General Question

arcoarena's avatar

Does anyone know how to fix a broken external hard drive?

Asked by arcoarena (692points) September 16th, 2008

I have a 500gb western digital essential edition and a 750gb wd essential edition and neither one of them are being recognized by either my mac or pc.

The one hard drive took about a 1 foot drop and the other one stopped working when I accidentally unplugged in without ejecting it first.

I called wd but they were really no help. The warranty of the 750gb hard drive has expired and I can’t find the receipt for 500gb one.

Any suggestions? I have so much info on both of these hard drives and I would be very upset if they were just worthless now and all the files on them were lost forever…

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9 Answers

syz's avatar

(Do not attempt while using psychedelic mushrooms.)

iwamoto's avatar

you dropped it ? yeah, that’ll be the cause of the defect, as for the other one, can’t you simply claim waranty through serialnumber ? should be fairly simple

Bri_L's avatar

Well, a couple of last chance things you can do.

- Disk warrior is a good program for working with hardware issues.

- remove them from the cases they are in and place them in a different case. Sometimes that change can make a difference. there are reasons that were explained to me by and electrical engineer and they were all WAY over my head

- another last resort I have used 3 times and had luck with 2 of the 3, was put one in the fridge so it gets cold. Then take it out. let it sit for a while so there no moisture. This will cause expansion and contraction inside which may fix something that is jammed.

- a super duper last I am throwing it out not paying someone to extract the info for me option is shake the hell out of it.

Hope this helps and good luck

iwamoto's avatar

when you put it in the fridge, just wrap it in a plastic bag, leaving it unprotected is asking for trouble….

Bri_L's avatar

Good idea iwamoto. that was not mentioned to me in the tip so I didn’t do it. but that makes total sense and gets the job done safely!

arcoarena's avatar

Thanks! i’ll try that stuff out. Losing the hard drive sucks but losing the info on them is much more frustrating. I’ll let you know if I end up going the frig route if that works for me.

Sounds interesting and if all else fails it’s worth a shot! :)

smallduck's avatar

sorry to say, but you should ignore most of the above advice. sure diskwarrior for the prematurely-ejected drive, but for the other, buy or pirate the pc app called spinrite. it includes an ISO to burn to cd-r.. do that, plug drive into pc & boot from the cd and let it crank away in repair mode (level something I don’t remember what it’s called, you’ll figure it out).

all the other utilities mostly repair or rebuild directory structures, spinrite ignores directory structures and repairs low level sectors, getting the drive to remap them if the part of the disk they’re located ok is flakey. this is often what you need when physical damage has occurred.

(ignore this last line I couldn’t manage to delete on my iPhone:)
rebuild directory structures

chaosrob's avatar

DiskWarrior is nice. SpinRite works sometimes, too, as long as there is only limited physical damage to the mechanism. If the drive is just mechanically failing, there won’t be much you can do outside a clean room environment. I’d say the unplugged one you should be able to fix, but the dropped one might be a problem.

Also, have you tried the Disk Utility that came with your Mac? Look in Applications/Utilities.

JoeNY's avatar

I have a question. I have an old maxtor external hard drive usb. It wasn’t working so I replaced the hard drive. To my dismay the second hard drive started clicking. Now I have a mybook hard drive that I would like to replace the hard drive on too. But what I am worried about here is that the controller hardware is messing up the hard drives. So the older maxtor hard drive enclosure I am going to throw out and lick my wounds in loosing the $90 160gb hd that I just purchased. And yes I could return it and say it didn’t work but I lost my reciept. But I don’t know if the controller hardware is what messed up my hard drive on my external mybook. So I don’t know if I should purchase a new hd for that. I don’t want to ruin another hd. Is there any way to tell if it’s the controller doing the damage or something else?

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