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I accidentally dropped my 500GB Buffalo MiniStation portable hard drive on the ground. It was still sorta working afterward, but just EXTREMELY slowly. I then ran the Mac “Disk Utility” hard drive repair. It ran for about 5 minutes and then said it cannot repair it. Now, the hard drive won’t even mount and I can’t use it at all.

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Is the drive making any noises when you plug it in? Any ticks, clicks, etc.? –  Llamanerds Jan 8 '13 at 19:32
Also, have you removed the drive from the case to ensure that the damaged components aren't part of the enclosure instead of the drive? Harddrives are fairly robust, and if the drive is not in use/spinning at the time of drop can often survive just fine. I would pull the drive first and try mounting with a different adapter/cable –  Llamanerds Jan 8 '13 at 19:34

4 Answers 4

The answer depends on the value of the data.

If the data is irreplaceable, don't try anything more. Take the drive to a recovery specialist and they can use their (expensive) tools and techniques to do the recovery. Expect to pay hundreds to a couple grand and there's no guarantee that they'll be successful.

Otherwise you might want to remove the drive from the enclosure and try a different one. If you're lucky, the drop is a coincidence and it's really an electrical problem.

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Not sure why no one here has answered this "appropriately", but the best way forward (assuming you don't have huge funds to send it to an expert recovey center), would be to get another drive, then run (GNU) DD Rescue to recover as much as you can off the drive - this may take days or hours. Once you have copied as many bits off it as you can, try running testdisk [ to see if you can fix the partitions ] and if that fails - which it most likely will - photorec to try recover as many files as you can.

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Using recovery software in case of physical damage may increase the damage. If you consider to freeze drive you should read this before do anything:


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Don't do this unless everything else has failed. It can make things worse. If you have slow access to the drive, rather use something like Gnu DDRescue to make a bit copy of as much as you can first. Then freeze it, resume/rerun DD Rescue and see if you can get any more off. –  davidgo Mar 15 at 2:39
Why are you mentioning that archaic, nonsense “freeze the drive” method? That nonsense worked with truly old school drives in the late-1980s/early-1990s but will only cause modern drives to fail even more. –  JakeGould Apr 24 at 2:06
I did not suggest to freeze drive, but I warned about viability of this method giving a link to skeptics. –  mmdemirbas Apr 24 at 13:03

Place it in a zip-lock type bag and remove as much air as you can. Place it in the freezzer for several hours or longer. Remove the drive and wrap in a towel or something to insulate it for a bit. Connect and try.

You may need to do this for longer periods.

This does not always work but it has worked for me a number of times. One recovery had the drive on the freezer for several days.

If the electonics on the Buffalo case are damaged, you may need to open the case and freeze just the drive. Then connect with some sort of adapter(USB-SATA, etc)

While some may say freezing causes more issues, many are recovery companies/employees. All I can say is that it has worked many times and that there was no intention of using professional recovery. Risk was low for me.

After that, it may be necessary to have a professional recovery done. That can cost to the thousands of US dollars. Note that some will not charge if no recovery

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Ditto here. Why are you mentioning that archaic, nonsense “freeze the drive” method? That nonsense worked with truly old school drives in the late-1980s/early-1990s but will only cause modern drives to fail even more. It’s just a dramatic “old wives tale” at this point. –  JakeGould Apr 24 at 2:07
@JakeGould I have used this method with current drives and been successful. That is why I mention it. If the drive has not responded to other methods, it is worth a shot. It has not always worked but enough to try again. One can always send to a recovery shop. Can you please give some support for your assertion it will cause further damage? I know some recovery shops warn against this but they are in the business of making money –  Dave M Apr 27 at 20:53
“Can you please give some support for your assertion it will cause further damage?” Sure. Right here on Stack Exchange the issue of why this practice is dangerous is explained in exacting detail. In my humble opinion, you might claim you have used freezing to recover data, but my assertion would be that if you simply had left the drive alone for the same period of time and didn’t freeze it you would have reached the same success rate. Meaning, false correlation; just because you did one thing does not mean that one thing solved a problem. –  JakeGould Apr 27 at 21:45
@JakeGould I appreciate your feedback. However, my experience was different and repeated trips of the same drive to the freezer gave repeated access to data while cold. This happened in several cases. Left alone-No data. Freezer- Data recovered. Data Recovery people say do not do it as noted in the linked info but they do have a vested interest in sending to them. I do not claim it works all the time or often, Simply that it ahs worked. Data Recovery firms do work more often but at a significant cost which is often worth that cost. As mentioned in my answer-Risk was low for me –  Dave M Apr 27 at 23:45

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