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    Help: external hard drive file recovery

    Bllody hell tonight is not my night wrote a whole spiel explaining g the problem and phone slipped and deleted it all bad the last 2 lines.

    Here goes again

    So my external hard drive has packed in and I have important stuff on there I really want/need back. Not looking for unhelpful comments about having it backed up in multiple sources , the files were in 3 locations but both my and oh laptop broke and now the external Hard drive has too.

    I've been suggested recuva, but would I need the free or pro version. Also I'm not sure it would work as the laptop doesn't detect the HD is connected.

    What happens is that I connect HD to laptop it lights up blue and flashing which is normal then changes to solid whiter light normal but after 30 seconds or less the light goes out. There is a feint whirring kinda noise coming from the hard drive.

    I am happy to send the HD away to a reputable company that could recover the files for me if anyone can recommend? Unless of course there is a free/cheaper alternative?

    38 Comments

    try removing the hard drive from the casing and putting it into a new or known working caddy. possibly just the caddy faulty and not the drive itself. 0

    Take out the hard drive from the caddy and connect it directly to your motherboard. Run Scandisk
    If no luck, run Testdisk

    Extreme last option is to put it overnight in a sealed sandwich bag and try tomorrow. You will only have a few minutes to recover the data!
    Edited by: "zworld" 27th Feb

    Might be better in the ask section

    what make/model drive is it please?

    zworld

    Extreme last option is to put it overnight in a sealed sandwich bag and … Extreme last option is to put it overnight in a sealed sandwich bag and try tomorrow. You will only have a few minutes to recover the data!


    Jumpingphil

    What? oO


    Poster forgot to mention the bit about putting the sandwich bag containing the drive in the freezer.

    little_green

    ...the files were in 3 locations but both my and oh laptop broke and now … ...the files were in 3 locations but both my and oh laptop broke and now the external Hard drive has too.


    On the assumption that is is highly unlikely to suffer three busted drives on three different devices, it may possibly be easier to attempt recovery from the laptop drives, either via running recovery tools from USB boot drive (depending how busted the laptop is) or remove the hard drive from the laptop(s) and put it in a caddy, then attempt to access the drive contents from a functional machine. Most laptop drives from the last few years are 2.5" SATA, and 2.5" SATA caddies with external USB2 and USB3 connection are around £5 / £6+ delivered fulfilled Amazon, examples amazon.co.uk/dp/…F6/ and amazon.co.uk/dp/…0W/

    A lot of the major brands portable USB hard drives sold in the past 5 years are native USB, meaning that the drives inside can't be moved into a new drive caddy.
    If the data is still on the old laptops then those should definitely be your first port of call, as the hard drive inside those will definitely be compatible with a cheap USB drive caddy.
    Edited by: "SUMMONER" 28th Feb

    SUMMONER

    A lot of the major brands portable USB hard drives sold in the past 5 … A lot of the major brands portable USB hard drives sold in the past 5 years are native USB, meaning that the drives inside can't be moved into a new drive caddy.If the data is still on the old laptops then those should definitely be your first port of call, as the hard drive inside those will definitely be compatible with a cheap USB drive caddy.



    What ??
    It's a SATA hard drive with a USB converter

    zworld

    What ??It's a SATA hard drive with a USB converter


    Some drives have the drive connection configured on the drive's PCB as USB and there is no traditional SATA connector, example being WD WDBABV0010BBK-00 as below
    i1194.photobucket.com/alb…jpg
    i1194.photobucket.com/alb…jpg

    Possibly the drivers may be corrupt (haven't read all the thread)
    Go to Device Manager and "Show hidden devices" (which will include devices unplugged and/or not used currently) Identify the device (look in Disk Drives and USB Serial Bus Controllers) only when you've identified the correct driver - delete it (there may be multiple instances for the same device (delete all)
    Reboot
    Attempt to reconnect drive

    Original Poster

    It's a 500gb Toshiba external HD
    Can anyone provide a link to a step by step guide? I'm really not a text person and having trouble interpreting many of the responses posted here.
    My latop won't power on as doesn't hold charge and the charge post is broken.
    Oh laptop hinge/casing came away cashing Color leaking on screen (it's just green tinted splodges)

