Physical Damage to External Hard Drive

My 15 year old sister was annoying the hell out of me all night, after telling her to knock it off a million times I finally had had enough and got up and attempted to chase her down. She ran past my laptop, where my cords are plugged into the wall and knocked everything off the table onto the floor. Everything seems to be ok except for my 500gb external Maxtor hard drive. The Power cord was damaged, but the unit is still receiving power. It connects to my laptop through USB 2.0 and when I plug everything in, my computer does not recognize it. I have a 5 year warranty, but I'm sure that isn't covered. I'm really unsure what to do, if there is anything that i can do. I probably had around $200,000 worth of data, projects, and software on there. Is my only option a disk recovery? If so, is there any reputable company that isn't going to charge me well over $1000 to get it done?

Thanks for your help
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  1. The fact that your laptop won't recognize the unit says there is no signal from the USB connection. If there was a signal (completed circuit whatever you want to call it), the laptop would most likely read the drive as being connected. Whether you have data fed through the USB connection, or can be fed through the USB connection is an entirely different situation.

    1st suspect, before we go bouncing around into the night, is check the USB connections. I am not referring to a loose connection (duh). Think about it. She caught and pulled the unit using the cords. The cords are connected via USB connections. USB connections are durable, but only to a point. A connection could have been externally or internally damaged. The damaged USB connection could be on the external drive or at the laptop.

    2nd The USB connections could be intact, but the internal guts of the unit are damaged. There are circuits between the USB connection and the drive heads. Those circuits/components could be physically damaged and maybe those circuits are needed to complete the USB signal.

    3rd, there is a difference between receiving power and receiving power where the power is needed. The internal PSU of the external HD could have been damaged. Most likely to a connection rather than the internal guts of the PSU.

    I strongly suspect your drives are ok and the data is still intact. Those external HD were designed for a bit of shock for shipping purposes. Granted you could have been writing to a drive at the moment of impact, but a scratched disk or bent head is not going to prevent your laptop from recognizing your external HD.

    And I have firetrucked up a couple HD's. Computer still read drive as existing, just could not get the computer to read the data from the drive.
  2. Thanks a lot for your lengthy reply. I realized last night, that it could very well just be the connection, but I was in a bit of a panic when I wrote that last night. I just have so much time invested into the data on there that I was really upset. Also, I should definitely have had it backed up. But realizing that there is a good chance that just the connections were damaged, I ordered a new enclosure case last night and hope that it does the trick.
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