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WD External 1TB Click of Death, but still partially visible...

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November 17, 2011 6:01:47 PM

I've got a WD MyBook Essentials that tipped on it's side last week and it has begun the click of death. When plugged in (via USB through the enclosure) it will read in the BIOS, Device Manager (as "disk drive" rather than the make/model of the disk), and also in Disk Manager (only showing drive letter and not amount of storage available nor whether it's unallocated, formatted, etc).

-Drive sounds like it spools up fine, but after about 5 minutes, the clicking begins and I shut it down.
-When I click properties from Device Manager, the volume tab shows blank and does not refresh.
-My Computer does not show it at all.
-After uninstalling the driver on Device Manager, then attempting to replug and automatically download drivers, the driver install fails.
-WD Disk Utility does not read it.
-PhotoRec DOES read it and attempts to recover data, but encounters the "Error Reading Sectors" for every bit checked.

Without sending it off to a $$data recovery agency$$ or shoving it in a ziploc and freezing it, does anyone have any options they see available? This drive was my 2nd backup when my OS and my backup internal drive both crapped out (it's been a bad HDD month for me!) I've read a bunch of possible problems with the drive, to include the drive board going bad because of the drop, the USB not supplying enough power because of the drop (even though it's plugged into the wall for power), or the arm broken/not wanting to read correctly, etc etc etc. Is there any way to narrow down the problem based upon certain symptoms? Would I have a better chance of seeing the drive in My Computer and recovering the data if I remove it from the external enclosure and plug via SATA directly to my mobo? Thanks!
November 17, 2011 6:15:59 PM

Recover dead HDD is expensive then buy new one.
Therefore~ buy new one~~!!
For future long run and safe your date.
Have external HDD and safe file in there.
I have that problem with seagate 500GB HDD.
I format the HDD and used for external HDD for 3month then finally hdd died.
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November 17, 2011 8:32:53 PM

andywork78 said:
Recover dead HDD is expensive then buy new one.
Therefore~ buy new one~~!!
For future long run and safe your date.
Have external HDD and safe file in there.
I have that problem with seagate 500GB HDD.
I format the HDD and used for external HDD for 3month then finally hdd died.



I understand your mindset, and have actually bought TWO new ones (2x2TB WD MyBooks...in addition to my internal 2TB). My issue is getting the important documents off of the BROKEN drive since my other backup locations were fried due to another HDD issue. My question is whether I can still recover the data on the HDD (although it is malfunctioning) without using expensive data recovery agencies and without going to rediculous lengths (freezing my drive to temporarily remedy an issue that may not apply to my disk)? If I knew a way to diagnose the exact cause of the issue, could I EFFECTIVELY temporarily remedy the problem until I could get the data off?
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a b G Storage
November 18, 2011 12:11:54 AM

You can try removing the drive. Unfortunately, it sounds like the drive mechanism was damaged when it fell onto its side. The controller board is probably OK. After all, there aren't any moving parts in it.
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November 18, 2011 12:25:03 AM

So, you're thinking that the board is allowing the drive to be recognized, but the drive itself won't read any data?
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a b G Storage
November 18, 2011 2:15:17 AM

That is my guess. But I could be wrong.
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November 18, 2011 2:53:21 AM

jsc said:
That is my guess. But I could be wrong.

That sounds right to me.
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a c 316 G Storage
November 19, 2011 11:34:17 PM

I believe Essentials drives incorporate 128-bit AES hardware encryption, in which case you will only see gibberish when you connect the drive directly to a SATA port, even if it were otherwise OK, and even if you have not set a password.
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November 20, 2011 12:19:26 PM

@fzabkar: Just for my understanding, does the HDD board somehow recognize a SATA connection straight to the computer different from its current SATA>USB>computer? I'm trying to figure out at which point the encryption currently gets decoded since I'm assuming by connecting via SATA, I'm only cutting out the USB portion.
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a c 316 G Storage
November 20, 2011 4:50:53 PM

The encryption is done by the USB-SATA brdige IC on the bridge board inside the enclosure. In USB 2.0 models the bridge IC is an Initio INIC-1607E, while on USB 3.0 models it is a symwave SW6316.

In Passport models the bridge electronics is incorporated on the drive's own PCB.
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November 20, 2011 11:48:41 PM

Stupid smart hard drive! Thanks fzabkar...didn't know ANY of that!
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November 28, 2011 12:03:08 AM

JimBelushi: Sorry I got back to you so late...will clicking "Initialize Disk" risk or guarantee loss of data on the disk or just give management to the OS. This is CRITICAL because I do not want to lose this data...

I'm getting some progress...No clicking while I completed the following: I was able to get it to be seen in Disk Management as an "Unknown, Not Initialized" disk with "931.51GB Unallocated". It sounds like it's formatted (because it's not a full 1TB) but HOPEFULLY just not reading the data ONLY because it isn't initialized. What do you think?

Still not showing in My Computer...

Also, I used the Western Digitial Data LifeGuard Diagnostics and got the following when I did a Quick Test: "Quick Test on drive did not complete! Status code = 06 (Failed servo and/or seek test element), Failure Checkpoint =97 (Unknown Test), SMART self-test did not complete on drive!" Checking the error codes now, but the "servo" part sounds like the mechanical malfunction I was fearing...
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November 30, 2011 11:49:49 PM

BUMP'd for message received from TomsHardware: "we noticed that your thread is not active anymore. Did you get the answer that you were seeking?"
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!