anyone with DIY suggestions that was successful with experiences like mine,please help me.
3 customer reviews on Amazon (2) bad- Date first available at Amazon.com: July 7, 2004

First of all.... have a place to off-load that DATA to before messing with drive..


Suggestions (all may not apply)

If you haven't done so already:

Remove hd from enclosure -connect direct- no usb cables, etc
Use "powered" option +12v
Try another computer- your ports may be fried if you have not been using the powered +12v option.
(PS: check the specs of how much power the drive uses- then figure in age)
Try another cable

Quote:
i've been getting tons of device has malfunctioned message on the notifications but chalked it upto my friend's dead hdd i tried to recover.
120gb hard drive and you haven't backed up that data?

So you've been getting tons of error messages, and you have DATA you can't afford to lose on the drive????
(If you do lose the data- you need to talk to that guy in the mirror about that. I know money doesn't grow on trees - but any data that is irreplaceable should be backed up! You can get a 1TB external for $50 shipped.)

PS: Are you saying you installed another hd into enclosure - and now enclosure is dead?

Hooking up to desktop, or laptop?... Going thru powered, or passive hub?

Have you tried a direct connection? (EG: Remove drive from enclosure)


Other thoughts:

Enclosure might have a "bad" solder- Electronics during use heat up and expand- the cool and contract... Over time joints, especially those that are "bigger" than smaller solder points develop cracks.

Another thought is OS is corrupt- use another computer as I previously suggested, or use a linux distro (Ubantu live cd) to see if you can access the drive.


PS: POST BACK WHAT YOU END UP DOING TO RECOVER THE DATA in detail.
(Translation post back detailed info that you would like to find if you were doing a search)
Edited by WeAreNotAlone - 12/31/10 at 11:13am
post #6 of 13
buy another of the same hard drive take the platter out of the old one and put it in the new one be very carful hen you do this do not touch the platter except by its sides. I did this before lol
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for the replies everyone. i took "Somenamehere's" advice and it worked. i'm now transferring the files over to my main internal hdd and will buy another external hdd. i hope this forum lasts a very long time as the users here are very helpful and the advice and help given is always useful.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by th3m3rc View Post
buy another of the same hard drive take the platter out of the old one and put it in the new one be very carful hen you do this do not touch the platter except by its sides. I did this before lol

While that is certainly a option....

1: Good luck finding the same type/model drive for a unit 3-4 years old.
2: You need a clean-room to R&R the platters.

.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ace123 View Post
thanks for the replies everyone. i took "Somenamehere's" advice and it worked. i'm now transferring the files over to my main internal hdd and will buy another external hdd. i hope this forum lasts a very long time as the users here are very helpful and the advice and help given is always useful.
You lucked out, glad to hear it.

FYI: First option on a external device is to remove hard drive from enclosure and directly connection to target PC.... Do not put hard drives in the freezer as your first option. Do not try to swap platters unless you are setup to do so...
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ace123 View Post
i am currently trying the freezer bag+freeze method....
First of all, why would you ever do this?
Whoever thought of this method is a doody brains, It doesn't do anything.
Go ahead and take your sad hard drive out of the freezer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Somenamehere View Post
First I would suggest taking it out of the external enclosure and directly connecting it to your computer.

Second of all, this.
Take it apart and get to the bare drive.
Your problem could just be a bad controller.. the drive itself might just be okay if it spins up when you plug it in.

Lastly, if you still got no luck, then a dead drive is a dead drive, you could certainly go looking for another one like it and replacing platters and such, but it all depends on how valuable that data is to you.
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