Help, My Computer Doesn't Recognise My External Hard Drive Anymore!

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by SBanga, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. SBanga

    SBanga
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    I have an oldish (nearly 3 yrs old) 200gb external hard drive that has over 130gb of music on it. Unfortunately, I lent it to a cousin who wanted some songs and he dropped it. When I got it back, it was slightly cosmetically damaged but it worked. After a few weeks, it began cutting off sporadically. It'd be in the middle of a song and then the song would just suddenly stop. The drive was still spinning but it lost the signal on the computer so it appeared as if it had been disconnected. If I turned the HD off and back on, it'd work fine... until the next time it decided to stop. Turning if off and on always solved the problem though.
    Now, on Friday I took it back over to my cousins as we were having a few drinks and needed some music. It worked fine for a few minutes and then cut off. This time it wouldn't switch back on regardless of what I did. I've tried it at home and I'm having the same problem. The computer still makes that sound when u connect a device, but the drive just doesn't come up. If I go to the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the systems tray, the device comes up but without the drive letter ie. Safely Remove Prolific PL3507 Device (1394 ATAPI_Rev 1.00) IEEE 1394 SBP2 Device.
    Now I'm sure the drive isn't corrupt, it just won't appear on my computer. Could anyone tell me what could be wrong?
    :lease:
     
  2. GBDG1

    GBDG1
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    Do you have a desktop? If so you can remove the hard disk from the enclosure and put it inside your computer to retrieve the data off it. You can buy a new one for around £50 these days, alternatively a new enclosure should set you back around £20-30.
     
  3. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I'd suspect it's the disk that has gone FUBAR, rather than the case. But it could be either, the only way to tell is as Lawrenzini said and try the disk connected to a desktop.
     
  4. njp

    njp
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    I had a Lacie external hard drive that became increasingly troublesome to get connected, and eventually gave up the ghost altogether. I removed the disk from the case and connected it using a USB-IDE adaptor (a very handy device) and it worked fine.

    The fact that this one has been dropped makes a a disk failure seem more likely, but that could just be coincidental.
     
  5. SBanga

    SBanga
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    I don't think I could bring myself to spend £25ish on a USB-IDE adaptor just to test a drive that may not work. Fancy lending me yours :rolleyes:
    TBH I think the failure had more to do with his laptop than it being dropped. I forgot to mention that he had trouble getting my hard drive to transfer anything across to his iPod. It kept hanging for ages or crashing altogether. Also, the drive worked fine on my laptop for a few weeks afterwards. It only started playing up recently. It's also coincidental that the drive gave up altogether when connected to his laptop. The drive also still spins normally and makes no noise other than it's normal sound.
    My desktop is quite old and I don't know if it has a spare slot for a drive. Any other way to check it or is a desktop the only way?
     
  6. Moosh

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    If your laptop/desktop will allow you to boot off the CD drive you could try the following:

    1. Make sure that the internal harddrive of your laptop/desktop has some free space. Over 130GB should do. ;)
    2. Create a Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) installation disk (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ - full instructions on the website)
    3. Restart the computer and boot off of the newly created CD. Make sure your external drive is plugged into your computer.
    4. Load Diskpart: Go >> System >> Storage >> Diskpart
    5. Type: list volume
    6. Write down the volume number of your non-working drive, the one without the drive letter
    7. Type: select volume n
      Where n is the number you wrote down.
    8. Type: assign letter X
      This will assign X as the drive letter to you drive.
    9. Load A43 file management utility: Go >> Programs >> A43 File management utility
    10. Selecting drive X should show you everything on you old drive.
    11. Select anything you wish to back up and then click Edit >> Copy to folder

      Now copy what you want to your internal harddrive.
    If your old hard drive has bad sectors then it may cause the copy to hang. If this happens, make a not of the offending file, reboot and start copying after that file.

    And the most important bit... If you brick your system, corrupt anything else, etc. etc. I take no responsibility.

    Good luck! :thumbsup:

    Cheers
    Moosh
     
  7. WibXL

    WibXL
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    You can get usb to ide cables on ebay for less than a tenner. Hope that you manage to get it sorted but if you do get access to the drive either using the cable or putting it in your PC I'd recommend getting all of the data off and then either replacing the drive or back it up every so often as if it has an intermitant faliure then I wouldn't trust it to hold my data.
     
  8. njp

    njp
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    It's just an easy way of looking at hard drives without going to the trouble of taking the PC apart. I've used it a fair amount, so it was worth buying. I wasn't suggesting you buy one as a diagnostic tool!

    You don't need a "slot". You PC will almost certainly have 2 IDE cables, each of which will have 2 IDE connectors. One cable will probably be used for the optical drive(s) and the other for the hard drive(s). Assuming your PC only has a single hard drive, all you need to do is power it down, open the case, plug in a power connector (there should be a spare one) and an unused IDE connector from one of the IDE cables to the 'new' hard drive and boot up. The hard drive does not need to be physically installed - just make sure it isn't dangling in a way where bits of the circuit board can get shorted out.

    Caveats: I have seen PCs where the IDE cables only had a single connector. In this case, you could just temporarily replace the optical drive with your hard drive. Don't replace the existing hard drive or it won't boot (unless you go the the trouble of creating a boot CD, which seems rather pointless). Also, you will need to check the jumper settings on the IDE drive before connecting it. Ask if you don't know what this means and I will explain further.
     
  9. SBanga

    SBanga
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    OK, I tried connecting it to my old PC and I get "operating system not found". Can't see what I'm doing wrong as there is only one spare IDE cable :confused:
     
  10. Setenza

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    Sounds like it's trying to boot of it.

    You should daisy chain it off your master hard drive and make sure that the jumper on the back of the hard drive is set to slave.
     
