DISCLAIMER : If you have important files on a failing hard drive please have a professional data recovery company work to retrieve them. The information in this article is for general informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as fact or a guarantee for repair or otherwise. These tips may not work for certain types of hardrive issues as results may vary. Any damage as a result of attempting to repair your own drive is at your own risk!
We all know that dreaded, lump in your throat, moment when something feels off with your hard drive. It’s not spinning up and your data is in purgatory. You wanna curl up in a ball and cry, but don’t worry, we’ve been there too. Take a deep breath, try to keep calm, because more than likely, your data is not gone forever and you’re going to get it back. You’ve been scouring the internet to find answers on how to fix this, luckily you found us and we’re here to help.
Todays drives like the Lacie Rugged, Sandisk Extreme SSD, Western Digital Black, and Seagate Expansion offer extremely reliable data storage. But sometimes things happen. Your toddler feeds the drive to their goldfish or your drive falls off the back of your truck. Whatever the issue, you need your data back. Lets find out how.
Related: Fix: Laptop Runs Slow When Plugged In
Congratulations, you have a hard drive thats stopped working. First, you’re in denial, “Theres no way this is happening to me”, you say. Then you yell “fuck!” in anger. But after that it sinks and you gather your senses, you do a few Google searches and here you are. Its not your fault, drives fail (unless you dropped it, then its your fault). So let’s take a look why a drive might fail.
Firstly, a drive can fail randomly for no reason at all. Faulty parts maybe, but with electronics anything is possible I guess. More than likely though, barring any catastrophic fall from a high rise or it slipping off the boat on the lake, it most like has a stuck drive head or corrupted firmware.
When a hard drive fails to spin up, but was otherwise working properly without any external factors like impact, water, or heat damage, it often can be from firmware stored on the pcb that has become corrupted. Hard drives have a Printed Circuit Board that acts as the central hub that controls how your drive performs. The pcb has a specific firmware programmed into it and if it becomes corrupted or some how altered its like cutting off the chickens head. Your drive wont know how to spool up, transfer data, or save your files.
Generally, theres really no way to clear out and reinstall the firmware on a bad pcb. Your only real option if you decide to go down this road is to source a duplicate pcb board for your hard drive and swap it out. This is easier than it sounds as firmware versions can vary widely on a particular drive during its production run. You’ll have to find one with all the exact serial numbers and firmware version printed on the pcb if that info is even printed there at all. Your best bet is Ebay to source a chip, you may have to try a few to bring your drive back to life.
Heres a video showing how to do a potential pcb swap.
Another common issue with External Hard Drive (hhd’s) is the reader head. The head reads the data on the spinning metal platters. Every once in a while, the head can become stuck, rendering your drive useless. While not necessarily a kiss of death, this is a pretty bad situation for the drive as it could mean there is potentially some sort of mechanic failure. In some cases, the problem may be a simple, one that can be resolved without the need for professional assistance, There is a way to simply dislodge the reader head manually, and it could get the drive going again, at which point you should immediately run a back up because it may very well seize up again.
If you have a stuck reader in a hard disk drive (HDD), it can be frustrating and seem like a daunting task to fix. However, with a few simple steps, you might be able to easily dislodge a stuck reader and get your HDD working again. Here’s what you need to do:
- First, shut down your computer and unplug it from the power source. This will prevent any electrical surges or shocks that could damage your computer or HDD.
- Next, gently shake the HDD to try and loosen the stuck reader. Be careful not to shake it too hard, as this could cause additional damage.
- If shaking the HDD doesn’t work, try using a can of compressed air to blow out any dust or debris that may be preventing the reader from moving. Be sure to hold the can upright and spray the air in short bursts to avoid freezing the reader.
- If the reader still doesn’t budge, try gently pushing or pulling on it with your fingers. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could damage the reader or the HDD itself.
- If none of these steps work, it’s best to seek professional assistance to avoid causing further damage to your HDD. A trained technician will be able to safely and effectively dislodge the stuck reader and get your HDD working again.
Below is a pretty good how to video we found that may guide you in the right direction if you think its within your wheelhouse of skills to try out:
Related: Hard Drive Not Spinning Up Fix Professional Assistance Benefits
For very tech savvy readers, below is a video that shows a tech swap some chips on a pcb. I’d recommend just watching for the sheer entertainment value and to not actually try this.
Take It To A Professional
Regardless of the underlying cause, if a hard drive is not spinning up, it is important to take action quickly. It is important to seek the assistance of a professional who has experience in repairing hard drives. If you tamper with your drive and then make the problem worse, then you are most likely going to be charged more when you take it to a data recovery shop. They may even charge you more just for opening up the enclosure just to peek inside.
