How can I detect a dead external hard drive

March 18, 2011 at 05:06:24
Specs: Windows 7, Dual Core/ 4 GB
I have a Seagate 1TB external FreeAgent HD which seems to want to spin and hums when powered up and connected by usb to my HP laptop running WIndows 7. The drive does not light up and cannot be detected. Is there anything I can do? I probably have 60% of the data elsewhere but the 40% lost in old photos, documents and videos some of which are irreplaceable. Is there a way to get the drive detected without opening it up? Estimate on professional recovery (from a Staples clerk who truly did not seem the brightest bulb) is $400.00 -simply not practical - and the drive is warrantied until 2014. Suggestions? Recommendations?

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March 18, 2011 at 05:31:45
Look for the drive in Windows Disk Management. If the drive shows there it may show as RAW. This is caused by improper removal of the device.

If that is the case you should be able to repair the corrupted partition by using testdisk. Get testdisk at the link below. Be sure to read ALL the tutorials before use.

BTW, keeping ONLY one copy of your personal files is really risky. There are numerous ways for you to lose that data. You should always keep at least two copies of any data you wish to retain. I prefer burning the data to DVDR. Then you can make multiple copies. If the data is irreplaceable (photos) then more diligence is needed. Off site storage of data is a good idea.

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March 19, 2011 at 09:55:48
Thanks. Unfortunately the disc does not appear at all using that method. I appreciate about the secondary back ups and intended to do so but I was using the 1TB external HD to transfer from all the old 250 GB IDE HD that the data was on the begin the archival process of creating DVD back ups. If you think of anything else I would appreciate your comments. Thanks Again.

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March 19, 2011 at 10:25:53
Look in Device Manager for the USB enclosure. There are two components to a USB external hard drive. The enclosure, which is a USB device and should show as such, and the hard drive it self, which you are not seeing anywhere.

If the enclosure is showing in Device manager then that would indicate it is working. If it doesn't show, that would indicate the opposite.

In which case I suggest you remove the hard drive from the enclosure and connect directly to an internal connection or another USB adapter.

This will void any warranty on the hardware but may allow recovery of the data.

Also, try another USB port or even another computer before taking more drastic steps.

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