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usb external hard drive problem

By sweetgirl ·
I accidentally dropped my external HD. It was about a 3 ft drop to carpet. The HD is a Buffalo. Now it is making a weird sound/music when I start it up. My computer will not recognize it. The access light stays at red and will not go to green. After a few minutes of music (trying to start up?), it just goes to idle.

Does this mean I broke it? Is there any way to fix it? Can the data inside be recovered? HELP!

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to usb external hard drive p ...

Yes the Data can be recovered but it may prove expensive. The first thing that you have to do is dismantle the Caddy and make sure that everything is plugged in correctly as with a drop it is possible for the Drive to become disconnected.

If a Plug is disconnected just plug it back on and with the caddy open plug it into a USB Port and see if it works now. While you have the cover off it you would also look for any signs of Visual Damage like a broken PCB {Printed Circuit Board} and thing like that.

If there is anything broken depending on what it is you have a few options. The first is to buy another USB Caddy and place the drive into it. Buy another setup exactly the same dismantle it and take the Circuit Board off the bottom of the HDD and change it over for the one that is broken and then plug it back in and recover your Data. These are all the cheap options and the last and the most expensive is to send it to a Specialist Data Recovery Company to recover your Data.

If you do the last one you are looking at several K to recover your data but if the drive is running you can buy a Data Recovery Product like On Track's Data Recovery Program you can find it at


This while not cheap is a very good program and fairly fast but there is another option XWays has a similar type product called Davory for about 40 Euros and that has a trial version down loadable from


The trial version will only recover the first 200 KB of any file but it will show what is recoverable on the drive and for the relatively small price it is good value for money but a lot more time consuming to use.

If you have to use a Data Recovery Program alway remember never to actually write to the drive you are working with as this could overwrite Data that you want to recover save the recovered Data to the computers HDD in a folder you have created.


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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Generally speaking if you can get a computer to recognize a HDD even if it shows it as unformatted you can recover the data. If you can not get the computer to even see a HDD it is a job for a Data Recovery Company and you have to weigh up if it is worth the cost.

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by Roger In reply to usb external hard drive p ...

If you need access to the data, and the drive inside the portable equipment uses an ata interface (like a standard PC hard drive) you might be able to plug the drive into your desktop system to recover data. If it is a smaller drive (like a laptop drive) you might need to purchase an adapter for the drive. I purchased one for 10.00 US about 5 years ago to recover data from a laptop that had been dropped.

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by techmail In reply to usb external hard drive p ...

If the less expensive solutions don't work for you, be prepared for sticker shock.
We had Ontrack recover data from a laptop drive about a month ago and the cost was almost $2,000.

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by MasterGeek In reply to usb external hard drive p ...

1. Of Course you broke it. A dropped hard drive is junk. If you can get it to run long enough to get the data off, Great! Even if it seems to be working it's not reliable, get your data transferred to another drive as fast as you can.

2. If the drive doesn't run, anything you do to try to get data off it will likely make it impossible for a professional to help you. DIY software often formats the drive as it searches for data. Installing the drive on a desktop computer will write data to the drive (if the bios sees it at all) and that change could make getting yur data off more difficult at the very least. This is one of those times that even the best technicians should pass on doing the repair themselves.

3. There are several GOOD data recovery firms that specialize in getting data off broken drives. None of them are cheap but if you have important data on the drive there is NO other reliable way to go. I use Action Front (ActionFront.com) and highly recommend their Data Emergency Guide regardless of what you decide. Many of the firms will evaluate your drive at no upfront costs other than postage.

4. If the data isn't all that important, but you'd like to give it a shot anyway. put the drive into your desktop machine and use one of the DIY software solutions. Most of them have a trial version that is downloadable and will let you know if it can find anything to recover. I recommend R-Studio www.r-tt.com the downloadable demo is free and the full version is >$80 for personal use on one computer.

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by JohannCox In reply to usb external hard drive p ...

Yes, dropping any mechanical device and it then begins to give weird noises is a bad sign.

If you have ?ber important information, use as local a professional recovery service as possible. The price ranges usually from $300-$5000 dollars (depending on drive size, amount of data on the drive, and how long it takes to recover and inspect the data).

If there is no desire for such severe costs, find a windows 2000 machine (closest to Windows 98, yet it can still read NTFS) and use an up to date recovery package. REMEMBER, the drive you want to recover should be set to SLAVE and NEVER be booted to.

If a slight jiggle of the drive itself produces tinkling noises, either prepare to toss it or make that trip to the recovery lab specialist.

I hope it works out for you.


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