How can I recover data from a faulty USB external hard drive?

OZZY February 5, 2010
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I have Western Digital USB External Hard Drive Cap 1GB

I begin noticing the problems after my son drop it while I was using it After that I was not being able to have access from my computer, but windows does recognize it on the device manager.

I need to rescue my files 3 yrs of familiy fotos and videos. I tried to see maybe it would work on my laptop but I get 2 messages, one is: “Device I/O error” and the other is “Drive not formatted”, its asking me to format the drive I don’t want to do that.

Can anybody help, Please any suggestions.

Ok the Question is; Is there a good software that I can use to fix my problem?, whats the name?

  1. Tubular8
    September 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    You"re Fucked

  2. Gajendra_t1
    July 19, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I also had dropped my disk and got a similar message. I tried Ubuntu, Initially it worked however, after some time it stopped working. 
    I have been able to overcome the problem by formating the drive ad recovering data through recova ( a opensource Data recovery tool). However, I had to sort out may data. In a way good excercise as I removed a lot of unwanted data.

  3. sford68
    February 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm


    The advice below is based on just what info you have given in the question and that the USB controller sees a drive and so I'm assuming the controller is working.

    1) Turn the drive off right now. You have a spinning platter hard drive that was dropped while it was running, you most likely have had a head crash ( if the head is not "parked" when it was dropped the head will hit the surface of the spinning platter and damage the head and the surface of the disk).

    2) IF it is a head crash and I think it is, software will not fix this type of failure but if you want to follow the software path I have had very good luck with Spinrite but you will need to connect the drive internally and not on a USB adapter.

    3) You will never have those 3 years again. If it were me I would just not risk anymore damage to the drive and send it to Drive Savers or i365 (Seagate) [Broken Link Removed] You are going to pay through the nose but they should be able to get the data back.

    4) Storage is cheap, if you don't have it saved in two places you don't have a backup. I have four copies of all my wedding photos. DVDs are very cheap too, send copies to the in-laws every year.

    5) Hard drives fail, period.

    6) Good luck.

    P.S. Putting a drive in a freezer has not worked since the last gasp days of full height 5.25 and 3.5 hard drives (Who among you remembers the Quantum Big Foot?) . The heads would stick on the out side edge of the platters and some times the bearings would lockup and when you put in the freezer the metals would contract at different rates this SOMETIMES allowed the drive to spin again for long enough to get the data off.

  4. smiller
    February 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I've read that putting the drive in a freezer for a few hours and then hooking it up to the PC works sometimes. I've done it twice and it didn't work at all.

    You can also open up the enclosure and take out the hard drive and hook it up directly to the computer using IDE or SATA. I've done that before and it worked.

    • Tina
      February 5, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      I also tried freezing my hard drive when it died and that didn't seem to work. After lying around for two years, however, (not in the freezer, though) the drive miraculously worked again. So who knows...
      Fingers crossed!

      • pceasies
        June 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

        The freeze shrinks the parts inside the drive (heat expands, cold shrinks) so the idea is the parts can move easier and hopefully properly. If the hard drive logic board failed, freezing doesn't help, all depends on the failure.

        Freezing also originated with old drives and doesn't tend to apply to new drives either.

  5. Anonymous
    February 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Try booting your computer from an Ubuntu live cd and then access the drive from within Ubuntu. Ubuntu is more tolerant to faults that windows is.

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