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Hard drive crashed - advice
Old 07-22-2018, 05:59 PM   #1
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Hard drive crashed - advice

First, I have a backup so this is not a catistrophic event. DW does a lot of work on her pictures. Mostly naming and filing/categorizing. Unfortunately, since the last backup, she did a lot of work, so it’s worth spending money on seeing if it can be fixed. The drive is a portable external drive. As she moved her laptop, it hit the floor and stopped working. It’s making a significant clicking sound, but it will not recognize the disk. In other words, plugging it in returns nothing but a mechanical clicking noise.

My question is, does anyone think it’s possible to get it fixed and if so, how? It’s a WD passport and I was thinking the manufacturer could either fix the mechanical parts or even swap the disks into another unit. Am I being unrealistic?
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:22 PM   #2
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My question is, does anyone think itís possible to get it fixed and if so, how? Itís a WD passport and I was thinking the manufacturer could either fix the mechanical parts or even swap the disks into another unit. Am I being unrealistic?

If the hard drive is mechanically damaged, the usual fix is to swap the disk(s) into an identical working unit. There are online services that do this if WD is too hard to deal with. I have opened drives and looked for obvious defects, with about 50/50 success rate.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:28 PM   #3
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Data recovery is usually very expensive. If you've opened drives, closed them, and gotten them working again, bjorn2bwild, I'm very impressed! It might be worth a shot. Long term, it sounds like you need some sort of automatic backup. I use Dropbox and Google Drive for offsite storage, plus I have a 7TB NAS device, which is backed up onto an external hard drive. The two cloud storage devices are synced with my computers and the NAS.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:34 PM   #4
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Data recovery is usually very expensive. If you've opened drives, closed them, and gotten them working again, bjorn2bwild, I'm very impressed! It might be worth a shot. Long term, it sounds like you need some sort of automatic backup. I use Dropbox and Google Drive for offsite storage, plus I have a 7TB NAS device, which is backed up onto an external hard drive. The two cloud storage devices are synced with my computers and the NAS.
I agree on a better back up. Good news is that Iím sure I didnít lose any pictures. Though losing a lot of work still sucks. I get in touch with someone tomorrow. It would be worth a few bucks (probably a few hundred) if it can be fixed.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:42 PM   #5
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I killed a hard drive in the past just by trying to move around. The drive slipped out of my hands onto the carpet. About a 6 ft drop.
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Old 07-22-2018, 07:19 PM   #6
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First, I have a backup so this is not a catistrophic event. DW does a lot of work on her pictures. Mostly naming and filing/categorizing. Unfortunately, since the last backup, she did a lot of work, so it’s worth spending money on seeing if it can be fixed. The drive is a portable external drive. As she moved her laptop, it hit the floor and stopped working. It’s making a significant clicking sound, but it will not recognize the disk. In other words, plugging it in returns nothing but a mechanical clicking noise.

My question is, does anyone think it’s possible to get it fixed and if so, how? It’s a WD passport and I was thinking the manufacturer could either fix the mechanical parts or even swap the disks into another unit. Am I being unrealistic?
You may want to open it up to see if an internal connector jarred loose during the fall. Insufficient power to start up the drive will also cause the clicking sound so check for intermittent power from the USB connector on the drive side. If you don't see any issues with the connector then it's the drive itself that was damaged in which case you are SOL.
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:50 PM   #7
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Well I opened up the drive and the heads are parked. So I put power to it and the heads go about half way onto the disk and then back. It does this 5-10 times and then they park and it just goes still. The light is on, but no one is home. I was hoping it was something as easy as moving the heads to free them up, but they are moving freely, just not correctly. I know it means next to nothing, but the disk does not look damaged (at least not the top platter that I can see. Oh well. Probably send it off tomorrow.

Freedom56 - can't see any connector disconnected, but have to admit, it's so small and I don't know the layout so it's hard to be certain.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:46 AM   #8
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I would not want to depend on a repaired drive. Have the data recovered and put it on a new one. Also, I do not consider one copy to be safe. I keep duplicates. Drives are cheap.
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:38 AM   #9
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I dealt this with once at work. For $100, the service was able to give me a directory style listing of all the files that they could recover. For the additional $2000 they were able to recover all the files to a new drive that was sent to me. I think the service was the main one of the day, Ontrack Data Recovery.

