XP - western digital external hard drive clicks of death
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Thread: XP - western digital external hard drive clicks of death

  1. #1
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    XP - western digital external hard drive clicks of death

    Greetings all. Last night one of my WD MyBook usb hard drives failed. I lost 350gb worth of stuff, including some of my old music I'd recorded that I hadn't backed up in a while.
    I feel like a gigantic moron for not backing up, and I should.
    I turn the drive on and I get 3 clicks, then another 3 clicks. Windows recognizes that a usb drive has been inserted, and the safely remove hardware message comes up, but the drive doesn't get assigned a letter. I can go into the device manager and it's listed there under disk drives, but it's not in My Computer.
    I did some research, and this seems to be a fairly common theme with WD drives. Noted for the future.
    I found a website that has a walkthru on how to open the casing up and remove the drive. Supposedly it's worked for some people to then hook it up internally to a comp. I can try that, but I've also read about freezing a hard drive, and sometimes that enables it to work again long enough to get some data off of it.
    Should I try to remove the drive from the casing first, and see if it works that way? I'm leery of trying to freeze it and then condensation getting in the drive and ruining it completely. On the other hand, the process of removing the casing sounds involved, and freezing it would be quite easier.
    A data recovery service is out of the question. I don't have the thousands of dollars it would cost.
    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandizer74 View Post

    Should I try to remove the drive from the casing first, and see if it works that way?
    That's what I'd try first. Then if that failed, I'd probably try the freezing.

  3. #3
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    I've used the freezing method on quite a few occasions, and it has often worked long enough to extract the info I needed. You should use that as the last option, trying to first install it internally as SpywareDr suggested.
    From what you described though, it sounds like it has physical problems which is causing the drive to not be recognized as a formatted drive. This will be problematic, even after freezing it, because you will need to use data recovery software just to see the contents of the drive. After freezing it, you will have limited time to work on it (if any all) so you should install a program that can read a non formatted hard drive first. I use Find & Mount to mount a non-formatted partition and then copy the most important things in the limited time I have.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Just so you know this statement is only for WD MyBook's. I've used internal WD drives for years with no failure.

    I did some research, and this seems to be a fairly common theme with WD drives. Noted for the future.
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  5. #5
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    I find it happens equally with drives from all the major brands. It's just a matter of luck IMO.

  6. #6
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    Well, maybe so, in your world. I have a 5.1 WD from win98 and it's still working. So, I prefer to go by the years it has performed and consistently buy WD.
    New 8 core
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  7. #7
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    Not sure if it's region sensitive
    I've seen some very old drives as well, including Maxtor, Seagate and IBM. I've had all brands dead on arrival, and some dying after 1 year or less. It has a lot to do with luck, but also the conditions it is used in, including how often you turn your computer on and off, whether there are a lot of electricity outages (if you don't have a UPS), and even if the box full of HD's fell or was mishandled during shipping.

  8. #8
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    ok, thanks to everyone for replying. here's where i'm at. I got the drive out of the casing. I bought a sata to usb connector cable from compusa. I downloaded find and mount. it finds the drive as usb device. it's a 500gb drive, but the size it finds is 2199gb. I did a scan and it couldn't find any partitions on the drive. was there something else I should've done? I've looked over the find and mount site, but it seems pretty straightforward.
    at this point, unless someone else can suggest something for me, I'm going to freeze the drive and see what happens tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    I'd try connecting it directly to the computer. If it's an IDE, hook it up to an IDE cable; if it's SATA, hook it up to a SATA cable.

  10. #10
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    grandizer74,
    Did you have any luck with freezing the drive? I'm having the exact same problem, and am about to give up on it. Freezing was going to be my final attempt to recover the data, but it would be great to hear if it actually worked for someone else who is going through the same issue.

  11. #11
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    Yes, freezing does work, or at least 70% of the time for me.

    200 ways to revive a hard drive. PDF hot link
    http://www.hddrecovery.com.au/PDF/200ways.pdf
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

  12. #12
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    And more good articles here:

    Hard drive revival

    How to fix a dead hard drive

  13. #13
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    no luck. I tried it with that external sata to usb cable and then putting it in the computer too. I haven't looked at the other links yet. I'm pretty much giving it up as lost, and learning from the experience the harsh lesson of complacency and not regularly backing things up.

  14. #14
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    If it's any consolation, most of us learned the hard way too. You won't forget to back up again after this, I guarantee

  15. #15
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    Hello,

    I'm not a tech but may have some advice to help you. I owned a PC with a Western Digital EIDE drive and downloaded a free utility called Data Lifeguard. It looks like yours is a SATA drive and I suggest going to http://support.wdc.com/product/downl...vel1=1&lang=en and download a utility for the type of My Book you own.

    There's a website called www.grc.com that has a few free utilities I've used including Shields Up which tests a firewall. Steve Gibson is the owner and has a program called Spin Rite which goes for $89 and works on external drives. You may want to check out the two videos of him talking about Spin Rite on TV and read all the info at http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm. One poster on techrepublic.com has had three dead computers so far and used Spin Rite with great success on all three with full data recovery.

    I've never had an external drive but I suggest in the future you make a boot disk for XP if you don't already have one. Open Windows Explorer, click on tools, folder options, view then check the radio button to show hidden files and folders. Copy NTDETECT.COM, ntldr and boot.ini from the C: drive to the A: drive. Do this also from your external drive to another diskette and label them.

    You may want to try a free or trial utility to test your external drive and ask a tech or someone more knowledgeable than me about using the Windows Recovery Console Center for the external drive. But it uses Windows checkdisk and probably wonít fix a dying hard drive. You will have to add another file, cmldr, to the boot disk to have the option of starting the Windows Recovery Console. If your external drive isnít dying and you can get into safe mode verify all the Windows files by clicking on start, run, typing sfc /scannow and pressing OK. You will need your XP disk if files need to be replaced.

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