Data recovery companies have the experience, tools, and expertise to safely and effectively recover your data, giving you the best chance of salvaging your important files and documents.
There are a few different techniques that can be used for data recovery, depending on the specific situation. In some cases, simple software tools can be used to scan the device and recover any recoverable data. This is often the case with software corruption or deleted files.
In other cases, more advanced techniques may be necessary. For example, if the physical hardware of the storage device has been damaged, it may be necessary to open up the device and repair or replace the damaged components. This is known as a “clean room” recovery, as it requires specialized equipment and a controlled environment to prevent further damage to the device.
It’s important to note that not all data can be recovered. In some cases, the damage to the storage device may be too severe, or the data may have been overwritten or permanently deleted. In these situations, it may not be possible to recover the data at all. Lastly, if your curious about serious external hard drive we love and all want in our collection then you can’t go wrong with the 100TB.
Its better to let the pros handle it anyway since most of you have never even dealt with Torx Screws before.
Let’s dive in to our Top 4 External Hard Drives
1. LaCie Rugged 4TB Mini External Hard Drive Portable HDD
Digital Storage Capacity: 4TB (Options between 1TB up to 5TB)
Compatible Devices: Laptop, PC
Special Feature: Shock, Rain, Pressure Resistant, Password Protection USB 3.0, up to 4x faster than USB 2.0
Hard Disk Interface: SCSI
Wide selection of storage sizes
6% Discount on 4TB as of 01/06/2023
Shock & pressure proof
No other colors to select
Limited to two devices
- Shock, drops up to 4 feet, dust and water resistant for all-terrain use
- For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Refer to Application Guide for more details
- Password protection built in. Maximum speed is 130 mb per second
- Uses USB 3.0 which is up to 4 times faster than USB 2.0 (USB 2.0 compatible)
2. SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD
Digital Storage Capacity: 2TB
Compatible Devices: Laptop, Desktop, Smart Phones, Tablets
Special Features: Dust Resistant, Water Resistant, Portable, Hardware Encryption
Massive 65% DISCOUNT on Amazon as of 01/06/2023
Storage capacity from 500GB up to 4TB
Fast speed time
Limited color selection
Pricey hence major discount (duh!)
- Get NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 1050MB/s read and up to 1000MB/s write speeds in a portable, high-capacity drive that’s perfect for creating amazing content or capturing incredible footage. (Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speed. Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending on host device, interface, usage conditions and other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.)
- Up to 2-meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance mean this tough drive can take a beating.
- Use the handy carabiner loop to secure it to your belt loop or backpack for extra peace of mind.
- Help keep private content private with the included password protection featuring 256‐bit AES hardware encryption.
3. Western Digital Black 12TB Game Drive for XBOX One
Brand: Western Digital
Digital Storage Capacity: 12,000 GB (12TB) WOWZAH!
Compatible Devices: Gaming Console
Hard Disk Interface: USB 3.0
27% DISCOUNT as of 01/06/2023
Option for Laptop, PC Hard Drive
Limited to 1 color
Limited to gaming console
The wdblack D10 game Drive for Xbox One will take your Xbox to the next level of performance and help drive The competitive edge you need to win. 12TB of additional storage allows you to build your library up to 300 Games or relive your best in-action moments by saving your favorite gameplay recordings. Rated at 7200 RPM with active cooling technology, wdblack D10 game Drive for Xbox One has speeds up to 250MB/s to kick your game into high-performance mode so you can play without limits and drive your game The way you choose. Included with your purchase Is a free, 3-month membership Of Xbox game pass ultimate which includes not only Xbox Gold live, but also access to 100+ Games on your Xbox and PC.
4. SeaGate Expansion Desktop 8GB External Hard Drive
Digital Storage Capacity: 8TB
Hard Disk Interface: USB 1.1
Compatible Devices: Laptop, PC, MAC (woohoo!)
20% DISCOUNT as of 01/06/2023
Options between 3TB up to 16TB
Limited to one color
- Enjoy enormous desktop storage space for years to come for photos, movies, music, and more
- Designed to work with Windows computers, this external USB drive makes backup easy with a simple drag and drop
- Setup is easy; Just connect the external hard drive to your Windows computer for automatic recognition no software required
- Includes an 18 inch USB 3.0 cable and 18 Watts power adapter
- Enjoy long term peace of mind with the included 1 year limited warranty.Please refer user guide below for better use.Built-in power management automatically ensures energy-efficient operation
In conclusion, if a hard drive is not spinning up, it can be a frustrating and potentially costly problem. There are several possible causes for this issue, and the appropriate fix will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, the problem may be a simple one that can be resolved without the need for professional assistance, but to minimize the risk of data loss, I implore you to take it to a professional.