How can I fix a broken or damanged external hard drive?

meriodere ukoli April 5, 2011
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How can I fix my LG 250GB external hard disk? It seems to have fallen. Computer recognizes that something is attached, but can’t read the disk. Tried everything! This is a geek challenge because I heard it’s possible to fix it.

  1. vinay kumar
    May 2, 2012 at 5:41 am

    HEY , i m having a difrent problem . my hard drive is having virus some of my frndzz tried and scanned it till 40% and find out more then 1lakh trrozen horse drroper virus but they are not going further because it is taking too much of time .that is why i brouth kesper sky internet security but my pc is not detacting that hard disc . please tell me what should i do so that it get detacted

    • ha14
      May 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

      1) open device manager (go to run and type devmgmt.msc)
      2) locate the external hard drive
      3) right click on it and choose uninstall
      4) reboot and let windows to reinstall a new driver.

  2. Samonjoy Salman Bhattacharya
    February 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

    hey guyz ..u got to help me....i recently bought a 1TB Seagate goflex...and have around 400 gb of data in it ....but somehow it fell off my hand ..around 2-3 ft down on ground and since ...its not being recognized by my laptop.....and also when i plug it into my makes wierd noises and a peep sound .....but nothing pops up on d screen ...............plzzzzzzzzzzzz help me i want my data back ny way or d other .......seagate ....plz help me !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Samonjoy Salman Bhattacharya
    February 12, 2012 at 8:23 am

    hey guyz ..u got to help me....i recently bought a 1TB Seagate goflex...and have around 400 gb of data in it ....but somehow it fell off my hand ..around 2-3 ft down on ground and since ...its not being recognized by my laptop.....and also when i plug it into my makes wierd noises and a peep sound .....but nothing pops up on d screen ...............plzzzzzzzzzzzz help me i want my data back ny way or d other .......seagate ....plz help me  !!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • Mike
      February 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Noises and beep sounds usually indicate a problem with the hard drives reading heads.

      You could try one of the things mentioned before e.g. the "freezer trick" or maybe gently hitting it by the side in case the heads are "stuck".

      However, assuming that the hard drive was turned off when it fell out of your hands the platters containing the data should be untouched (un-damaged) which is the best situation for professional data recovery. Any "non-professional" attempt solving this mechanical problem could cause further damage.

      As always the best option is to see an professional with a data recovery lab and a clean room.

  4. Afridmunawar27
    February 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    hey every1,
    my external hard disc -Western Digital 750GB hard fell on the floor with a loud thud. When i connected it,it began flashing with some sound within which would stop after about 5 secs. I opened the cover and checked out the inside of it. On holding 1 particular part,it sparked out. And now the sounds have stopped,but it still flashes and the computer does not read it since itz fall. Please help. I'v tried the command prompt technique,it says "cannot open volume for direct access". i want to try the freezing technique,but thought id ask yo'l before that. PLEASE HELP!!!

  5. Pv2runcie
    January 23, 2012 at 2:32 am

    My buddy jerked my Computer Tower over a bit, and it shook my External HD causing it to fall to its side, and now, whenever i try to open it up, it causes my Windows Explorer to stop working, how can i fix this problem and get my HD to work again?

    • Anonymous
      January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      1) open device manager (go to run and type devmgmt.msc)
      2) locate the external hard drive
      3) right click on it and choose uninstall
      4) reboot and let windows to reinstall a new driver.

  6. Help :(
    December 8, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I have a similar problem, i dropped my external hard drive the other day (for the second time, the first  was fine but i heard something rattling inside when i shook it but the second time nothing) and when i connect it to my PC  the light comes on and the computer recognises that the device is connected but tells me "the device must be formatted". Any tips or ideas on how to make my data on my hard drive avalible again??

      December 16, 2011 at 12:55 am

      Hello, the easiest and free option for you would be to try and see if linux can see the contents of the external drive.  In order to do this, you could try downloading a linux based live cd like the one on the link.  Once the ISO image is downloaded, burn it to a CD.  Once live CD is burned, start up your computer from live CD and then connect the external.  The drive should be mounted by itself.  Explore the drive to see if you can find any files there:

      You could also try other options but you have to consider that sometimes there is no other option than to pay for a recovery service.  Let me know how it goes after trying the live cd and we can take it from there.

  7. Anirudh
    October 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I have a WD external hard drive which i dropped. i have all my lifes work in it. is it possible for me to recover my files? the computer does not read it but the power light comes on along with a noise from the hard drive itself. Is there any way for me to get my files back?

    • Tina
      October 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm


      if all the tips above fail, you can always send your drive to a professional recovery service and they can recover your files for sure. However, this is expensive. Depending on how badly the drive is damaged, it could cost between US$500 and US$3000.

      So try the tips above. Let the drive sit for a while, so the mechanical parts can literally cool down. You might want to try the freezer trick, but be sure to seal the drive in a 100% tight plastic bag, so that it will not soak up moisture!

      Before you attach the drive to access files, be sure you know exactly what you want to backup first, where the files are, how you want to back them up and where to. You might only have a few minutes until it breaks entirely.