FWIW, I once tried to help someone else who had a similar issue. They didn't want to pony up for the commercial recovery. We tried switching circuit boards between two identical drives. Unfortunately I could not read the bad disk even with the "new" circuit board. I didn't try to pull the actual platters however.

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Old 07-23-2018, 07:33 AM   #10
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Yeah, I found a place online that quoted $500. No cost if they couldn’t recover the disk. I’d pay it but DW is the frugal one and she won’t. I guess if we would have actually lost files, she would, but for $500, she’s willing to redo the work of organizing her files. I’m still thinking about trying to get a same model hard drive and try to swap out the platters. Logically that seems like it would work, but I don’t know if it’s possible. We’ll see. It will have to wait a bit. Me and DW are taking off for a couple days to celebrate or 37th anniversary. Mentally put this on hold for a bit.

Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:55 AM   #11
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Before you buy another drive to swap platters, open the existing drive and see how hard it is to get the platter out. Remember, it is sensitive to magnetic force. I tried to get a platter out. I ended up destroying the drive, and have no idea what I did to the platter. I was not interested in recovery, just how it went together. Needless to say, it would have never gone into another case!
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:26 AM   #12
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Yeah, I found a place online that quoted $500. No cost if they couldnít recover the disk. Iíd pay it but DW is the frugal one and she wonít. I guess if we would have actually lost files, she would, but for $500, sheís willing to redo the work of organizing her files. Iím still thinking about trying to get a same model hard drive and try to swap out the platters. Logically that seems like it would work, but I donít know if itís possible. Weíll see. It will have to wait a bit. Me and DW are taking off for a couple days to celebrate or 37th anniversary. Mentally put this on hold for a bit.

Thanks.
Sounds to me like a good choice by your DW and you. $500 is a lot to fork over especially since files weren't lost. Also, you can still try but without the added pressure. With the money saved from not hiring the data recovery, you could even use that to get some good backup software and a backup drive. I'm recently playing testing out some backup software which actually is pretty good and only costs $9.99 .
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:30 AM   #13
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Yeah, I wondered about that. I was thinking it might need sensitive alignment. I think it's a moot point though. I've searched for a drive with the exact model number and they aren't cheap. There are models with variations on the model number, but even those are expensive. Heck, if I have to pay more than $100 for a 1TB drive to try this, I think that money would be better spent to offset a professional's recovery cost. Much more likely to get the desired result.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:30 AM   #14
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I have had experience with this. I would try the easy stuff first. One time I found an identical circuit board on ebay. This fixed the problem. You seem to have diagnosed that it is mechanical not circuit board, but you never know. Replacing other identical parts is worth a shot. Is it in a drive enclosure? If so, try another drive enclosure.

Next are the 3rd party services. I have not had good success with these. Their ideal customer is someone who wants as much as possible recovered as quickly as possible. Cost is not a factor. I have had success with sending drives to the manufacturer. In one case, a 3rd party place wanted in the thousands for almost all recovered. Manufacturer wanted maybe $200 for a full recovery.

IMHO multiple backups are not the way to go forward. IMHO saving your stuff to a cloud service is the way to go. I am not talking about a cloud backup but cloud storage. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and everyone else has cloud storage of 1 TB or so for less than I paid for my last dinner out.

I have a home Raid NAS, that I backup monthly to an external hard drive. It is aging out and no one is in that business anymore. Why would they when cloud storage is so cheap?
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:35 AM   #15
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Sounds to me like a good choice by your DW and you. $500 is a lot to fork over especially since files weren't lost. Also, you can still try but without the added pressure. With the money saved from not hiring the data recovery, you could even use that to get some good backup software and a backup drive. I'm recently playing testing out some backup software which actually is pretty good and only costs $9.99 .
I have good backup software, it's just not automatic. So, I don't have a good back up protocol. The software I use is AOMEI backupper. It was free for the basic functions, but the basic functions are all I need. One of the functions will make a disk clone, which is nice.


Now for the funny part - in March, I backed up all the files. I did this in two places, my internal drive and an external drive. But I also did a clone of my wife's drive onto a third (portable) drive. Guess what - DW cannot find that drive. I guess one rule for a back up protocol is to write down where you hid the drive.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:43 AM   #16
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It's over. Replace the drive.

As others have said...would you really want to trust a drive that you had repaired? Not worth the time or the effort.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:55 AM   #17
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It's over. Replace the drive.

