Alright so this is going to be a bit of an odd question. I purchased an hp SimpleSave 1TB external HDD from Best Buy about a year ago. It worked fine for about 6 months then died. I would plug the ac adapter in, and nothing. Not even the blue light would turn on. I assumed the drive was dead. A few weeks later I thought about it, and realised that since the LED wouldn't come on, perhaps it was the power and not the drive itself. I tried a few different outlets and wiggled the adapter in the power input on the drive a little bit, and heard a *POP* and a spark shot out. This ain't good.
So, tonight I removed the HDD from its case (It's just a WD Caviar Green 3.5") as well as the little adapter hp added for the power supply/usb data transfer hookup so now it's just a standard 3.5" WD Caviar Green SATA drive. I don't have a computer I can test this on at the moment (all of my household computers are laptops) but what do you think the chances are of this drive still having some life if I hook it up to this new PC in a couple of weeks? I'm kind of hoping that pop just came from hp's little doodad they added on there for the ac adapter and usb.
The POP was more than likely from the AC/DC adapter, so the drive is "probably" good. You'll know for sure if it is functional when you get an appropriate machine to attach it to.
But the real question...should you trust it with important data? I would say no. Drives are very inexpensive. It's just not worth it to save a few dollars and rely on a questionable drive.
Run the serial number through the WD support site to see if they support it (sometimes drives sold OEM to others for repackaging won't be honored as you are supposed to get support through the OEM). You might get lucky and be able to get them to replace the bare drive (I was able to with a friends laptop drive for example).
Then you can just buy a new external/USB case and use it with your laptops again,