    Is the drive spinning? You should be able to here it spinning up. If not then it's possible that one of the read arms has welded to a disc so it's a dead loss. If it's spinning put in freezer in a air tight bag. Connect up to pc when cold leaving in air tight bag to avoid condensation and try and copy and paste files. If no good run the free recovery software you mentioned. You can rig up a system to run drive while in freezer but be careful.
    Edited by: "wayners" 28th Feb

    Original Poster

    wayners

    Is the drive spinning? You should be able to here it spinning up. If not … Is the drive spinning? You should be able to here it spinning up. If not then it's possible that one of the read arms has welded to a disc so it's a dead loss. If it's spinning put in freezer in a air tight bag. Connect up to pc when cold leaving in air tight bag to avoid condensation and run recovery software.


    No it doesn't appear to be spinning.
    I've booted up the laptop this morning in an attempt to download recuva but it won't load a web page saying there is no Internet connection even though the bottom right icon shows full WiFi strength and says there is Internet access. I've tried disconnecting and reconnecting.
    Things are just getting worse I'm at a complete loss

    little_green

    No it doesn't appear to be spinning. I've booted up the laptop this … No it doesn't appear to be spinning. I've booted up the laptop this morning in an attempt to download recuva but it won't load a web page saying there is no Internet connection even though the bottom right icon shows full WiFi strength and says there is Internet access. I've tried disconnecting and reconnecting. Things are just getting worse I'm at a complete loss



    ​Go have a drink. Take your time

    As above, remove it from its case, most time size had external hdds fail its the little boards inside they connect to, then plug directly into your desktop mb, at that point you will see what action you need to take next

    Original Poster

    wayners

    ​Go have a drink. Take your time


    There is a faint whirring noise but you have to hold it to your ear to really hear it

    Original Poster

    westy125

    As above, remove it from its case, most time size had external hdds fail … As above, remove it from its case, most time size had external hdds fail its the little boards inside they connect to, then plug directly into your desktop mb, at that point you will see what action you need to take next


    I don't know how to remove from case and don't want to cause more damage.

    little_green

    I don't know how to remove from case and don't want to cause more damage.


    There are simple alternatives if you don't feel comfortable playing with hardware and considering that you are comfortable with paid solutions. Suggest you revert to recovery from the defective laptop(s).
    Obtain one of the external caddies suggested earlier.
    Take both laptop(s) and a caddy to a PC/laptop repair centre and request the drive be removed from the laptop and placed in the caddy.
    This will typically take maximum 5minutes and only cost whatever the minimum labour charge is.
    You can then connect the caddy to another machine and attempt to recover the files from the drive in the caddy.
    The above procedure is exceptionally simple and I am sure you could do it yourself, but for the small cost involved the route of employing a professional may give you more confidence.
    Good luck.

    As AndyRoyd says, get back to the Laptop and start there. Do you have a way to access the internet. If you can get a friend to download and make a USB of the Linux Live you can access the boot system and tell it to boot from there. You will be able to see all files and devices to assist in diagnosing the problem.

    howtogeek.com/how…pc/

    AndyRoyd

    Take both laptop(s) and a caddy to a PC/laptop repair centre and request … Take both laptop(s) and a caddy to a PC/laptop repair centre and request the drive be removed from the laptop and placed in the caddy.


    +1 Right now is not the time to try and learn this stuff, let a professional do it for you.

    Also, unfortunately some of the more recent portable Toshiba drives are native USB. See video here You will know if yours is once you take it in-store and they open the drive enclosure.
    Edited by: "SUMMONER" 28th Feb

    I wonder what you would discover if you attached the failing device to a known good device?

    getmeone

    As AndyRoyd says, get back to the Laptop and start there. Do you have a … As AndyRoyd says, get back to the Laptop and start there. Do you have a way to access the internet. If you can get a friend to download and make a USB of the Linux Live you can access the boot system and tell it to boot from there. You will be able to see all files and devices to assist in diagnosing the problem.https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31804/the-10-cleverest-ways-to-use-linux-to-fix-your-windows-pc/


    I've recovered many a 'dead' drive using Knoppix. Usually that the boot sector is corrupt and Windows can't see the drive, but Linux will.

    little_green

    I don't know how to remove from case and don't want to cause more damage.



    ​Most cases clip together, get a blunt dinner knife and separate the two halves, yes it will crack open and you may damage the outer case but the hdd needs to be tested really? You shouldn't damage the hdd

    Original Poster

    SUMMONER

    +1 Right now is not the time to try and learn this stuff, let a … +1 Right now is not the time to try and learn this stuff, let a professional do it for you.Also, unfortunately some of the more recent portable Toshiba drives are native USB. See video here You will know if yours is once you take it in-store and they open the drive enclosure.


    I have taken it to a local independent store. The guy said he would try other methods but would probably have to open it up. He said that the port connecting to USB may be inbuilt on the hard drive in which case nothing they can do but it may not be and just the caddy that's broken but he won't know until he looks.
    Fingers crossed my files can be recovered

    little_green

    I have taken it to a local independent store. The guy said he would try … I have taken it to a local independent store. The guy said he would try other methods but would probably have to open it up. He said that the port connecting to USB may be inbuilt on the hard drive in which case nothing they can do but it may not be and just the caddy that's broken but he won't know until he looks. Fingers crossed my files can be recovered



    ​I hope it's good news.

    Original Poster

    wayners

    ​I hope it's good news.


    He has taken it apart and it was the standard style ie usb not in hard drive but apparently he still can't get anything recoverwd. He said he tried all the software recovery tools they have . Apparently it's making a weird clunking noise now (it wasn't before)
    Sigh....
    Like my hard drive I'm broken

    little_green

    He has taken it apart and it was the standard style ie usb not in hard … He has taken it apart and it was the standard style ie usb not in hard drive but apparently he still can't get anything recoverwd. He said he tried all the software recovery tools they have . Apparently it's making a weird clunking noise now (it wasn't before)Sigh....Like my hard drive I'm broken


    Check out this link for a little info on what is happening.
    youtube.com/wat…wYY

    little_green

    He has taken it apart and it was the standard style ie usb not in hard … He has taken it apart and it was the standard style ie usb not in hard drive but apparently he still can't get anything recoverwd. He said he tried all the software recovery tools they have . Apparently it's making a weird clunking noise now (it wasn't before)Sigh....Like my hard drive I'm broken


    Go the laptop drive recovery route as suggested in post #19.

    Try bad copy pro & google it then try the evaluation version first.

    Have you tried freezing it yet ?

    Original Poster

    AndyRoyd

    Go the laptop drive recovery route as suggested in post #19.


    As in getting someone to take the drive appart.... Very costly

    little_green

    As in getting someone to take the drive appart.... Very costly


    Possibly some misinterpretation there. You previously mentioned you has the same files on two busted laptops. Removing a drive from one of your laptops (repeat: your laptops) and putting it in a caddy will take a techncian no more than 5mins and cost whatever the technician's minimum labour charge is, plus the price of a caddy which has already been indicated at around £6 (plus any applicable delivery). So you could easily have the laptop drive professionally placed in a caddy and start looking to recover files from total £15-£20. You could even shave £2-£3 off that cost if you downgrade the caddy to to a £2.90 delivered USB2 item ebay.co.uk/itm…822 or preferably £4.30 delivered USB3 item ebay.co.uk/itm…654.

    little_green

    As in getting someone to take the drive appart.... Very costly



    ​Not really. But you don't seem very confident with tech stuff so just take it to the repair shop. They will just take it out of the laptop and do the same thing they did with your external drive.

    Original Poster

    LizzyUK

    ​Not really. But you don't seem very confident with tech stuff so just t … ​Not really. But you don't seem very confident with tech stuff so just take it to the repair shop. They will just take it out of the laptop and do the same thing they did with your external drive.


    I'm talking about the external hard drive not the laptops, I'm aware they would remove the laptop hard drives easily enough. Most of what I want recovered is on the external hd. He has taken it out the casing and tried all the software he has. He says the only chance of recovery would be to completely dismantle the hard drive and test each component to see what the issue is. He said it may be an arm or sth. But it is a costly process and no guarantee it'll even work.

