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How to repair a dropped broken hard drive

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
May 29, 2010 8:35:12 AM

Hiya,

I've recently had an external MAXTOR hard drive stop working following a small jolt/drop... agghh! Can someone please help inform me of the options available to repair this drive asap??? I have many items of musical work on it following a tour where it was dropped at a very low level. Could it be repaired by local computer engineers or have the data recovered at most??? Please help!

Many thanks,

Jim Kutta.
a b G Storage
May 29, 2010 9:51:59 AM

If the drive was powered when it was dropped it'll (probably) require professional data recovery (with a clean room etc.); if it wasn't powered there is a chance it's just the caddy (case) that's damaged, and mounting the drive in another caddy/case might work.
May 29, 2010 12:34:39 PM

Quote:
Can someone please help inform me of the options available to repair this drive asap??? I have many items of musical work on it following a tour where it was dropped at a very low level. Could it be repaired by local computer engineers or have the data recovered at most??? Please help!


You could buy an identical drive and have someone or some company try and swap the drive's bad controller for a working one as described here.

http://www.wikihow.com/Swap-a-Hard-Drive-Controller-Cir...
Related resources
a b G Storage
May 29, 2010 12:43:51 PM

I assume its a USB drive? Is it making any noise? Clicking sounds etc? Is it getting power? i.e are there any indicator LED's on the unit? (I dont know what model it is). If it is a USB drive and the housing can be dissasembled the internal drive may be readable from another computer (this assumes that internally it is actually an IDE or SATA low profile drive that would be used in a laptop for example). Same line of thinking as MrLinux's comment above.

I ask these questions to determine the type of drive you are using and then to eliminate the actual USB drive housing electronics as a primary point of failure. i.e is it the drive itself or the housing components. I am making many asumptions here so further info would be valuable. It is of course very possible that the drive itself is damaged if it was running at the time of the impact and has suffered serious head crashes (corrupting data and possibly breaking the RW head) or has broken the armature altogether. If it wasn't writing at the time it is possible that the heads where parked and your data is still ok or at least most of it either way. I the case of the later your would need professional data recovery which can be very expensive.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
May 29, 2010 1:56:15 PM

thanks for all your advice everyone, I'm still trying to decide if I dare open the case up to see if its a case of rehousing the drive itself or indeed a worse situation that I could make even worse still by poking around inside the drives case....mmmm???? Its a MAXTOR BASICS 500GB USB External Drive by the way, black casing and its not the 'portable' smaller of the two models but the larger 'desktop' model, although both are very portable and I'm only using the descriptive words 'portable & desktop' in the context that Maxtor / Seagate have used them to describe the Maxtor Basics external USB hard drive.

I Hope I will be able to reach a decision soon with all your advice and opinions and end up with a workable solution. Please keep all the replies coming and any instructions on how I might set about repairing this drive step by step.

Many thanks,

J. Kutta.
May 29, 2010 2:36:39 PM

ok, well opening the drive enclosure isnt a big deal. but DO NOT OPEN THE DRIVE IZTSELF> JUST THE PLASTICY ENLoCUSRE pART WITH THE USB PORTS.
the hard drive inside the driver i usually a 2.5" or 3.5" standard hdd with a speial enclosure put around it with a usb port and such. it is ok to open this part, and remove the drive. However, it is bad to open the hard drive itself!
a b G Storage
May 29, 2010 4:37:54 PM


You still haven't indicated if the drive is showing any signs of life? Lights, noises, warmth?

This all sort of depends on how easily it is to open the enclosure, I have a WD 500GB USB drive which is for all intents and purposes impossible to open. Opening the drive itself would be very difficult as most drives use special screws deliberately making them hard to get into, it should also be obvious what part is the actual hard drive once the enclosure is open. So as Shovenose says, it would be bad, and useless to try to open the HDD itself. If you can open the enclosure and remove the drive you will still need the appropriate adapters/cables to connect it to another computer. The IDE connectors for a 2.5" drive are not the same as for a 3.5", making it impossible to just drop the drive into an extra Desktop PC for example. Im not sure if the drive in your rig is IDE or SATA, but the methodology still applies. So even if you can get into the rig, you still need to take it to a tech unless you have the parts needed laying around.

The following link may be helpful, but be careful. Better yet take the unit to a technician.

http://forums.seagate.com/t5/Maxtor-OneTouch-Products/H...


Anonymous
a b G Storage
May 30, 2010 12:39:18 AM

the drive lights up green, and you can here it start up but then immediately starts to make a constant low level tick/vibration type of noise as if its got stuck at some stage of the start-up process and will not then fully boot-up
a b G Storage
May 30, 2010 12:46:58 AM

Not good! Sounds like its pretty much buggered. You could try putting it in a zip lock bag with a bit of paper towel wrapped around it (to absorb any moisture) and stick it in the freezer for a couple hours, then plug it back in and cross your fingers. If by some miracle that allows you access to it, get your imporant data off ASAP. This used to work with older drives once in a while, its a complete crap shoot in this case.
May 30, 2010 2:21:20 PM

canadian69 said:
Not good! Sounds like its pretty much buggered. You could try putting it in a zip lock bag with a bit of paper towel wrapped around it (to absorb any moisture) and stick it in the freezer for a couple hours, then plug it back in and cross your fingers. If by some miracle that allows you access to it, get your imporant data off ASAP. This used to work with older drives once in a while, its a complete crap shoot in this case.

once, at my workplace, a customer needed the data recovered from his drive. we told him to send it to drivesavers cuz we dont have a cleanroom. he got mad, threw the hard drive on the floor, and left.
wierd sob, anyway, it was a nice 1tb wd drive, so 2 weeeks later when we decided he wasnt ever gonna come back, we did the freezer thing, andnow, a mpnth or so later, its ticking along happily in one of the shop PCs lol!
a b G Storage
May 30, 2010 3:24:19 PM

Thats helarious! People always look at me like a have 3 heads when I suggest the freezer trick. WOrks with Laptop batteries sometimes too, although I wouldn't trust the drive to continue working long term, LOL.
June 1, 2010 2:41:43 AM

yep! a free wd 1tb caviar black is always a nice thing :) 
!