  11. SBanga

    SBanga
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  12. SBanga

    SBanga
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  13. SBanga

    SBanga
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    OK, gonna try getting one of them cables now. Can't seem to run it through my computer as it keeps not finding the master hard drive every time I connect the slave :suicide:
     
  14. njp

    njp
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    If you have your boot drive set as master, and the other set as slave (or perhaps cable select for one or both) and the BIOS can see both drives, the problem may be the boot order in the BIOS.

    I suggest you reboot, enter the BIOS settings and have a look. You should be able to get this to work without buying any cables. If the drives really won't play nicely together (and I thought those days were long gone), you could try putting the non-boot drive on the other IDE cable alongside or instead of the optical drive.
     
  15. SBanga

    SBanga
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  16. SBanga

    SBanga
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    The cheapest recovery service I've found so far is www.easyrestore.co.uk. They sent me this reply,
    Hi Sunil,



    Thank you for your enquiry.



    We would strongly advise you not to power your media up in order to attempt a DIY recovery. We would also advise you not to use any software applications (including any within Windows XP, Vista or Mac OSX) to attempt to restore your data. The longer you power the drive or media up the greater the chances are that you will damage or destroy your own data.



    We will evaluate your drive and respond to you via email within 12 hours of receipt, we will aim to restore your data and dispatch it within 24 hours of receipt.



    All restored data will be returned to you on either CD or DVD. Our standard charge is £99 for hard drives, DVD and CD and £24.95 for all other media (including photo media). If the amount of data restored exceeds that which can be contained on 4 DVDs (approx 18 Gig) we charge a small additional fee to cover the additional media (usually £4.95 per DVD)



    If you would like your data to be returned to you on any other media, such as a replacement drive, (internal or external) - or the original drive if no fault is found, please contact us during the evaluation process.



    We would advise you to pack your drive as well as possible, including plenty of cushioning materials. We would also ask that you send your drive by some form of traceable delivery service as we cannot be responsible for items lost in the post.


    If I sent my own drive to them it wouldn't cost as much as over £140 in DVDs :eek:. What do you guys think? :rolleyes:
     
  17. Steven

    Steven
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    Yeah right!

    Offer to buy these for them :rolleyes: I always buy these from play. At least 200gb for £15 there :) But then they probably wouldn't budge...
     
  18. SBanga

    SBanga
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    Well he's offered to transfer it onto a donor drive for a total of £122.90. It's £99 for the recovery, £14.95 to stream the data onto the donor drive plus £8.95 for the insured postage.
    Should I go ahead and send it off for evaluation. I really can't bear to start converting all my CDs again and downloading so much music at so much cost.
     
  19. njp

    njp
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    I'm a little unclear about where you have got to. What are your hard drive jumper settings?

    Have you managed to boot from your original hard drive whilst the other hard drive is connected?

    If so, has the BIOS recognised that the other hard drive exists?

    If so, is the problem that you cannot see the hard drive in XP (if that is the OS you are using)?
     
  20. SBanga

    SBanga
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    I haven't a clue how to even access my BIOS settings. I'm useless with computers. I booted up from the normal hard drive whilst the failed one was connected to the DVD drive slot. It didn't pick anything up in XP. I don't know about the hard drive jumper settings either :suicide:
     
  21. WibXL

    WibXL
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    I suspect that they charge £4.95 for each DVD because of how long it would take to sort out and burn the files to DVD rather than just the cost of a blank DVD.
     
  22. njp

    njp
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    He wouldn't be paying for the media. He'd be paying for the work in recovering his data from a hard drive and copying it onto the media. A donor hard drive would be much more sensible, if recovery is really what he needs.

    I have to say that the price quoted looks suspiciously cheap to me. I can't see how the standard charge could include difficult data recovery requiring the use of a clean room and donor drive controller electronics...
     
  23. SBanga

    SBanga
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  24. Setenza

    Setenza
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    Look, I don't want to see you rooked by some scam artist.

    If need be send me your hard drive and I'll have a look at it for you.

    I cannot guarantee any results but I'll do the following.

    1.) Connect it to a external hard drive enclosure and see if it's functional.

    2.) Connect it to my internal IDE controller and see if it's accessible.

    3.) If it is okay and free from damage, provide proof that it's so

    4.) If it's damaged, try and backup as much as I can to DVD+RW.

    5.) If it's fubar beyond belief, provide you proof that it is.

    Okay?

    If your prepared to cover the costs of getting it to me, I'll cover the return costs and also send any backed up data on DVD+RW as well.

    I'll also post photo's on this board to verify what I'm doing. If any board members think I'm being slipshod or not being thorough enough they can bring me to book.

    PM me if you want to accept this offer, subject to moderator approval. Mods, let me no if this is unacceptable within the forum rules.
     
  25. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Personal non-profit making offers of help are not generally a problem XOD :) It's what makes the forums a nice place to be.
    A final post as to the result would be welcome, but a blow by blow account should not be necessary.

    Dave Mod hat on
     
  26. SBanga

    SBanga
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    And people say courtliness is dead. That's an overwhelming show of generosity XOD. Gone to PM :thumbsup:
     
  27. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    There is an under current of geniune helpfulness in the AVforums that is often overlooked by casual observers. It's what keeps it going :thumbsup:.

    Dave
     
  28. Setenza

    Setenza
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    Okay, I've installed Sunil's 200GB Maxtor HDD into a external caddy. It powers up okay and is installed as an external drive on my XP system.

    However, it is not allocated an drive letter. A quick nose around the "Disk Management" facility shows the following:

    [​IMG]

    Bad partition?
     
  29. SBanga

    SBanga
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  30. DVD-Man

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    is it visible in my computer?

    Does it show as RAW data?

    Liam
     

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