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External HD failure. Data recovery?

By tofuness ·
I have a 4 month old, 250 GB external USB hard drive that suddenly started clicking. It was totally fine before. I can still access the drive, but it's very slow and several directories are missing or empty. A disc reading error message pops up if I try to copy anything off the drive onto my internal HD.

Is there any way I can salvage the data I want (around 80 GB) without sending it to a professional? Would freezing it work? Someone told me to mirror or make an image of the drive, but how would I do this (total newbie here). I don't know where I would save the image ... should I buy a DVD burner?

Please help!

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by BFilmFan In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

Even with a data recovery professional there is no guarantee that data stored on a hard disk can be recovered.

Freezing it won't work and would probably screw up the drive worse from condensation freezing inside the unit.

If the data is critical, your only choice is to send it to a data professional and hope for the best.

You should note that even DVD's sometimes "go bad" from use.

Best of luck with that.

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by jeasterlingtech In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

I disagree with answer #1.
first try a file recovery program if that doesent help
Unplug the drive. disassemble the drive and do the "freeze trick" (be sure you know EXACTLY the process) make sure you use a sealed bag and if at all possible moisture absorbing packs in the bag and plug the drive directly into the computer's interface (ata or sata depending on the drive) if the freeze trick works count yourself blessed. Otherwise a data recovery pro is expensive but if the data is worth it, good luck. An image is a direct copy of the drive. Several programs can backup your drives to DVDs or other media. I like Nortons ghost but there are others. good DVDs kept properly will last longer then you will LOL

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by jeffmckeehan In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

I'd try using SpinRite, which is a product of Gibson Research:

It saved my butt more than once, with both internal and external drives. It's $89, but worth it. And he guarantees his products.

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by a_liss In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

I don't think the freeze trick will work In your case its normally a last resort for a drive that will not spin up. It sounds like you have a different problem you could try using a drive repare program like spin write that looks at every sector and trys to move any data to a good section. But even if that worked you would want to move the data off that drive as soon as you can. I would allso try takeing the drive out of the external case and puting it in your pc on the Ide cable as the case interface could be bad.

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by davidalpha In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

Remove the drive from the case fit to your PC on IDE as slave drive. Install a data recovery program. I use Easy Recovery Pro. Run the program to recover the data from the poor drive using part of your system drive as recovery storage. Depending on the ammount of data to recover this could take a long time even up to days. I have used this method several times, even on drives that click, with total success. Good luck, hope it works for you.

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by wlbowers In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

It's not a Maxtor is it.

First off The freeze trick will only work if the bearings are starting to seize. The cold will reduce the bearing to race spacing and sometimes allow the drive to spin up to speed.

Now every time you access the drive you are risking corruption of the data.

If you want to try it yourself, remove the drive from the enclosure and install it as a slave on a desktop.

You must have room to put the recovered data. A new 80 gig drive preferably.

Use reputable software. These guys are my favorite.

Data recovery specialist can work wonders. They remove the platters from the drive and put them on an extractor.

The extractor will read a track constantly while it rebuilds the data from the faint images that it gets.

You will usually receive a repaired drive with the recovered data on it.

Good Luck Lee

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by wlbowers In reply to

Maxtor had a bad run lately. I stay with IBM, Western Digital, and Seagate.


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by tofuness In reply to External HD failure. Data ...

Thanks for all the advice. I wasn't able to take the drive apart so I decided to send it in for repairs. It is a Maxtor, actually. Are they notorious for breaking?

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