How can I fix a broken external hard drive or recover data with my Mac?

Uche November 30, 2012

My 320GB Hitachi external hard drive was pulled out while I was backing up a ton of photos. I contacted the GeekSquad at BestBuy and it would cost about $250 to fix. I can’t afford that. Any help would be appreciated.


  1. Anish Parameshwaran
    February 9, 2013 at 5:01 am

    From my experience, taking the hard drive along with the mac to the apple store is very helpful. They fixed it for me and at no cost!

  2. Christopher Webb-Orenstein
    December 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Disk Drill is good for recovering files, I've heard Data Rescue 3 is better than Disk Drill. Both will cost you near 100 dollars, but it's something you can use over and over vs paying it to Best Buy.

  3. Vishal Srivastava
    December 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm
  4. Giggity Goebbels
    December 10, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I doubt this is recoverable

  5. Brad Ward
    December 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    We need more information about what is wrong in order to be able to help. I would certainly try a few free solutions before I purchased any recovery software or paid an expert to help.

    What exactly happens when you plug the external drive in? Is the drive recognized at all? Do any lights on the external drive come on? What file system is it (e.g., NTFS, FAT32)?

    This used to happen my external NTFS drive sometimes if I pulled it out without disconnecting it. But if I plugged it into a Windows machine and waited a few hours, sometimes it would come back to life by itself. Similarly, running the Windows scandisk function would save it sometimes.

    On a Mac, open Disk Utility and see if that recognizes the drive? If so, can you scan, verify or repair it?

  6. maria
    December 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

    how about minitool mac data recovery, i know their windows data recovery software is powerful and cheap, maybe you can have a try,

  7. Macwitty
    December 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Data Rescue 3 from prosoft

    You can get it in the MU bundle (12 apps for 49 $)
    There you can download a trial to see if it can restore your files

  8. Qin Tang
    December 3, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Try to recover your data with the power data recovery, or you will lost your files.

  9. Duy Nguyen Minh
    December 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Try backup it and use Hirent Boot Cd check errors and fix hardware problem.

  10. Rakesh Mishra
    December 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

    in such cases go for professionals because software doesnt provide reovery for all the lost data

  11. Nikhil Chandak
    December 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    U shall use Disk Drill , a good software for recovering apps on MAC , but u will have to buy the PRO !!
    or check this

  12. Paul Pruitt
    December 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    If the drive is making clicking noises try freezing it in your freezer overnight inside double ziploc bags then using one of the apps mentioned. Practice using the apps on a good drive so you know how they operate. As the drive warms up it may stop working again.

  13. Arun Singh
    December 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    You need professionals to recover your data.........

  14. Paul Pruitt
    December 1, 2012 at 2:33 am - a more technical program requiring compiling: "Scalpel is a fast file carver that reads a database of header and footer definitions and extracts matching files or data fragments from a set of image files or raw device files. Scalpel is filesystem-independent and will carve files from FATx, NTFS, ext2/3, HFS+, or raw partitions. It is useful for both digital forensics investigation and file recovery."

  15. Paul Pruitt
    December 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Try these: - "With Rescue Kit for Mac®, Paragon Software offers a bootable Rescue System on CD that will help you take an immediate action whenever a hardware malfunction or a system crash should occur. After booting your Mac with our Rescue-CD you will be able to use all the necessary tools to keep your Mac alive. Because of its current status as Pre-Release, Rescue Kit for Mac comes completely for FREE!" - "Using AppleJack, you can repair your disk, repair permissions, validate the system's preference files, and get rid of possibly corrupted cache files. In most cases, these operations can help get your machine back on track. The important thing is that you don't need another startup disk with you. All you need to do is restart in Single User Mode (SUM), by holding down the command and s keys at startup, and then typing applejack, or applejack auto (which will run through all the tasks automatically), or applejack auto restart (which will also restart the computer automatically at the end of the process)."

  16. Jim Chambers
    December 1, 2012 at 12:20 am

    When you plug it back in, what happens?

    • Samuel Mearns
      December 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      The Mac shows a dialog which says "This External drive can not be recognised"
      then it gives you three options "Eject" "Open Disk Utility" .etc

  17. Atul Mahajan
    November 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Broken Hard Drives cannot be repaired as far as I think.

    • Hunbuhbhuygb Ygygbgybygb
      December 11, 2012 at 6:28 am


  18. ha14
    November 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    is it at least recognized by MAC?

    • Samuel Mearns
      December 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      No it is never recognised, I have had this happen to three of my USB drives

Ads by Google