Can I recover my undetected external hard drive myself if I can feel the disk spinning?

Le santi Dolino August 27, 2012

MY 500GB Western Digital external hard disk cannot be detected by any computer even though its lights switch on and I can feel the disk is spinning. What can I do?

Can I fix this by myself because the data recovery company want S$1100 to help me out. Thanks!

  1. A D Jones
    November 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    I had a Western Digital 1 Terabyte External Hard Drive for my Direct TV DVR that after 2 years would not be recognized by the DVR. Tried over and over to get it to work. Had lots of movies recorded. Read about freezing the hard drive. Realized that freezing will not hurt electronics at all. Totally safe. Put the unit into the freezer for 6 hours. Stored at room temp for 12 hours and the hard drive now works perfectly.

  2. mugilan
    November 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    my hard disk getting detected and its spinning...also showing removable disk icon..when i clicks removable disk icon its showing insert disk and not opening..please any one suggest me what to do....i have important data in that..please tell me how to recover my data .....

  3. Cheryl Safonov
    November 22, 2012 at 1:23 am

    If it can't be detected by any computer, you can't use any software to get your files back! Just bring it to a data recovery service if your data worth the price!

  4. Alex Macpal
    November 15, 2012 at 3:15 am

    I want to clean my 3.5" SATA hard drive of my PC from viruses. Since I can not install antivirus on it (coz it always banned by the resident virus in the hard drive) so I take the hard drive out of my PC and connect thru USB cable (using R-Drive III jumper USB2.0 to SATA IDE cable) to my laptop which has anti virus to be scanned. But it can not be detected, while I'm successfully done with my IDE hard drive.
    How to encounter this problem of my SATA hard drive?

  5. anand
    November 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    i am very much upset by the seagate brand external harddisk(i have one 320gb harddisk).
    it was working good and suddenly today morning it is not working, i changed the cable and its still not working...... what to do?......
    i stored my all works for past 6 years inside it,
    what to do now, can any one help me in this and i would very happy to support you in future,
    please help me out in this matter?.....
    if not help me how to take the backup for the datas inside it....

  6. Akki
    November 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    HI..i have an iomega external harddisk with me..i had access to it till the day before yesterday,,but from that day it is not detected by my lappy anymore..i have tried to connect it to another laptop..but it resulted the same..i can sense that harddisk is spinning..and the led indicator that the hdd is working is glowing..i have some important data in can i recover my data?? anyone help please!!

    • susendeep dutta
      November 12, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Try to explore the external HDD using Linux live CD like Ubuntu,Linux mint.

  7. Afrasiab
    September 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Yes..Clone your hard drive with another system, it will help to detect your hard drive. You may check cable and extensions. Also try disk inspection software.

  8. cypherinfo
    September 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hello, try easus data recovery wizrd professional:
    try it, is free trial to download. That was the only app that worked when I find in troubles. It is capable to recover deleted files too.
    I'd suggest you to run an antivirus scan after the recover.
    Let me know if it worked; if not I'll help you; contact me on twitter: @cypherinfo
    Remember that the reason why you do not have access to your hard disk may be: it is a boot disk; so when you plug it windows cannot recognize it: you have to access it and change not to boot disk; the other one is you have to assign it ownership and admin permissions; right click go to security tab, click advanced under the Permissions for SYSTEm and go on.

    • Le santi Dolino
      September 2, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Thanks for the information. But I already gave up on this one. it seems a part of my hdd got burned due to power fluctuation. I appreciate all your help. God bless you all always

      • mani kumar
        September 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

        just in case if HD is still same as before...i would like to suggest u to use TESTDISK software for recovering the data free of cost. I have done that just 2 days ago. mail me if u need any help.

  9. Sri Swaminathan Vanarasi
    August 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    hey finally this software "Stellar Phoenix NTFS Data Recovery" helped me in recovering data..
    this may also help in ur case .:)

    • ahnaf
      October 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Sri Swaminathan Vanarasi, i am also having the same problem like you had and i've already downloaded the "Stellar Phoenix NTFS Data Recovery" software...could u tell me which method did u use in the software to recover the data??

      your help would be much appreciated.TQ

  10. Oliver Powell
    August 28, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Hello Dolino,

    You can remove the case of the dead hard drive and check hard drive equipments one by one to come out with failing part like header, platter, spindle motor. Once you are done with that, post your results here and I'll let you know how to replace that particular part to make your hard drive working.

    Good Luck!!

