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I have WD Passport external HDD and yesterday, when I was transferring some photos to it, the transfer suddenly stopped. I thought nothing of it, retried a few times - nothing. So I restarted my PC and after that, the drive didn't work anymore. When you connect it to a PC, the white LED keeps blinking all the time and for a minute or so, the disk makes an intermittent clicking noise. After that, it becomes pretty silent or makes its regular, pretty quiet shuffling sound (though the LED keeps blinking all the time).

When you plug it in, the PC does recognize it in some way, though, because you can hear the sound of a new USB device being connected and see it listed as a USB device (WD Hard Drive) in the system tray. It's not visible in the explorer, though, and recovery software like Kroll OnTrack does see it as some "unrecognized drive" but can't start recovery because neither its Scan or Deep Scan features find any partitions. I've also tried the Disk Management tool that's built into Windows but it only shows it as an unrecognized drive, asking whether I want to initialize it because it claims it's not yet initialized.

What else may I try? I'd really like to get the files out of it because these are basically all my photos and videos from the past years :( Having it restored by professionals, on the other hand, would be madly expensive. I've tried different USB ports, different machines (desktop PC, laptop, Mac laptop) but all to no avail. Is there anything else you'd recommend?

Extra info:
That's how HDD connector looks like:

enter image description here

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    General rule: Clicking drive == broken dive. Replace the drive & recover from your backup. – Tetsujin Aug 12 '18 at 18:35
  • @Tetsujin - yeah, thing is, I don't have the backup of all the data there. Some, sure, but there's also a lot of that I do not have a backup of :( And I would like to try everything that has even a slight chance of success before coming to terms with the fact that it's irreversibly (or "irreversibly if I don't want to mortgage my house to pay for it") lost. – Straightfw Aug 12 '18 at 18:46
  • What moab said. Reason for this can be failing power. I've had it happen countless of times. HDD doesn't get enough power to properly spin => clicking noise from re-tries. If it happens on all machines, direct motherboard ports, Y-cable and powered USB hub - It's most likely the enclosure. (Or the HDD itself, but let's hope it's not that) – confetti Aug 12 '18 at 20:08
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    superuser.com/q/337222/10165 and the selected answer is worth a look. Those drives don't have sata pins exposed and direct connection to your motherboard will involve working out there the sata test points are, and soldering wires to them. Very non trivial – Journeyman Geek Aug 12 '18 at 23:36
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    @Moab It isn't proprietary connection, it is standard USB3 micro B connector. Many nowadays external drives embedding sata2usb adapter on a hard drive's motherboard. The issue is clicking sound, it isn't related to usb2sata adapter, but telling about internal issue of hard drive itself. Mostly it is broken sectors in the beginning of hard drive. To fix such things one need to know how to talk to hard drive directly, understanding low level signaling DRDY,DRQ,DRSC,WRFT... use tools like PC3000... If it is one time project, it doesn't deserve effort to learn all of this stuff – Alex Aug 13 '18 at 7:49
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That is a standard USB 3.0 Micro B connector, you can buy a usb cable and connect it to the drive then to any PC usb port. Try a different cable.

If you get the same clicking noise from the drive after trying a second cable, then is is time for professional recovery.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Yeah, of course I do have a cable like that - it came with it when I bought it and it's the one I've been using for the few years that I've been using this HDD. Can this be a cable fault, then, and should I try to buy a new cable first? – Straightfw Aug 13 '18 at 18:36
  • So you tried the cable after removing the drive? and it did the same thing (clicking)?, Yes that is your last resort is to try another cable. – Moab Aug 13 '18 at 19:03
  • Yep, I've tried the cable (althought the one I've always used) without the enclosure and there wasn't any difference - clicking for a minute or two, then quiet shuffling sound similar to the one it always made. OK, I'll try to find and buy a new cable and see if that helps (though regretfully I'm a bit skeptical ;( ), thanks. – Straightfw Aug 13 '18 at 20:32

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