Dropped External HDD, Need advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pukifloyd, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    I didn't know where to place this thread, so I'll just post it in this forum. Mods, please move it if you think this doesn't belong here.

    I have a Western Digital WD Elements 1TB external hard drive (USB 2.0, powered by a separate power adapter) that I purchased in 2010. It was working fine a couple of hours ago but my friend accidentally dropped it from the table (about 4 feet fall). The bottom case came off but I put it back. I didn't see any broken parts inside it. The drive was plugged into the power outlet, but it wasn't attached to any computer. I'm 90% sure that the drive wasn't spinning when it fell. Now, it is not recognized by my computer. The white light keeps blinking. I can feel the hard drive platter vibrate for about 5 seconds but then it stops. While the drive spins, I can feel some steady clicking on the case. The hard drive isn't being recognized in any computer. I've tried a different cable too but that doesn't work either.

    Please tell me what options I have. I have some important data that I need on one of the partitions (the other partition was time machine backup).

    Also, to keep it on topic with the forum, what drives do you recommend for future for about $100? I might get two drives this time just to be extra sure haha.
    I haven't heard many good things about WD drives. What do you guys recommend?
  2. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    The first course of action would be to open up the drive and reseat the internal drive cable.

    If that doesn't work, your next course of action would be to move the drive into a different enclosure. A typical USB 2.0 SATA 3.5" enclosure should be about twenty bucks retail.

    If that doesn't work, your drive has probably suffered physical damage. It's up to you to read the myriad posts about data recovery (very expen$$$ive) and figure out whether or not your data is worth it.

    At that point, you should think about whether or not you will be asking your friend to front the money for the data recovery service.

    Beyond that, you should plan for a way to make regular backups since clearly you have not done so. Yet another sad example of someone who does not value their data until it is gone.
  3. pukifloyd thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    Thanks for the quick reply! I'll follow your advice asap and post here what happens.

    Also, I have all the backup of my data EXCEPT the folder I needed. They're all my pictures from iPhoto. I got my MBP fixed by apple last week and had to reinstall OSX. I was in the process of backing up my data and had copied almost all of my data EXCEPT my iPhoto library because I was figuring out how to restore iPhoto library without restoring the entire backup (that's another story). It was just bad timing but I usually keep regular backup of all my data.

    I hope I can recover my pictures. I think I'm going to invest in cloud storage too now :eek:
  4. Switchfoot macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I would follow mpantone's steps, but with a couple of additions:

    1) Check in Disk Utility to see if the drive is listed there.
    2) Keep checking finder, Disk utility, and separate computers after each of mpantone's steps
    3) Pop it into a desktop PC as the 2nd or 3rd drive (make sure you've shut down the machine before doing so). Also, make sure you're plugging both the data and power cables in.
    4) If it is ever listed (even if it's just the generic drive name, no partitions), you might be able to recover using some consumer grade software. I've had great results with Data Rescue but your mileage may vary. It's 100 bucks, but that's peanuts if it can get you back something important.

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