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Thank you for your concern Mr. Powell. I will try to open my unit after work. Thank you very much

  11. Sri Swaminathan Vanarasi
    August 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    hi Le santi Dolino,
    Even i am facing the same problem with my Seagate 500GB Hard disk..
    but my HDD is getting detected i disk Management and even in device manager and also in boot menu..
    i tired different Recovery tools , didnt Work:(
    i'll let u know of i get the solution for this .:)

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 28, 2012 at 2:19 am

      Thanks Mr. Vanarasi but we have different issues since mine cannot be detected anywhere. Worst come to worst.. I will just let the data recovering company to recover my files even though their charges are quite unreasonable to me. :(

  12. venkatp16
    August 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Did you check the USB pin or try changing it first. even this didn't help you then i think there is no other way

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 28, 2012 at 2:16 am

      Yes, all the usb pin is fine and I also tried other cable also. I think I will buy a new same model and disassemble the two hard drives and interchange the parts. worth a gamble. thanks

  13. Bruce Epper
    August 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

    The drive can be removed from the encosure (not an easy project) and installed as an internal drive in a desktop system. I've had to do this with several WD external drives when the USB controller in the unit fails.

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Yes, i think that's the last option I have. I just need to find the appropriate cable for this one. If not maybe I will just throw this away

      Sheesh... WD is such a letdown. I shouldn't have stored all my works and documents on it If I just know this will happen. Worst brand ever..

      Thank you all for your support

      • megha
        November 18, 2012 at 3:54 am

        Yes are absolutely right .
        I had some issues with my Dell laptop which was under warranty , so had to back up the data from it, so I bought this HD WD Mybook essentials 1 tb from Best buy in 100 bucks. Dell people came to my house and fixed the problem free of cost . I have all my important data backed up into the wd hard drive and now it is not getting detected , it is not initialized . I tried everything , even contacted wd support , they are are ready to replace the HD as it is under warranty but wont help with data recovery .
        I have gave up now. WD hard drives are worst ever . I will never buy or recommend WD product to anybody

  14. ha14
    August 27, 2012 at 7:45 am

    1) Right-click on “My Computer” then Click on “Manage”
    2) Double-click “Disk Management” You will probably see WD Disk
    3) Right-click in the left portion of that drive box WD Disk
    4) Click “Initialize” and “OK” in the next dialog box. Wait few seconds and it should now say “Online” in the box.
    5) If there is no assigned drive letter, right click on the big space of your WD hard drive then choose Assign drive letter or Change Driver Letter and Path

    Plug in your USB drive.
    Open the command prompt (Click Start -> Run -> type cmd.exe and press Enter)

    Type in the following:
    1. diskpart
    2. list disk
    see if your hard drive is listed

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 27, 2012 at 8:03 am


      Sorry, yet still I cannot see any WD Disk in the Disk Management or any un-assigned drive that I can distinguish as my external hdd and also it does not shows up the list of hard drive in the command prompt you mentioned even though the blue light is blinking and I can feel the disk is spinning.. Seems to me there is a problem within my hdd...

      • john benjamin
        January 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

        I also facing the same problem, i don't know how to recover my data, plz help me.

    • ratheesh ravi
      January 5, 2013 at 3:21 am

      thanks buddy, till this is ok.

      my hard disk is listed, but even then its not been detected

      • ha14
        January 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

        go to device manager locate your hard drive right click on it and choose uninstall (do not delete) reboot and see if it will be recognized. (depending on the hard drive problem this can also make your hard drive not listed in diskpart, use it with your own risk!!)

        1. Go to run and type cmd then right click on it and choose run as administrator
        2. type DISKPART and hit enter
        3. type : LIST DISK. This will show you all the connected disk with the offline one.
        4. Now select the offline disk using the next command SELECT DISK wheredisk_no is the offline disk number which you can get from step 3 result.
        5. Now you have selected the offline disk. Now enter command ONLINE DISK.

        Tips for solving problems with USB devices

  15. April Eum
    August 27, 2012 at 7:43 am

    if it blinks green, that means that the external hard drive is fine, no damage to the drive itself. but i figure your connection is the culprit here, maybe fix the usb interface. have you tried taking out the hard drive and putting it into an actual laptop or even an hdd enclosure would work.

    • Le santi Dolino
      August 27, 2012 at 7:52 am

      thanks for the reply. yes, it blinks green however any computer will not detect it. The enclosure is not the issue because the chord is directly connected to the hard drive. I just ordered online for a universal drive adaptor and will follow the steps I've seen in youtube... maybe I will try that one after I receive the package. I still need to find someone who can assist me with your suggestion since I dont want to risk anything on my laptop. Thank you very much

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