Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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

Possible Duplicate:
Can't read External Hard Drive anymore!

My external hard drive has fallen down a few times from my bed and now it doesn't work anymore.

Windows 7 needs a few minutes now to show something in Explorer, and it just shows "Local drive" and not the normally-displayed name of that drive. If I try to open the drive in Explorer it loads very long until the Explorer window doesn't react anymore. In Disk Management it takes a very long time to load and shows the drive as RAW-formatted.

Linux and other computers where I tried to plug it in are not recognizing it at all.

It seems like only the one computer where drivers were installed before are recognizing it, but in an incorrect way and can't access it.

I tried a program called TestDisk/PhotoRec which was able to restore some files but all with random filenames - I need something which can do this better.

A friend told to first clone the data to another drive where I could try to repair things, so I tried to do, but CloneZilla failed with this last red message:

enter image description here

I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?


I downloaded a free version of DataRecoveryWizard. It has been searching now for two hours and has found 152 files. Can anyone tell me if this is normal? For over a million files it would take days, weeks... However as in the other post (linked in comments) it seemed to work. I'm hoping to get filenames too after it has finished searching.

I think I need a program which runs under Windows to access the hard drive (maybe the problem of CloneZilaLive). DataRecoveryWizard recognizes the hard drive.

Can anyone tell me a good and tested program to that with risks? Freeware is best, but I would also buy NortonGhost, Acronis or other stuff?

A friend told me: is it possible that chkdsk can help me fix this? Perhaps the partition table would be destroyed? Is this a possible reason?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Moab, BBlake, Randolph West, ChrisF, Nifle Feb 17 '12 at 19:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

An external hard drive as a bedmate... ;-) – Aki Feb 16 '12 at 17:50
It needs professional recovery if there is data you need, the drive most likely is damaged due to repeated drops and needs replaced. – Moab Feb 16 '12 at 17:50
Your HDD is toast. In the future don't drop fragile mechanical parts that have data you want on them. – Ramhound Feb 16 '12 at 19:09
Have a look at the dmesg (/var/log/messages) output when you plug it into a Linux box. This can give you some hints about what the problem is. – jap1968 Feb 16 '12 at 21:46
Oh. Doesn't sound good. I need to check all of your information tomorrow. But i thought because PhotoRec could find some files but couldn't restore the names, there would be maybe some chance that another program could do that, I'm willed to pay for that. Is there some chance Norton Ghost or Acronis could help me to repair it (a friend told me so)? Or like the other Data Recovery Wizard? The problem is that i first have to pay and don't know if it works. – sewo Feb 16 '12 at 22:54

An external hard drive contains a controller and a drive. The construction of the entire device determines whether the controller survives drops from your bed, the drive itself doesn't like drops no matter how the rest of the device is constructed.

If the controller is toast, or if there's a bad connection you may be better off disassembling the device and taking the drive itself out. The good news is it's highly likely you'll find normal SATA or PATA connectors on the drive that will allow you to directly connect to the drive if you have a desktop computer with spare connections inside.

However, unless you know what you're doing, don't do the above yourself!

Data recoveries can take a very long time depending on the state of the drive. Because we can't be sure if the issue is a connector, controller, disk, or some combination of the three, there's really no way to know what is causing the specific problems you're experiencing.

Taking the drive out of the device and controlling it directly will eliminate the odds of the problem being the controller or the connectors.

My recommendation:

Take your drive to the local IT guy. Fry's Electronics technology repair people may be willing to try the more involved recovery, but I don't think the average Geek Squadian would be up to trying the disassemble-recover method and would probably stick to using recover software and charging you a lot for the privilege.

UPDATE 1: responses from OP

You'd not be looking for a USB connector. They don't make HDD's with USB connectors directly on the drive itself. A hard drive connector is either Serial ATA or Parallel ATA or, as is possible in this case, a direct connection from the drive controller to the external connector controller bits in your device.

Also, you're not looking to repair this drive. This drive is toast. Even if you get the data off, the drive itself will be a loss and you will discard it when you got your data. Any software tool that claims to be able to repair damage caused by dropping the drive several times is lying. What you're trying to do is recover your data, that is, get it off the broken drive before it breaks further and before you toss it.

Software tools like Ghost or Acronis are drive imaging tools, not drive recovery tools. They are used in drive recovery when the drive is in particularly bad condition and you don't think it'll physically last as long as needed by the recovery tools. Then the imaging tools are used to create an image of the disk that you then run data recovery tools against.

Data recovery tools are very expensive. Like Get Data Back or Stellar Phoenix, they are tremendously useful, but only worth buying if you recover data for a living. There are special purpose tools that focus on recovering specific types of files which may be had for free. There are linux-based tools for recovery that may be free, in my experience they are also much more complicated to run, but may be worth your time depending on how valuable the data is to you.

share|improve this answer
Another problem was (which i forget to tell) that i opened the drive now and it's some hard-drive from WD where there is no extra usb-controller, it's integrated on the hard-disk itself. So i can't put it into my computer directly. – sewo Feb 17 '12 at 14:44
What about the linux-logs told above. Can't i get information about the problem there? I hoped to buy some software for about 100€ and could repair it myself if there is no free solution. I don't like to give it away. – sewo Feb 17 '12 at 14:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .