I think my external HDD just died, help! What are my options?

NathanP2007

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Okay so in my families living room we have had a Seagate Expansion 2TB 3.5in USB3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive at the computer desk for the past few years. It hasn't gotten much use at all but it has data on it we want.

Recently in a time of needing to use it, it has operated extremely slowly and wouldn't always show up in "My Computer" (Windows 10). Last night I tried to copy and paste the photos on it to the computer it's connected to and it was going at 0-200KB transfer speed and said it would take 10 hours, then after like 15 minutes it spit out an error and when I checked "My Computer" the drive was gone.

So today I opened up the enclosure, took our the HDD and tried putting it in my PC and into a HDD enclosure. The drive spins up, and in the HDD enclosure Windows installs the "ATA/ATAPI Bridge Driver." However nothing shows up in "My Computer."

The drive has never made any negative sounds (clicks or such). It spins up when I attempt to use it but just doesn't show up in Windows. Do you have any thoughts? Has anyone ever used a "Data Recovery" company before? TBH I'd pay a few hundred bucks to get the data recovered and onto a new drive. It's hard for me to imagine the failure is mechanical.
 

DrLobotomy

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Can / did you plug it into SATA cable attached directly to motherboard? Can you see the drive in the BIOS?
 

NathanP2007

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Can / did you plug it into SATA cable attached directly to motherboard? Can you see the drive in the BIOS?

Seeing the drive in BIOS is a thing I need to check, however yes, as I said in my OP; "I tried putting it in my PC" which means I plugged in a SATA cable from my Mobo to the HDD.

Update: Yes the HDD shows up in my BIOS.
 

DrLobotomy

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Can you see it in Drive Management in Windows? What kind of info does it say about the drive if you can see it?
 

DrLobotomy

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They had some issues with SOME 2 TB models. Not sure if related, but this drive sounds dead.

You can try out SeaTools or whatever they call it nowadays that Seagate makes to diagnose their drives.
 

jwcalla

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I had this happen to me recently on a 500 GB model. I eventually gave up and threw it into my graveyard in the closet. Same symptoms though: it would power on, but I couldn't get a single OS to recognize that it even existed.
 

Hagrid

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If the data is important you can try replacing the board on it with a new one. Pretty easy to do but it may not fix it.
 
D

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If the data is important you can try replacing the board on it with a new one. Pretty easy to do but it may not fix it.

This can often be the problem, something goes bad on the PCB, rather than the platters etc inside. You need to make sure you get the exact same PCB and you have to swap over the BIOS chip from one to the other, so in most cases you need to have a hot air soldering iron to remove and replace the chip, I have done a few times to recover data off of desktop drives, many 2.5" drives this is not removable.

You can find off of eBay, or more known places like www.donordrives.com or www.hddzone.com.

And last but not least, if this is data you WANT, keep a freaking backup, really, 2TB drives are cheap, or keep an online backup plan. I do both for data I really need to have. Main computer has two drives, one for the data, another for backup, it is also backed up on my local server, and also on a portable drive for must have data, I then also use backblaze for online backup. Live and learn.
 

NathanP2007

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This can often be the problem, something goes bad on the PCB, rather than the platters etc inside. You need to make sure you get the exact same PCB and you have to swap over the BIOS chip from one to the other, so in most cases you need to have a hot air soldering iron to remove and replace the chip, I have done a few times to recover data off of desktop drives, many 2.5" drives this is not removable.

You can find off of eBay, or more known places like www.donordrives.com or www.hddzone.com.

And last but not least, if this is data you WANT, keep a freaking backup, really, 2TB drives are cheap, or keep an online backup plan. I do both for data I really need to have. Main computer has two drives, one for the data, another for backup, it is also backed up on my local server, and also on a portable drive for must have data, I then also use backblaze for online backup. Live and learn.

Very interesting. I would be inclined to think mine is having this issue or something similar considering the drive spins up (with no clicks or noises) and my BIOS sees it and when I put in my "eject a drive" sees it, it just never shows up in "My Computer" or in any other spot hard drives should show up to access them or format them.

Here's my question: So it seems totally worth trying for $40. However I do take some comfort in knowing that my drive can likely get the data off of it by professionals (even if it cost $600) at some point in the next few years. Does trying to replace the PCB put that at risk? Or the platters are untouched anyways so I might as well try it and if it doesnt work I just put it back how it was?

BTW, just to double check, this is my hard drive from the backup enclosure:

Model: ST2000DM001
PN: 1CH164 - 571
SN: W240RRE0

On HDDZone.com it looks like this one is correct. On Donordrives.com there are two options, and i'm not sure the difference. There is this one which has in its title "1332 C" and then there is this one which has "1332 E" in its title. However on the sticker on my drive I can't find either to figure out if my drive is a "C" or a "E." Any help with that would be great.
 

DTN107

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I'm not as experience as other folks here but since you can see it within the bios.

Try downloading "getdataback" (NTFS version). It is a paid software unless you have other means of acquiring it.

It takes a while to run but I had a lot of success with it.
 

rat

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Your only realistic option at this point is hire someone to slap yourself upside the head for being such a fucking dumbass as to not make proper mirrored backups of sensitive data.

Data recovery is expensive and not a guarantee. This is only worth doing if the data actually has more value than the cost of recovery.

Otherwise, it's a lesson to be learned. Always keep a minimum of two copies of all of your data. With the advent of online storage, using Google Drive, OneDrive by Microsoft, Dropbox, etc... there's no reason not to set up backup job for all of your sync folders to copy that stuff onto an external.
 

Bageland2000

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Your only realistic option at this point is hire someone to slap yourself upside the head for being such a fucking dumbass as to not make proper mirrored backups of sensitive data.

I think you could have conveyed this lesson without wording it that way

OP, two backups, at least one outside of your house, is a must for critical data. Regardless of what you are able to recover, it's a good idea to learn your lesson now and ensure you backup your data at least twice. This can even mean backing up to a second HDD and giving it to a friend. Data services such as Amazon S3/Google Drive/etc. is something to look into as well.
 

NathanP2007

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I think you could have conveyed this lesson without wording it that way

OP, two backups, at least one outside of your house, is a must for critical data. Regardless of what you are able to recover, it's a good idea to learn your lesson now and ensure you backup your data at least twice. This can even mean backing up to a second HDD and giving it to a friend. Data services such as Amazon S3/Google Drive/etc. is something to look into as well.

Thanks but guys, I bought a Synology NAS with two HDD's in it (the second a mirror). I was taking data off the backup drive that failed to put on that. So I was literally doing what you guys are recommending (getting my important data into a truly safe backup medium), it just so happened that the backup Seagate external drive crapped out while I was trying to do it.
 
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