External storage device broken? please help :(

Okay so, about 2 days ago i was looking for some pictures on my computer i couldn't find. I plugged my external storage device in (It's a WD smartware passport or something, about 300GB of storage). I type .png into my computer search bar, after 10 minutes i got impatient and just unplugged my passport thing, ever since then when i plug it in it either asks me to;
Format the disk
Or i CAN gain access to it, but only for about 1 minute, and it's very unstable. And then it will disconnect from my computer. For this reason i can't copy any of the files over. I have about 5000 pictures on their, about 20 video clips. Some of these pictures are more "personal" of my girlfriend, if you get what that means. So i don't want to send it into a shop to get fixed. And i can't buy any online software (I'm 16 with no way of spending money online). I'm desperate for help, please anyone :/ I'm not really good with computers so i don't have a clue what to do. All help is greatly appreciated, if you need more details about anything just say. Thank you.
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  1. One you NEVER do is to unplug the USB cable without ejecting the USB device. Power is transferred to your hard drive through USB cable. Unfortunately you did. Whatever you do, DO NOT format the drive.

    Few things you can try.

    - try to connect it to another computer with different OS. You can try to boot Ubuntu from a cd (without installing it) and see if you can access your data. Try on couple different computer/OS combination.

    - Inside the hard drive case there is a little PCB board. It is possible that board got damaged. ***DO AT YOUR OWN RISK*** Open the case and remove the internal hard drive. Buy an ISE/SATA to USB adapter and connect the internal hard drive to a computer. See if you can get the data out. Also listen for weird noise from internal drive. Remember to eject the mass storage before unplugging the USB cable.
  2. How would i do this Ubuntu thing? I'm not good with computers sad to say, the hard drive does make a funny noise that it did not make before. What is an ISE/SATA to USB adapter and a PCB Board? :/ All these words confuse me.

    Thanks for the help :)!
  3. EDIT: I did try using both my parents and sisters laptop, nothing worked :/ Still the same problems.
  4. Give this a try (Try the free copy first)

    Their Home page
  5. Problems with programs like this^ is the fact the device stays connected for a minute at most. Then even though it's plugged in, it will disconnect and it wont reconnect for about 15 mins :/
  6. Then recommend that you dissasemble, remove HDD and connect directly to MB and try the software. Note if the drive uses a miniture connector (Data/power) then you will need an adaptor cable.

    ie: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812186155
  7. Would you happen to know where i could find a guide for doing this and finding adaptors etc? I'm not at all good with computers/electronics personally and i don't want to break it. Thank you very much
  8. Here is a you tube video. Looking at it it looks like a standard sata data and power connector.
    If you do not have a spare go to local computer store and buy the sata data cable plug into a spare SATA connector on MB and connect power connector from PSU.

    Open case. Look at DVD drive, it should have the same connectors. disconnect from dvd drive and connect to HDD. power on and attempt to recover files. When down, disconnect drive and reconnect to DVD drive.

    NOTE: A quote from one of the comments - only way to verify is visully looking at drive.
    Guys, a little heads-up like what amerist mentioned in the YouTube details... Many of the recent WD Passport now build the
    USB controller onto the drive, making it impossible for users to use it as a stand-alone HDD.

    To install HDD in computer: http://www.google.com/#pq=disassemble+wd+passport&hl=en&cp=15&gs_id=19&xhr=t&q=installing+a+sata+hard+drive&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&safe=active&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=installing+a+sa&aq=0&aqi=g4&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=298cfbc9b6f1239a&biw=1026&bih=669
    Comment - You do not have to physically mount the drive in a bay, just sit it on something next to the cass, close enough for the cables to reach.
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