External hard drive dropped

By ilse.bouwer ·

I dropped my Lacie external hard drive. It was playing music while it fell about 20cm onto a tiled floor (not very hard actually).

I attached it to my laptop.

Green light comes on. It starts turning with a clicking sound (as if it is trying to read it). But if I shake it, nothing sounds loose inside.

It doesn't appear in "My computer" or open automatically. But it does show up in my "Device manager" as a USB mass storage device and says "The device is working properly". I can even "Safely remove" it from the icon at the bottom of the screen.

Do you think the data can be restored?


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All Answers

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"It starts turning with a clicking sound".....

by Peconet Tietokoneet In reply to External hard drive dropp ...

This means that the platters (metal disks that hold data) are damaged due to the drop. This was caused by the small arm in the disk, that was in use at the time, to smash onto the metal platters. The clicking sound that you hear is the evidence of the damage caused by dropping the drive in question. I hope you have another back up, because you will have difficulty in trying to recover data from this drive. Time for a new one. :)

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Any powered hard drive should never be moved ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to External hard drive dropp ...

Not even by gently picking it up and relocating it somewhere else on a desk. When you consider that the platters are rotating at a minimum of 5,400 rpm, you can imagine the damage you can do just by moving the unit.

Add a drop of EIGHT INCHES into the mix and you have a state of devastation inside the case.

Back in the old days, no-one would have ever considered moving a turntable unit while a vinyl album was being played, for fear of damaging the stylus. Yet folk seem to have no regard for hard drives which spin at least 5,367 rpm FASTER.

Maybe it's the HARD in the name that makes them think they're indestructable.


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Accidents do happen unfortunately

by ilse.bouwer In reply to Any powered hard drive sh ...

Thanks for the response. But the "drop" was truly an accident.

I wasn't moving it around. I was transfering my music and photos to my hard drive, with it lying still next to me, when my hand accidently hooked the usb cable which in turn caused the hard drive to follow the direction of the tug.

I do understand how fragile they are.

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See if this will help

by Jacky Howe In reply to External hard drive dropp ...

if it does remove the data from the drive. You could also try putting the drive in a freezer bag and leave it in the frezzer overnight and then plug it in and see if you can remove the data.

Try rebooting the computer without any USB devices attached. Then plug in the USB drive, right click on My Computer, select manage, and then click ?Disk Management.? If the drive is not present in the Disk Management window or if you are not able to access it, then the drive may have failed. In this window you should see all of your connected physical drives, their format, if they are healthy, and the drive letter.

Change the drive letter of the drive. Right-click on the drive in the list, and from the resulting menu select "Change Drive Letters and Paths"

Click on Change so you can change the drive letter. Click Change. Select a new drive letter from the drop down list, preferably the one that is not normally used for this drive.

Click Yes on the confirmation screen and you are done.

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RE: Device manager" as a USB mass storage device

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to External hard drive dropp ...

This is the HDD enclosures Interface Circuit Board not the Actual HDD that is showing up here.

If you are extremely lucky all that will have happened is that the actual HDD unplugged from that Circuit Board but to be perfectly honest it's far more likely that the Read Write Heads came into contact with the Platters scrapped the Magnetic Material off the platters and in the process damaged the heads which continued to scrape more material off the platters while the drive was running.

The reason there are no rattles from the drive when you shake it is because there are no loose parts inside it which I wouldn't expect there to be but once the Read Write heads or the Platters get damaged there is virtually no chance of recovering much off the HDD at all and No chance if you continue to run it.

What needs to be done here is the HDD dismantled in a Class 1 Clean Room and the Platters read directly but this is expensive and for a few tunes most end users will not consider the possibility of a Recovery by a very specialized Data Recovery House as acceptable.


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Data recovery service

by ilse.bouwer In reply to RE: [i]Device manager" as ...

Thanks for all the advice.

I think the best and safest is a data recovery service. The data on the hard drive is far to valuable for me to try and fix it myself.

The cost to recover the data is a small price to pay to recover all that is on it.

How successful are they usually in situations like mine if they are a legitimate organisation?


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I've dropped my lacie like 4 or 5 times now

by Slayer_ In reply to Data recovery service

So I guess I'm lucky, its still working perfect :), wasn't big drops tho, and it was off each time, so that probably helped.

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Well in my case

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Data recovery service

I can only speak from personal experience the company that I use has been able to recover 100% of the Data off drives that I give to them but I haven't given then a dropped Running drive ever.

Here it all depends on where any Physical Damage has occurred and how much the drive has been used. If the Read Write Heads have been dragging all over the Drive Platters I wouldn't hold out much chance of a successful recovery. But if it's just been used to see if it works there may be a chance of a successful recovery. It all depends on the company that you take the drive to and what they are setup to perform.

The place that I use can work with the bare platters and they do an excellent job though it's certainly not cheap but in every case the cost of the recovery has more than paid for itself. They managed to recover data off one of the HDD's in Colombia when it broke up on reentry after the drive was found buried in a swamp they stripped it out dumped the burnt bits and worked with the platters to recover all of the data on that drive. I hate to think just how much time was spent on that job and they where handed 3 drives from that space craft 2 of which where completely destroyed and the one that they recovered all of the Data on it from so it's a bit of a Crap Shoot I'm afraid.

If the Magnetic Material on the Platers is Intact they have a good chance of recovering the Data but if it's severely damaged they would have no chance of getting anything at all off the Platters.

None the less they will look at the drive and give a quote and tell you if they can do anything at all. Though they do charge for the Quote and if you proceed with the recovery the cost of the quote comes off the finial price. I use On Track as they are close do excellent work in a hurry if required and are very reliable but there are many other companies who can do this type of work.


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