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Old 7 September 2011, 15:50
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Is there any way to save an external hard drive?

My external hard drive just crashed into my computer chair because I stood up and one of the cords was caught on my knee.

I reconnected it and now it is making this clicking sound like it is trying to restart.

Is it savable, or is everything on it fucked?

I would be eternally grateful for any help.
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Old 7 September 2011, 16:12
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It is probably fucked.

You could pull it out and attach it to a different drive enclosure/adapter to see if it is the controller that is messed up from the fall and not the drive itself. And/or the fall knocked something loose.
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Old 7 September 2011, 16:16
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There's no easy answer. You MIGHT be able to save it...and you might not. You can send it to a professional data-recovery service (extremely expensive) and almost certainly save it, but that's USUALLY not worth it.

There are weird little remedies that actually work sometimes, like putting it in the freezer (in a ziplock bag) overnight and then immediately hooking it up.

No matter what you do, you're going to want to have another drive available to back this one up to, as all these solutions are just temporary fixes. If you get it running, back it up ASAP.
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Old 7 September 2011, 16:23
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When I did that to one of mine, I got quoted $1400 with no guarantees.

I've been trying to talk some of my DOMEX friends into doing it as practice, but no luck yet.

Lost every photo I took between about 1997 and 2004. Always back up, and then back up your backup!
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Old 7 September 2011, 16:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baildog View Post
When I did that to one of mine, I got quoted $1400 with no guarantees.

I've been trying to talk some of my DOMEX friends into doing it as practice, but no luck yet.

Lost every photo I took between about 1997 and 2004. Always back up, and then back up your backup!
I use a small business server to which my laptop syncs when I get back from a trip. I then set the SBS to back up to a Dell data cartridge, one stays in the safe one to the safe deposit box. Removal media b/u like DVD etc is also a good idea so you can pick ans choose individual files. Some server b/us give you server files and you have to reload the entire image.
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Old 7 September 2011, 17:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baildog View Post
I've been trying to talk some of my DOMEX friends into doing it as practice, but no luck yet.
LOL... no shit there I was in my MEDEX shop, knock on the door - SF dude with a bucket full of parts and a HDD... it really was in a blue plastic bucket. "Hey man, do you think you can you fix this?"

Problem is it is a hit and miss business... you have to have it as a side offering and it is just something that brings in extra money from time to time. It is really hard to live off data recovery all alone. Have a forensic, investigation, e-discovery, etc. practice and then do DR on the side to fill the lean times.

Then the problem becomes, when times aren't lean do I stop working on this $350 / hour legal case and recover aunt ethel's photos of the kids?
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Old 7 September 2011, 17:26
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Surprisingly I just realized it is still under warranty. Unfortunately I don't think Western Digital will replace it since it isn't technically "defective".
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Old 7 September 2011, 17:51
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I can vouch for BOFH's freezer suggestion. I've seen it work.
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Old 7 September 2011, 17:54
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Try the freezer trick... and dupe it FAST.
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Old 7 September 2011, 18:06
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I wish I had known the freezer trick right after I got out of the Navy...I had a dog knock my external off the table, and I lost almost ALL of my pics from the FFL Commando course. Fortunately, the Navy saw fit to plaster a few of the pics all over the interwebs...unfortunately, they also threw my name out there for all the world to see...
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Old 7 September 2011, 18:18
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How much time can I expect to get out of the freezer trick and how long should I leave it in there? I just read online that someone left it in his freezer overnight and got 20 minutes out of it.

It isn't really a huge deal if I don't recover anything, it would just be a big pain in the ass to re-download everything.
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Old 7 September 2011, 18:40
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I've gotten anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours out of the freezer trick in the past...
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Old 7 September 2011, 18:58
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I have seen the freezer fix it long term - but the likelihood of that happening is slim.
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Old 7 September 2011, 20:09
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I'm definitely not expecting it to be fixed long term. If I can get 20 minutes or so out of it I'll be happy. Now I just have to try and remember what I had on there and figure out what I want to get from it.
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Old 8 September 2011, 09:10
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Unfortunately the freezer trick didn't work. I don't even hear the drive spinning anymore.

Oh well. It was worth a try.
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Old 8 September 2011, 09:44
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Did you put the whole external drive in a ziplock in the freezer, or did you take the HD out of the enclosure, and put just that into the freezer?

Reason I ask is that HDs are actually pretty rugged, but the electronics in external drives that convert the signal from eSATA over to USB... not so much.

A $20 eSATA / USB wire is a lifesaver sometimes.
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Old 8 September 2011, 09:58
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Take it out of the enclosure, open up the PC and install it (Unless you have eSATA). You might have junked the enclosure but the drive might be saved.
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Old 8 September 2011, 10:06
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1. You have a backup right? (Software Image, SyncToy/RoboCopy, Windows Home Server).

2. Take it out of the enclosure and try to find THE EXACT SAME MODEL as a bare drive. Swap out the PCB board.

3. Freezer didn't work, so if #2 doesn't....I'd get #1 up and running before buying another one

P
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Old 8 September 2011, 10:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polypro View Post
1. You have a backup right? (Software Image, SyncToy/RoboCopy, Windows Home Server).
This drive was my backup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B 2/75 View Post
Did you put the whole external drive in a ziplock in the freezer, or did you take the HD out of the enclosure, and put just that into the freezer?
The entire external drive in a Ziploc, then into the freezer.

I don't know enough about this type of stuff and I'm not going to take my laptop or my dad's tower apart to try and stick this drive into a computer. If I do that I'm liable to not be able to get either of them back together.
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Old 8 September 2011, 11:54
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This is the doohickey I'm talking about.
Plug the USB plugs into your (operable) computer, and the bare drive that you remove from the external enclosure gets pluged into the other end.

$8.78 plus shipping from MonoPrice http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...t=1#largeimage

When your computer dies, and you can't boot it at all, and all recovery attempts fail, being able to access the drive in this fashion will allow you to recover data in most cases. Assuming it is the electronics on your external hard drive's enclosure, and not the drive itself that's failing, you'll never know that with a 10 dollar bit of wire and plastic all of your data might be easily recovered.

jes' saying.... research is your best buddy, and opportunity favors the prepared, too.

Good luck

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