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xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Hard Drive not starting up, solutions?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) July 1st, 2010

My external hard drive isn’t spinning, it makes a really really light clicking noise with a little bit of charging noise like a high powered strobe light (also not too audible).

I know about places that can open up my drive and recover the data, but I really don’t want to pay 800 bones to get some non-vital data recovered.

Part 3—My Question: What are some solutions for a last time start up? I’ve got nothing to lose. Anything at all, I’ll try it, because I’m not sending it in to that repair place.

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13 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Sounds like it’s fried. When mine went the first thing I got was the audible clicking noise you’re talking about, and then it just went.

What OS are were you running on it? That would help if you want to try and save it now.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

It’s a Western Digital, my computer is a Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8

DeanV's avatar

Can you boot from your CD that came with your computer and then open Disk Utility and see what it says, or if your drive even registers?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

I don’t think I have my Leopard disk with me, but I do know that it doesn’t even register when I plug it in. I can’t access it and it doesn’t show up on the list in Terminal.

DeanV's avatar

Ohhh… External. For some reason I had assumed it was internal and you couldn’t even boot into your OS.

If I were you, I’d take it to a computer store or Apple store just to see what they can do with it. I’d guess it’s shot and you may want to just buy a new one, but without the thing in front of me I really can’t be sure. Is it USB bus powered?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

No, it’s like 5 years old and big, it’s got an AC adapter. They told me to plug it straight into the wall and whatnot but still no luck.

I already got a new external, and I’m ready to move files if I can get my old one going one last time. So now I’m scrounging around looking for any possible solution, yet no luck.

I could try to make a recording for you if you want. That way you can hear the noises it’s making, what do you think?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

If you have nothing to lose, you could try this from Popular Mechanics.

EDIT: Just read it a little more closely, not applicable? but interesting, nonetheless.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Western Digitals fail like this all the time. This happened to me last year. It’s dead. I’m sorry.

Response moderated (Spam)
ApolloX64's avatar

First Maxtor is bought up by Seagate right after Seagate started churning out drives made of swiss cheese, lost over a dozen of those over the past ten years, and now Western Digital is hacking up a lung with every other drive lost two 500GB drives in two weeks just a few months ago, soooo much anger. Our last bastion of solid drive manufacturing now lies with Hitachi.

SmashTheState's avatar

The click of death is a sign there’s probably mechanical damage. If you’re not prepared to shell out the money for data recovery and you’re going to toss the drive anyway, there’s a couple of things you can try. The techniques rely on freeing stuck moving parts, which is the cause iof the majority of dead drives, but they are not without risk and may damage the drive beyond recovery, so don’t try this if there is ANY possibility you may some day want to pay to have the data recovered by professionals.

The first technique is simply to freeze the drive. Stick it in your freezer for an hour or so until it’s literally ice-cold. Then plug it in and see if it’ll start. If it doesn’t, let the drive warm up to room temperature, and heat it with a hair dryer until it’s hot to the touch. Then plug it in and see if it’ll start. By doing this, you’re causing the metal parts to contract and expand, which may be enough to temporarily free a jammed drive head or spindle.

The second technique is, believe it or not, simply hitting it. Hard. Either give it a sharp bash with a hammer, or drop it on the floor. Again, this may cause a jammed drive head or spindle to temporarily free itself.

If you manage to get the drive working using either of these techniques, copy as much of your data as possible, as quickly as possible. These techniques, even if they work, will not work for long. In a best case scenario you may be able to keep the drive functional for long enough to get all your data off, but chances are the next time you try to boot the drive it will be permanently dead.

davidgro's avatar

@SmashTheState Has a great answer, just remember if you do the freezing thing to put it in a ziplock or something as much as you can both when it’s in and and when trying it afterward (to avoid condensation, or in this case frost)

BluRhino's avatar

I have had occasional luck with putting the drive (the drive only!) in the freezer for about 20–30 mins. Put in in a zip lock to keep frost off. Good luck!

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