Kaput External Harddrives

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What is the best way to deal with kaput external harddrives? Can they get repaired? I've had more than one go kaput recently. I want to take the data they have and store it elsewhere.
  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    They DO make special adapters that can read them if the HBA or the interface circuitry, or the powersupply goes bad. They are generally regular laptop drives, or even desktop ones. OTHERWISE, your options are limited.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    What exactly are you experiencing? Clicking, slow rpm's nothing at all, intermittent connections? There are a number of things you can do unless the platters/board is physically damaged.
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    • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
      Originally Posted by Kingfish85 View Post

      What exactly are you experiencing? Clicking, slow rpm's nothing at all, intermittent connections? There are a number of things you can do unless the platters/board is physically damaged.
      All of the above for one of them. The other one had weird connectivity not showing all of the data, then just went kaput without turning on at all any more.

      I imagine I may be several hundred dollars for data recovery services.
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post

        All of the above for one of them. The other one had weird connectivity not showing all of the data, then just went kaput without turning on at all any more.

        I imagine I may be several hundred dollars for data recovery services.
        COMP USAsells interfaces like what I was talking about! Open the drive, find the base interface on the drive(SATA, IDE, SCSI, etc...), and they may have an adapter. Outside of MAYBE, the one that is clicking, they ALL might be usable for a one time fee of $60 or LESS! There are only like 6 things that can cause a drive to stop like you mentioned. At least THREE are related to POWER! Power supplies, and interfaces, HAVE been known to fail and, if they do, the part you are REALLY interested in is likely to be FINE!

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    Ok, how valuable is the data on these drives?

    1st, use these methods at your own risk as I cannot assume any responsibility if they do not work or cause further damage.

    For the ones that stop spinning, wrap a drive in a paper towel, put in a zip lock bag & put it in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. If they are getting too hot too fast, this will allow you to have a bit more time to copy what you can off of it.

    If the drives spin up, but you can read anything, I use a program called R-Studio which is extremely good for recovering data.

    Don't try to take them apart or swap any spindles out. There's a few places that have "clean rooms" that can removed the spindles, but it's extremely expensive.

    Also, if these are your standard home pc IDE/SATA drives, try the above steps. If they are enterprise grade 10K, 15K SATA's or SAS drives, I'd suggest consulting with a data recovery company.

    Then, come up with a plan to backup you data, and then a plan to backup those backups.

    EDIT: For anyone wondering, this should only be tried with soho (small office/home office) hardware.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    BEFORE trying kingfishes method, please consider mine. Besides, if the drive is SLIGHTLY bad, or you have a COLD freezer(both likely), and the problem IS power or interface related, his method could damage the ability to do it on the cheap. If you are careful, the method I gave will likely leave you a chance to try his, if mine fails. HE is assuming the problem is a head crash, or a similar problem.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      BEFORE trying kingfishes method, please consider mine. Besides, if the drive is SLIGHTLY bad, or you have a COLD freezer(both likely), and the problem IS power or interface related, his method could damage the ability to do it on the cheap. If you are careful, the method I gave will likely leave you a chance to try his, if mine fails. HE is assuming the problem is a head crash, or a similar problem.

      Steve
      Certainly, this should have been the first step I mentioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    I use this program,but as mentioned by others,it depends on whats wrong with the drive.

    GRC*|*Hard drive data recovery software**
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  • Profile picture of the author glacey
    Had the same thing happen to me a couple of years ago, so now i back up all my important data on the 'C' drive and two external drives. While this may seem overkill having the same information stored on 3 drives as someone said "its not a matter of if a hard drive will fail its just when".
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by glacey View Post

      Had the same thing happen to me a couple of years ago, so now i back up all my important data on the 'C' drive and two external drives. While this may seem overkill having the same information stored on 3 drives as someone said "its not a matter of if a hard drive will fail its just when".
      Based on the AVERAGE MTBF when I last really looked at that, drives are only expected to last about 5.7 years assuming they are in a stable desktop. MOST externals, MOST laptops, etc... are LESS!

      I looked up CURRENT data, but found one document that is from 5 years ago that claims the MTBF CLAIMS things are FAR better then I remember, but tests indicate that OLDER claims are STILL the norm, even with expensive drives claiming too do far better:

      Study: Hard Drive MTBF Ratings Highly Exaggerated - Neowin

      Here is a study from a year ago that claims the same: Hard drive MTBF (mean time between failures) | Cincinnati computer repair | PC Laptop Mac Server 513-661-4333

      BTW drives do NOT defy the laws of physics! The WORST time, and most susceptible, is when it spins up, especially when things are cold. The extreme change in temperature, wear, pressure, current draw, take their toll. So don't think that turning it off and on all the time is going to save you THAT much! It's a lot like a light bulb. A lightbulb may be rated a certain number of hours, but turning it off and on every day won't necessarily mean that it lasts any longer. How often have you heard a lightbulb chime, go on and off, soon after turning it on? It isn't a coincidence.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author AgentHomes
    You should really be backing your data up to the cloud as well. With all of the free storage available between Dropbox, Google, & Microsoft you should be able to get enough space to backup all of your important data.

    External drives are nice but they don't do you any good if your home burns to the ground.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by AgentHomes View Post

      You should really be backing your data up to the cloud as well. With all of the free storage available between Dropbox, Google, & Microsoft you should be able to get enough space to backup all of your important data.

      External drives are nice but they don't do you any good if your home burns to the ground.
      And DON'T FORGET! You can publish it on papers and say "SAVE THIS as I may need it later! $100K reward to the first person responding to my request!"!

      HEY, they might publish it in a book, or put it on TV, so you will NEVER lose it!

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
        Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

        And DON'T FORGET! You can publish it on papers and say "SAVE THIS as I may need it later! $100K reward to the first person responding to my request!"!

        HEY, they might publish it in a book, or put it on TV, so you will NEVER lose it!

        Steve
        Funnily enough, one of the things in the totally kaput external harddrive is scripts for a TV series that didn't get the greenlight.
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