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External Hard Drive Not Detected

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June 17, 2014 4:20:21 AM

My friend has given me an external hard drive to try to fix for them, which has stopped showing up on their computer (shortly after they plugged it into a work computer, not sure if this is relevant).

When I plugged it in to my PC it won't show up in My Computer; similarly it will not show up in Device Manager or the Disk Manager either. I've tried to use File Recovery Software as well, which also fails to detect the drive.

When I plug in the drive's power cable and USB cables, a light on the drive blinks at a rate of about 3 blinks per second continually (for over an hour at least). The drive makes some quiet 'spinning' noises when plugged in but stops after about 10 seconds.

I've tried multiple power and USB cables and plugged it into multiple USB ports, and get the same result. So it's definitely something wrong with the hard drive.

The drive is a 1TB WD drive of some sort. It has no external screws so I can't open it.

I'm using Win7.

Any indication of what this may be or a possible way forward would be very much appreciated.

Best solution

a b G Storage
June 17, 2014 5:11:29 AM

If the drive itself is spinning up upon application of power (and not making the "click of death" sounds), most likely the power board inside the drive enclosure has taken a dump.

The only way to find out if the drive is bad is to remove it from the case. It will be a standard SATA drive and will have sata connectors just like any hdd. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to destroy the case. Check with your friends and see if they want you to take this approach and if they do, as carefully as possible, open the case. There should be seams of some sort that can be pried apart. Once you have it out of the case, hook it up as a normal drive and see if your pc will recognize it.

I have had a couple of external drives do this, and both were removed from their cases and now reside and work in a couple of my rigs.

Mark
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June 20, 2014 1:03:34 AM

markwp said:
If the drive itself is spinning up upon application of power (and not making the "click of death" sounds), most likely the power board inside the drive enclosure has taken a dump.

The only way to find out if the drive is bad is to remove it from the case. It will be a standard SATA drive and will have sata connectors just like any hdd. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to destroy the case. Check with your friends and see if they want you to take this approach and if they do, as carefully as possible, open the case. There should be seams of some sort that can be pried apart. Once you have it out of the case, hook it up as a normal drive and see if your pc will recognize it.

I have had a couple of external drives do this, and both were removed from their cases and now reside and work in a couple of my rigs.

Mark


Thanks for the help. I was able to open the case and plug the hard drive in to the power supply and SATA port from the computer. However, when this happened, the computer takes an additional 2 minutes or so to start up (it hangs on the 'Starting Windows' screen for a while). This never happened when I plugged it in normally, so it must be detecting the hard drive in some way when it's being plugged in directly. However when Windows finally logs in, it is just like before, the hard drive doesn't show up in device manager or My Computer.

What could be wrong with it that it is clearly being detected during start up, but then ignored?
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a b G Storage
June 20, 2014 4:05:06 AM

Sounding more and more like a dead drive.

Boot to bios and see if the drive appears there. If it does not, chances the drive has gone. If it does, you will at least have hope of recovering data.

You might want to download and try Hiren's Boot Disc (HERE). It's free and runs straight from boot. On the disc is a mini version of Windows XP which is pretty good at "seeing" iffy drives. There are also several disc recovery programs on the web such as Recuva (HERE) that may be of use. Another repair item that will sometimes help when drive boot records and/or sectors have been trashed is Boot Repair Disc (HERE).

Time and patience are needed at this point.

Mark
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