Has your external hard drive crashed? I may not be dead

Before explaining how to retrieve the information, we must understand that hard drives are very delicate pieces of hardware. For its correct operation, its different pieces must be placed in very precise positions between them, such as the head where the disc information is recorded, the arm and the needle that reads and records the data. All these pieces have to be aligned in a specific way and if they are not they stop working.

So in 99% of the time the failures of an external hard drive are going to be product of a blow that will displace these key pieces. The consequences of a simple blow can cause, for example, that if the arm is misaligned, it ends up scratching crucial parts of the disc and information is lost in the process.

Since a hard drive is a very precise mechanical part, our advice is that you contact a specialized data recovery service. Another tip that we give you is that you have a large capacity fixed storage unit in a fixed place such as in your home office or office and periodically dump the data from the external hard drive in case the latter fails.

Solutions to a damaged external drive

The solutions that we give you below have nothing to do with SSD storage units, so they are not applicable to this type of device. So we have decided to focus our advice on what are the HDD or mechanical hard drives of a lifetime.

The PC does not recognize the damaged external disk

It is possible that after a blow our damaged external hard drive does not work due to the fact that its interface and its power supply have been broken. We must bear in mind that external hard drives are nothing more than an internal hard drive that has been placed inside a box. So they usually include a SATA to USB converter inside, but this is not always the case and there are manufacturers who do not use the standard interfaces for their internal and external hard drives, but rather proprietary ones.

So if you open an external hard drive and you find an internal interface of the SATA type then you are in luck, since then you can connect it to an interface of the same type and dump the data to the PC. In the event that you are a laptop user, you can use an external interface SATA to USB 3.0 like the one we show you below:

UGREEN USB 3.0 to SATA III Adapter with UASP, SATA USB Cable for 3.5 “2.5” HDD SDD, Hard Drive Reader, Compatible with PC, Macbook, PS5, Xbox X / S, PS4, 16 TB MAX, with 12V Power Adapter



It is possible that with this you discover that what has failed with your external hard drive is the data input and output interface or the power supply of the same. In that case you may consider buying a new case as you see below:

If you come across this problem, keep in mind that it is the mildest that can happen to you, since the hard drive itself will not have been damaged.

The HDD makes a clack-clack sound

We connect our damaged external hard drive after it has had the accident to the USB port of our computer and what we observe is that the lights turn on so it receives power, but we see that it is not mounted in the environment of our operating system . Your only answer? A continuous and repetitive clack-clack.

In this case, do not despair, as the components of the head may have been damaged, but replacing it is a very complex job to perform. If this happens to you, do not despair, since it is highly likely that the HDD heads are not damaged and therefore you can recover the data you have stored.

Our advice? Contact a data recovery company if you consider that the economic value of this data is much higher than the cost of a repair of this type, do not hesitate.

damaged hard drive grated plate

We do not recommend continuing to use your hard drive for two reasons:

  • The first one is that you cannot read or write data and therefore it is not going to be a nice paperweight.
    The second is that you do not know what the position of the needle is and it could be grating the dishes on the hard drive.

If the last point occurs, then recovery becomes totally impossible, even for the most expert.

Wasting time

frozen damaged external hard drive

Surely you have heard esoteric ideas and out of all logic about recovering information from a damaged external hard drive, we warn you from the outset that they are useless for anything other than to waste time and look stupid. Among the different firefighter ideas that you have surely heard are:

  • Putting the hard drive in the freezer, which is absurd, as this will not reposition displaced parts or repair broken ones.
  • Give it a very strong blow to break it even more already in passing.
  • Place it in another orientation, for example if it was horizontally do it vertically.

Well, in the latter case that means that the hard disk can still be saved, in that case connect your hard disk to the PC and dump all the information that interests you, since then it will be time to replace it. Their hours and days of service are about to pass away and you don’t want to lose that valuable data.

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