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I have a Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB SATA hard disk (WD15EADS) that seems to have died, but I'm not sure if it's a goner or not. I've been using the drive in an old Iomega external ESATA enclosure, which I powered down today while I was installing Windows 7. When I tried to power it up again, nothing happened. I took the drive out and put it in a USB hard drive, and the power LED of the dock shuts off when the drive is in it, but turns back on when I remove it.

What do you think the problem could be?

Do I have any hope of getting my data off of this drive? Any ideas?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try plugging the hard drive into a real SATA port on a motherboard, to see if it's the drive itself or a problem with the enclosure. It's probably the drive since it seems that you've tried it in two different enclosures, but you never know.

If the hard drive really is dead, I should mention I've had some success with the freezer trick: Put the drive in a sealed plastic bag into the freezer for some amount of time, then immediately plug the drive into a computer. Sometimes the drive will work for a while, just enough time to get the data onto reliable storage. It sounds silly, but I can't argue with results.

There also exist companies specializing in data recovery, but these services are unbelievably expensive and are really meant for mission-critical business data.

Why did it happen? Hard drives don't last forever; in fact, it can be frightening how unreliable they are. Google published an interesting paper a few years ago documenting hard drive reliability in their server farms: Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population

This is one among many reasons why backups are so important!

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Following on from Stephen's suggestion about plugging it directly into a SATA port, you can also try lowering the speed via the jumpers, i.e. If it's a Sata 3 drive drop it to SATA 2 speed and if it's SATA 2 then drop to SATA 1. Reason being, if it works you should get a little more stability to backup your data.

You can also try booting it up as a slave drive. You might get lucky.

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