dead hard drive

  DANZIG 17:10 06 Mar 2010

Hi. I've got an external hard drive that I clumsily dropped. It stopped working so took it into my local PC shop. They have said the data is unrecoverable.

Is there anything I can do to get the data back or is it gone forever?

  Batch 17:25 06 Mar 2010

If the drive is physically not working (i.e the drive doesn't spin and / or the heads don't move across the drive) or if the electronics are damaged then the only possible realistic approach is to contact a specialist (just do a search for "disk drive data recovery specialist").

But be warned, if they can do anything it will almost certianly be very expensive - you'll have to ask yourself how much the data is worth.

  woodchip 18:37 06 Mar 2010

You could remove the drive from the case and fit it in the Desktop to try to get files off it

  Batch 20:48 06 Mar 2010

What woodchip suggests might work if it is the external caddy components that are damaged rather than the actual drive that is installed inside the caddy.

To try it inside your PC you need to have a desktop PC (rather than a laptop or a netbook) with compatible connections supported. What size / type of external drive is it?

  DANZIG 22:22 06 Mar 2010

I was told about these specialists and told it would be very pricy.

All that's on it is photos and music so not life destroying, just rather sad.

I'll find out the disc type when I get home

  Technotiger 22:30 06 Mar 2010

If you can get access to the drive, this direct download (free) will recover your pics.

click here

Create a Folder on your Desktop and then Browse to that folder, as the Destination for the retrieved pics.

  DANZIG 23:15 06 Mar 2010

Home now.

The disc kind of spins around a bit then stops, then starts again. The guys in the shop said that in laymans terms it keeps stopping when trying to read it.

I had considered plugging it in my desktop as I have a spare bay there.

How do you tell what type of drive it is?

  Batch 23:32 06 Mar 2010

IDE or SATA - see click here the small picture )click to enlarge) is an IDE (you can tell by the type of connectors for signal and power).

If your PC is quite old it may well only take IDE. More recent tend to support SATA and IDE (the onboard hard disks being SATA, but CD/DVD being IDE). Although I gather than even more recently all is SATA (including CD/ DVD), so these might not support IDE at all.

  DANZIG 23:36 06 Mar 2010

It looks like an IDE. And, yes, my desktop is knocking on a bit.

I'm assuming I just undo the casing, plug it in and give it a shot??

  Technotiger 08:39 07 Mar 2010

Yes, but make sure you 'earth' yourself before delving into the case - i.e. touch the metal casing before touching anything else! Of course make sure PC is switched off, and not connected to Mains first.

  Batch 09:03 07 Mar 2010

You'll need to locate a spare suitable power feed and a vacant signal connector.

The signal connector is a (typically grey) ribbon cable about 2 inches wide (but NOT one connected to a floppy disk drive - if you have one). You'll almost certainly be connecting the disk as an additonal device on the cable (the cable supports two devices). So it will either be the second device on the same cable as the existing disk or the second device on the same cable as the CD/DVD.

If it is the CD/DVD cable, alternatively you could temporarily disconnect the CD/DVD and plug the disk on instead.

That brings us to the matter of jumper settings. If you are adding as a second device (on a cable), suggest you set the jumper as Slave. If it is the only device, then Master (see the following for an idea - this also has a pic of the ribbon cable click here )

Lastly (for now), it would be a good idea to mount the disk unit in one of the cages inside the system unit for stability.

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