    • Saurav
      December 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      anirudh try from the command prompt it will surely work..
      i fixed my own hard disk dis way wen all other ways failed..just type in cmd:

      chkdsk e: /f                   ("e" is ur drive letter)

  8. Afshasaj
    May 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    hello........i have a similar problem, my LG hard disk drive fell down & not working. showed it 2 a authorised person he saz it wont work..but i feel it wil work coz when i connect indicator light is on & that vibrating mode is on...laptop doesnt recognises it.....plz help i have my memorable images in it.............

    • Tina
      May 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

      Did you try any of the advice above? If the drive was physically damaged, and it obviously was, then you only have a slight chance of getting it to work. If you are very lucky, you will get it to work long enough to back up important data.

      If you desperately need the data on the drive, you can always have the data rescued. If you need advice for your specific case, i.e. what to do with the drive, how data can be rescued etc. please post a new question.

  9. Brent Adonis
    April 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I would suggest placing it (the hard drive) in an anti-static bag, with bubble wrap and leaving it in a deep freezer for 24 hours and then take it out and try the drive immediately (hopefully your hard drive can be taken out of it's housing without voiding the warranty) . Reason for this is, the drive expands when hot and contracts when cold.

    It's worked for me once. Maybe you might be lucky and the same might apply to you.

    • Manchurianite
      May 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

      thanks but I don't know what an anti-static bag is, or are you referring to the storage wraps with the bubbles/the foam that come with them. its seems a very "chilly" idea, heard of it once, maybe i will decide to have some guts and do it for the heck of it.

      • Tina
        May 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm

        The freezing trick works!

        An anti-static bag is a plastic bag that is anti-static. Hard drives come packed in such a bag when you buy them.

        I used a zip-lock bag to freeze a drive that had broken. The next day it didn't work. :( But when I tried it again two years later (!!!) - a last time before I was going to throw it away - it did work and I could back up all my lost photos. Actually, the drive still works, over three years after breaking. Lesson: patience pays. :)

  10. JJ
    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Might be useful to add more information about the drive model, connection type, et caetera..

    Also, you may receive more answers if you respond to this question: do you care about the data on it, or just want to use the drive again?

    Hope your answers to any of these questions will help bigger geeks than myself to come up with a solution.


    • meriodere ukoli
      May 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

      would love to use the drive again, LG external HDD 250G connection type is USB, thanks all the same.good to know ppl are interested.

  11. Mike
    April 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I'm sure some geek in an expensive recovery lab can fix it for ~500$ or so... anyhow, back to serious

    I don't recommend running any command like chkdsk yet!
    These commands try to make changes to the Hard Drive! Depending on the type of damage it will get even more difficult (almost impossible) to recover the files yourself.

    Does the drive spin up when you connect it to your computer?
    Do you hear any sound like a clicking or something when it's connected?

    What does your computer recognize:
    - a Hard Disk with an unreadable File System and asks you to format/initialize it?
    - an USB Device with no further details?
    - an completely unknown device?

    • meriodere
      May 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Thanks a lot mike a belated reply this is but its still a reply, well did chkdsk oops!, if i  recollect it shows on my PC, an USB device connected but no further details, as for the cost of recovery which happens to be a lot higher than the unit's cost, won't shed a tear for it, i just as well add it to the evergrowing heap of e-junk in my backyard (so much for wanting to save the planet). thanks 

    • Dorian
      February 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Hi,as you said my own external hard drive was  first connecting on windows and mac And now only on mac.When connecting makes some funny sound while cd of it(external hard drive) is still spinning.The mac always ask me to format/initialize as you said.
      Details if you need
      Buffalo Drivestation 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive HD
      Please need anyones help imporant files 

      • Mike
        February 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        Since you were using it on Windows and Mac the file system [and therefor the drives contents] should be at least readable on the Mac.

        Sounds to me like the file system or partition table got corrupted at some point.
        I suggest to download TestDisk and follow the Step-by-Step guide.

        While the guide shows Windows screenshots it's essentially the same for Mac.

  12. Aksgan
    April 6, 2011 at 7:24 am

    If you hear anything moving,it is better you fix it from a authorized service center.Connecting it to your comp will lead to data loss.Do the power light come on?If so then there may be problem in connecting wires or else it may be power cable failiure/shock.But best u get it done thru a proper service center.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Hello, can you explain a little bit more about what Tried everything means? It would help to know what steps have you taken already. It the read/write head hit the platters on your disk really hard, it is pretty much done. But, if the read/write head hit the platters not too much, it might just be stuck and a little jigging might help getting it loose. If, as you say, your computer recognizes that something is attached, have you tried the chkdsk command?

    open command prompt and try the following commands:

    chkdsk /f
    chkdsk /r

    Also, if you jiggle the harddrive, do you hear anything moving? Do you hear any clicking when you plug your harddrive?

    • Manchurianite
      May 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

      No I don't hear a jiggling sound, the chkdsk command has been checked, it didn't work has for the platters, nothing seemed amiss but i'll take a second closer look.

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