Cataclysmic External Hard Drive Fail

podge100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2018
4
0
Stockholm
my seagate expansion external hard drive is formally kaputt. It doesn't show up on my desktop or in disk utility. I am not sure what has happened. I can't do any first aid on it because it is not there. I have switched usb ports and tried on another laptop. Squat. Can anyone help with what happens next? I collect films and have hundreds of avi files on there. :(
 

rbrian

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2011
784
342
Aberdeen, Scotland
Next, you learn about the importance of backups, and explore various options. You'll discover that hard drives don't last forever, they're fragile, and sometimes they just die.

Whilst it may be possible to recover data from a dead drive by taking it to a specialist recovery firm, it's unlikely to be worth the high cost.

Where did you get your film collection from? Replace the drive, and then replace the films.
 

podge100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2018
4
0
Stockholm
thanks for the response rbrian. Yeah, it was an unfortunate series of events. The hard drive was itself a back up of one that was stolen.
 

rbrian

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2011
784
342
Aberdeen, Scotland
thanks for the response rbrian. Yeah, it was an unfortunate series of events. The hard drive was itself a back up of one that was stolen.
Well that just adds insult to injury! I know you're looking to get your data back, but I don't have good news, just strategies that rely on hindsight.
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
6,894
1,137
Baltimore, Maryland
As of now you don't know whether the drive has failed or if it's the electronics in the housing that have gone kaput. You'll have to connect the drive itself to your computer in a new way to verify that the drive has died.
 

podge100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2018
4
0
Stockholm
As of now you don't know whether the drive has failed or if it's the electronics in the housing that have gone kaput. You'll have to connect the drive itself to your computer in a new way to verify that the drive has died.
thanks for this response! Can you explain the specifics of 'in a new way'?
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
6,894
1,137
Baltimore, Maryland
Looks like that's got a 3.5" drive in it. Very most likely a SATA drive. You'll have to get it out of the current housing. I've had housings that I had to break apart as there were no screws. Careful!

Then, you'll need a new 3.5" housing or dock. 3.5" drives need separate power so a SATA to USB cable that would provide power to a 2.5" drive won't be good enough. You should probably make sure it's at least a USB 3.0 housing or dock…if the drive is still good you can just carry on with it.
 
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podge100

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2018
4
0
Stockholm
Looks like that's got a 3.5" drive in it. Very most likely a SATA drive. You'll have to get it out of the current housing. I've had housings that I had to break apart as there were no screws. Careful!

Then, you'll need a new 3.5" housing or dock. 3.5" drives need separate power so a SATA to USB cable that would provide power to a 2.5" drive won't be good enough. You should probably make sure it's at least a USB 3.0 housing or dock…if the drive is still good you can just carry on with it.
MANY THANKS FOR THIS! It sounds way out of my capabilities. But it is good to know it can possibly be fixed. Thanks
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,778
5,159
vertical
Try a different cable first. If the cable is bad, then connecting the drive + cable combination to another computer still has a bad cable.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,694
989
Oregon, USA
my seagate expansion external hard drive is formally kaputt. It doesn't show up on my desktop or in disk utility. I am not sure what has happened. I can't do any first aid on it because it is not there. I have switched usb ports and tried on another laptop. Squat. Can anyone help with what happens next? I collect films and have hundreds of avi files on there. :(
One other thing to try is another USB cable.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,402
6,708
Sometimes, drives just die.
Without a backup, you're pretty much out of luck.

Does the drive "spin up"? (can you hear the platters spinning inside)
Does the drive use an external "power block"?
If so, could it be the power block that has failed?

Be aware that some Seagate drives may not have a standard SATA connector inside -- that is, the drive may be connected to the controller with a proprietary connector. What this means is that you can't easily take the physical drive out of the enclosure and then connect it using a USB/SATA dock, etc.
 
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sxl1681

macrumors newbie
Jan 18, 2019
11
4
my seagate expansion external hard drive is formally kaputt. It doesn't show up on my desktop or in disk utility. I am not sure what has happened. I can't do any first aid on it because it is not there. I have switched usb ports and tried on another laptop. Squat. Can anyone help with what happens next? I collect films and have hundreds of avi files on there. :(
I have several of these drives, 5 and 8 TB models. They all have standard SATA drives in them, Barracuda, Compute, or Archive models. I would say that there are 2 scenarios in play. One is easy to fix and retrieve your data and the other is that the disk is dead. I'm assuming you tried a different USB cable first.

1. The power supply or SATA to USB bridge electronics died. If this is the case, your data and drive are likely perfectly fine. You just need to extract the drive from the case and load it into a different external case or use something like a Voyager USB drive dock to see if it works. The cheap electronic boards in these power supplies/cases dying is not unusual. Search Google with "Seagate expansion drive shuck" and you should see a few YouTube videos on how to open the case up and disassemble. It's not too hard but is a bit of a pain because there are no screws and hard to gain enough leverage at the seam of the two plastic pieces to get in. I have done this myself on 3 drives with no issue. Take precautions to minimize static electricity damage when handling the bare drive.

2. The drive really did die. In this case the data is gone unless you want to pony up to attempt a data recovery service.

Since these drives are so cheap, I've taken up to keeping my Plex media on 3 of these and keep the other two offsite with my mom and brother each having one. I'd rather spend an extra $250 and not have to spend hours and hours ripping and compressing video again.
[doublepost=1547849831][/doublepost]Oh and just for the record, I did not open up the 3 drives because they died, it was because I wanted to load them into an OWC dual drive Firewire 800 enclosure since I have an older iMac that does not do USB 3 and Firewire 800 is much faster with these drives than USB 2. None of my Seagate Expansions have died yet (knock on wood).
 

Ruggy

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2017
409
237
To add to what others have said, if you've checked the cables and controller and it's the drive itself that's gone, you may well be able to extract the data off it by freezing it. That is, if it's not spinning.
It sounds nuts but it does work. You put the disk into a ziplock bag and freeze it, it'll cool it enough for the bearings to work long enough to extract the data.
I suggest you check it out if you need to (because you don't want to freeze the thing solid) but I assure you however nuts it sounds, it works in that case.
 
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