Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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?

share|improve this question
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!

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.