So I have a 750GB Western Digital Elements SE portable hard drive that has finally given up after three years of faithful service. I'm actually surprised it's lasted this long.
The drive spins up just fine when I plug it into any of the computers I have at my disposal (MBA 13, MBP 15, ThinkPad T510), but none of the OSes recognize it (OS X's Disk Utility, Win7's Disk Management, and Clonezilla). I also opened up the enclosure hoping to be able to extract the drive and plug it into a SATA adapter in order to hopefully identify the USB connector as the problem, but alas, this drive has the USB connector built into the PCB directly.
Anyway, what are my options? I really don't want to spend $800 on a data recovery service -- the data isn't THAT valuable -- but maybe a cheaper service, or a DIY option, could work?
It doesn't sound like a PCB fault, although it's not impossible. Check the USB connector for cracks, but otherwise, if you intend to swap the PCB, then be aware that you will need to swap the 8-pin serial flash memory chip at U12 from patient to donor. This chip stores unique, drive specific information. Some PCB suppliers (eg onepcbsolution.com, hdd-parts.com) provide such a service for free.