How do I recover data from a failing networked hard drive?

Victor Ong May 29, 2013

So (stupidly) I left a 2TB hard drive on day and night for two years. It has recently started clicking and making noise, so I need a way to transfer data off of it PRONTO!

It has a USB port on the back, so I thought I could use a double-headed USB wire to transfer the data. Is this possible? I have used this port to set up wireless printing, but I don’t know if it will work with data transfer.


  1. Paul Pruitt
    June 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Make an image of the disk:

    I'm not sure how images work to tell you the truth. You might only need a size disk of the space you have taken up in the 2 TB disk or you might need another 2 TB disk to clone it to. Maybe someone else can comment.

  2. reha andrew
    May 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

    See this clicking problem clearly indicating that your drive is physically damaged. Physically damaged means that the mechanical components are in trouble so, you need to take an immediate step in order to save your data. This type of damage can be solved by only data recovery professionals. So, if the data is very important then take assistance from these professionals as soon as possible.

  3. Oron Joffe
    May 30, 2013 at 8:45 am

    As Jan says, you can't use the USB ports since they are intended for additional drives (e.g. to transfer data from a USB flash drive onto the NAS). That said, you can get a Seagate GoFlex adapter for it.
    The clicks suggest that there is a mechanical problem with the drive (usually either misalignment of the heads, or physical damage to the armature), so connecting it to the PC will not necessarily help you get the data off it. There are some software tools you can try to use, including Roadkill's Unstoppable Copier, Pandora Recovery. If you connect the drive directly (as Jan suggests, and I'm not sure whether that's possible with GoFlex drives), then Spinrite is your best chance of data retrieval.
    Finally, if all else fails, and the data is valuable to you, you could send it to a data recovery bureau, but be prepared to pay a lot for the pleasure, the cheapest rate I've seen is around $200, but goes way north from there.

    • Victor Ong
      May 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      A goflex adapter? Could you link to that?

    • Oron Joffe
      May 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm


      The GoFlex system is modular; you can get NAS,USB, FireWire and Thunderbolt adapters (possibly others as well, haven't checked).

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 30, 2013 at 2:29 am

    I guess Instant Backup is included with your Drive. It is meant for GoFlex, GoFlex Desk, and GoFlex Home drives. You must have received a CD for it. This is the Guide of how to set it up :

  5. Jan Fritsch
    May 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    As far as I know it is a USB host port which only allows configuration and connection of other devices but the simplest thing is probably to just connect it and see if you can access the files via USB.

    If it doesn't work you can either retrieve the files via WiFi (which will probably be slow) or disassemble the drive, connect it to your computer internally (pretty much limited to desktop systems) or use an external case or SATA/IDE to USB adapter to access the files on it.

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