    As for the laptops. My oh's will have some, probably the least of my personal files. My laptops I think will have more but probably not my most important secondly they will not be up to date as my laptop hasn't been working for a good 5+ months probably longer. My laptop doesn't power up so I can't gain access to see what files are on there. I have ordered a new charging cable to see if that's the issue though it's probably the charging port.

    little_green

    I'm talking about the external hard drive not the laptops, I'm aware they … I'm talking about the external hard drive not the laptops, I'm aware they would remove the laptop hard drives easily enough. Most of what I want recovered is on the external hd. He has taken it out the casing and tried all the software he has. He says the only chance of recovery would be to completely dismantle the hard drive and test each component to see what the issue is. He said it may be an arm or sth. But it is a costly process and no guarantee it'll even work.As for the laptops. My oh's will have some, probably the least of my personal files. My laptops I think will have more but probably not my most important secondly they will not be up to date as my laptop hasn't been working for a good 5+ months probably longer. My laptop doesn't power up so I can't gain access to see what files are on there. I have ordered a new charging cable to see if that's the issue though it's probably the charging port.


    An attempt at a drive mechanical repair would be an unusual solution for a typical computer repair shop, even a controller card / PCB swap would be unusual. It sounds like the drive may need to be send to a specilist recovery centre where the drive is disassembled in cleanroom condions by peeps wearing white coveralls and breathing masks - this procedure is horrifically expensive.
    The initial impression was that the ext drive had another copy of existing files on two (now busted) laptops; now the laptops may only have partial similarity with the ext drive. It will be far more cost effective to attempt partial recovery by having the two laptops' drives put in two caddies rather any white coveralls activity. Heck, it would still be more cost-effective to buy two used but functioning laptops identical to your busted ones and have a repair centre swap the drives over.

    Original Poster

    AndyRoyd

    An attempt at a drive mechanical repair would be an unusual solution for … An attempt at a drive mechanical repair would be an unusual solution for a typical computer repair shop, even a controller card / PCB swap would be unusual. It sounds like the drive may need to be send to a specilist recovery centre where the drive is disassembled in cleanroom condions by peeps wearing white coveralls and breathing masks - this procedure is horrifically expensive.The initial impression was that the ext drive had another copy of existing files on two (now busted) laptops; now the laptops may only have partial similarity with the ext drive. It will be far more cost effective to attempt partial recovery by having the two laptops' drives put in two caddies rather any white coveralls activity. Heck, it would still be more cost-effective to buy two used but functioning laptops identical to your busted ones and have a repair centre swap the drives over.


    Yes this is what I was saying. I have no doubt that the guy at the repair shop has done what he can to salvage it, as he said it would need to be done in a dust free environment hence very costly and like you say cheaper getting a new laptop. It's just the fact I can't recover the files that's most frustrating.
    As I say I think a lot of what was in the external hd is on my laptop just not a so up to date version.

    little_green

    Yes this is what I was saying. I have no doubt that the guy at the repair … Yes this is what I was saying. I have no doubt that the guy at the repair shop has done what he can to salvage it, as he said it would need to be done in a dust free environment hence very costly and like you say cheaper getting a new laptop. It's just the fact I can't recover the files that's most frustrating. As I say I think a lot of what was in the external hd is on my laptop just not a so up to date version.


    Suspect the cost of recovering all files is likely prohibitive, but the cost of having an existing laptop's drive put in a caddy to attempt to recover (the majority of?) the files will likely be under £20 even with professional assistance. Shame that there is no other obvious or affordable solution.

    little_green

    I'm talking about the external hard drive not the laptops, I'm aware they … I'm talking about the external hard drive not the laptops, I'm aware they would remove the laptop hard drives easily enough. Most of what I want recovered is on the external hd. He has taken it out the casing and tried all the software he has. He says the only chance of recovery would be to completely dismantle the hard drive and test each component to see what the issue is. He said it may be an arm or sth. But it is a costly process and no guarantee it'll even work.As for the laptops. My oh's will have some, probably the least of my personal files. My laptops I think will have more but probably not my most important secondly they will not be up to date as my laptop hasn't been working for a good 5+ months probably longer. My laptop doesn't power up so I can't gain access to see what files are on there. I have ordered a new charging cable to see if that's the issue though it's probably the charging port.



    ​Oh!!! I thought your laptops and ext drive had the same files on them....
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