Problems with external hard drive after dropping it!!

Hi All,

I had a little accident today with my Buffalo external hard drive. While working at my desk at home I accidently knocked the drive with my arm and it fell on to the carpet. Now whenever I plug the drive into my laptop, I see it in Explorer as before, but when I click on it the laptop hour glasses, and eventually I get the message "The disk in drive E is not formatted. Do you want to format it?".

80% of the data on the drive has previously been backed up, but there are some recently moved files on it that I'd really like to recover.

I can't afford to give it in to a shop, and even if I could I would be some what concerned as the drive has files with personal information on them... so basically I need to know what my options are?... is there any software that can be used to recover the data without the drive requiring dismantling in some labs?

One thing my brother tried for me was to remove the drive from the Buffalo casing (which turned out to be surprising easy) and insert it into another external SATA drive casing... but still no luck... the drive continued to behave as if it needed formatting.

Anyway, I would appreciate some advise, even if it's just to say... "take it into the shop else bin it!!"... in which case I will have to bin it as I really am concerned about all the personal and confidential data on the drive, plus it may be too expensive for me to afford anyway.

Many thanks

6 answers Last reply
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  1. The BIG question is Was the drive powered at the time it was dropped?
    If it was, bin it and learn from the experience.
  2. Well, your brother already has tried the first easy step. The error message you get really means that the drive is not being read properly enough to return a sensible result. That could come from two routes. The bad one (and maybe the reality) is that there is real hardware damage inside that makes some or all of the unit unreadable. But if you're lucky the real problem is simply that a few data bits in critical areas like directories were written wrong.

    Who made the hard drive unit inside the Buffalo case? You could mount that HDD inside a desktop computer, then download and run the free diagnostic routines provided by the HDD's manufacturer's website. They will tell you the status of the hardware part. If that says you have no real problems, then you can consider getting free or pay-for-it utility software that can diagnose and recover corrupted Partitions, or can recover data on the drive. In the latter case (data recovery), some around here have had success with GetDataBack NTFS. You must pay for it, but ONLY after you try it out first to see if it really can recover all your data.
  3. MrLinux.... yes the drive was on when it fell :(

    Paperdoc... the make of the drive is Western Digital, and unfortunately we only have laptops in the house and no desktop PCs... so as MrLinux says I will have to bin the drive and learn from the experience!

    Thanks none the less for your replies.

  4. *************wait**************
    before you give up, FORCE chkdisk on the drive, it might be corrupted directory.
    Heres instructions for external drive,......

    how do I run one specificially for my External Harddrive so I may fix this problem? Thank you.
    What is the drive letter? If it is X:, for example, go to Start > Run, and type:
    chkdsk X: /f
  5. Hi Notty22,

    Thanks for the "chkdisk" suggestion.

    At the moment I am running a scan using the R-Studio program (it was suggested I try this through another Forum).

    However the scan has been running now for 14 hours and has got through only 400Mbytes of a 1TByte disk!!! Also, the log section keeps repeating the following message:

    "Read disk BUFFOLOExternal HDD as position <nnnnn> failed after 1 attempts. Data error (cyclic redundacy check)(23)"

    Where <nnnnn> keeps increasing. The rate the scan is going it will take forever for it to complete! but I'm hoping if it ever gets pass the failed read attempts it scan will progress faster?

    One final point to mention about the scan I am running. Although the light on the external Buffalo drive casing is flashing (to indicate drive activity) I'm not hearing anything... even if I put my ear against the drive I detect no drive noise... I usually hear noise from the drive when it's being accessed, so I'm not sure if the scan is actually accessing the drive???... what do you think?

    Anyway I will let the scan continue to run for a while longer before I stop it and try the forced chkdisk... but let me know if you think the scan through R-Studio is a waste of time.

    Thanks again to all for your help.

  6. What you report suggests that the drive may not be rotating, which certainly would prevent any attempt to read the tracks. Does it not even sound like it is moving the arm carrying the heads? (That would not happen every read attempt - only about every 100 attempts as it moves from one track to another.)
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