As others have said...would you really want to trust a drive that you had repaired? Not worth the time or the effort.
I wasn't going to trust the repaired drive, just use it to get the data off. But I agree, it's over.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:55 AM   #18
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I have good backup software, it's just not automatic. So, I don't have a good back up protocol. The software I use is AOMEI backupper. It was free for the basic functions, but the basic functions are all I need. One of the functions will make a disk clone, which is nice.


Now for the funny part - in March, I backed up all the files. I did this in two places, my internal drive and an external drive. But I also did a clone of my wife's drive onto a third (portable) drive. Guess what - DW cannot find that drive. I guess one rule for a back up protocol is to write down where you hid the drive.
I've heard of and used AOMEI backupper before. It's really nice for free software. I also have there free partition manager program when I have to quickly re-size partitions or delete partitions on drives I can't easily read.

The backup software I use on my primary machine is Macrium Reflect. They also have a free version (nice for making clones or complete images), but for incremental backups (like nightly backups), not on the free version. Plus, cost was about $70 for the version I bought years ago.

The $9.99 software I have on my other machine (I have a lot of machines ) is Ashampoo Backup Pro 11. I bought a program called Start10 from a company called Stardock and then got the backup program offer in my email. An offer I couldn't refuse. Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 does do scheduled incremental backups. I'm considering the program a poor man/woman's Macrium Reflect.

On another thread, I've been agonizing about should I move to Win 10 or Linux in the future. Automatic backups is a big factor for me in deciding which way to go. I like the idea of having the backups run automatically and stored to a separate drive while I'm sleeping. So, if something bad happens, at least I'll have a good system backup to restore from as of the morning.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:26 AM   #19
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IMHO multiple backups are not the way to go forward. IMHO saving your stuff to a cloud service is the way to go.
I'm not a fan of online backups. What happens if you need to recover a file and your internet connection is down? My connection was down for 8 hours earlier this week due to a cut fiber optic cable. I would hate to have waited that long just to recover a file I needed.

What happens if your hard drive dies? You can't boot up the operating system to run the program you need to recover your files. So you have to reinstall the OS, reinstall the backup software, THEN you can recover your files. That's a lot of work, and takes a lot of time.

Another problem with online backups is they are SLOW. If you only have a few Word files or photos to backup, that might be OK. But if you generate any significant data, like editing video or recording TV shows, an online backup becomes unusable. I can easily generate 10-50GB of new data every day.

I've also found that many online backup services only back up selected files or folders. Inevitably, the file or folder you need is the one that wasn't included in the backup.

Also, who's to say your backup service will be there when you need it? You backup regularly thinking you are safe, but the company goes out of business when you need to recover your files. Or maybe the site is hacked and your data is corrupted. Or worse yet, someone uses your data without your knowledge.

I prefer to perform an automated full image backup nightly to a 3TB external hard drive. I use "Macrium Reflect" but there are plenty of other backup options out there. This drive is my "oops" drive. If I accidentally delete a file I can recover it quickly and easily from the backup drive. It's also my emergency drive in case my main drive fails completely. I can install a new hard drive, boot up a recovery program, and restore ALL of my data, programs, and operating system quickly and easily.

However, an always connected backup drive is still vulnerable to computer viruses, power surges, fires, theft, etc. So about once a month I swap that drive with a second drive I keep in a safe deposit box at the bank.

Then, as an added layer of protection, I burn my most valuable data (photos, videos, financial records, etc.) to BluRay data discs once a year or so. If files are corrupted on my hard drive without my knowledge, those corrupted files could theoretically migrate through my backups. Data on BluRay discs won't change once they are written, so I know once I burn the data it's there for good. Of course, BluRay's are slow and unreliable for the long term so I only use them as a extra protection layer, not as my primary backup.

You have do decide how valuable your data is to you. Nearly every aspect of our life is stored on my computer, irreplaceable photos, home videos, financial records, health records, genealogy records, reference material, music, program source code, and my business records. Losing data is not an option. I have to be able to backup quickly, restore quickly, and be sure I have some way to recover my data even if the house burns down, my internet connection is gone, or my backup drive fails. I'm not going to trust a third party service to handle this for me.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:54 AM   #20
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Additionally, aren't online backups subscription based? A program like Macrium Reflect, is buy once, unless you want to upgrade in the future. I'm on version 6 and they've been trying to get me to upgrade to version 7 for over a year. But I'm fine with ver 6. Macrium tries by email, but not within the software, which I'm happy about as no nagging within the software.
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