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External HD not showing. Will a SATA dock help?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by EasyToAssemble, Jul 18, 2013.

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  1. EasyToAssemble

    EasyToAssemble Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Hello all,

    After quite a bit of searching, I'd be immensely grateful for any advice on the following external HD problem.

    After a bump to my Western Digital Elements 3TB external drive (from above - it wasn't dropped), it is no longer recognised in Explorer. I've tried the usual Disk Management trick and it's not showing there either.

    The symptom is that once the adapter lead is plugged into the back of the HD, it makes the usual quiet upward whirring sound as if it's about to spin up, but does nothing after that (there's usually a small "rumbling" noise following drive spin-up where they're reading the data, but there's none on this drive). The power light then blinks indefinitely with no sign of life in Explorer/Disk Management.

    After looking at the costly option of data recovery (£295 UK price), I started seeing a few tech sites that suggest removing the SATA drive from it's enclosure and either using a SATA Reading Dock, or going one step further and finding a replacement Western Digital PCB chipboard (ensuring the batch code/serial on the WD drive matches the PCB being used) and swapping this over to retrieve the data.

    I'm not interested in fixing up my drive for continuous use (to be honest, I no longer trust the WD drive even though the impact was my fault), but would very much like to retrieve the data. My entire music collection (including my former CD collection) is on there, and besides the fact that £295 is very expensive (I could rebuy at least all my favourite albums for that), there is also...errr....the usual "adult content" that I'd prefer they didn't see down at the recovery lab :eek:. My rationale is if this simply requires changing a few screws - and not actually getting inside the spindle area (I would definitely leave that job to the pros) then there might not be a need for a full-blown recovery job, which I'm reluctant to pay for anyway.

    Does anyone have a good diagnosis of what the exact problem with the drive might be based upon my above description? Some other suggestions have included things as simple as a broken solder between the USB port and the SATA drive. Before I go prying open my drive and/or buying gadgets and PCBs I don't need, would a careful, basic DIY-job be a good way to go? I'm semi-resigned to the drive being a lost cause, so I figure it can't actually hurt to try.
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Rob
    I'm guessing you forgot to make that all important backup of your data?

    The dock will only help IF the damage is to the enclosure, either the USB port or the converter electronics, this is a possibility. Swapping the circuit board will ONLY help IF the drive's electronics are damaged, this is unlikely. If the damage is to the platters inside the drive then neither one of those will help, this is also very possible since the drive was physically bumped.
     
  3. EasyToAssemble

    EasyToAssemble Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the advice on that. I figure a dock is only about £30 (40ish dollars), which I can always resell, so it would be no great loss if it doesn't work.

    On this subject, does anyone have any recommendations for UK (or even European) data recovery companies who don't cost the earth.
     
  4. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Rob
    You don't even need a dock if you have a desktop, you can simply connect the drive to a SATA data and power cable, the DVD drive is a good candidate to give up it's cables for a quick test.
     
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