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About 3 years ago my husband dropped my connected Western Digital external hard drive from the desk and now it will not connect to the computer. I plug it in and I get an error message

The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer. Initialize... Ignore Eject

Is it possible that the hard drive is not compatible with a Mac? I used the hard drive with my old and now broken HP.

I plugged it into a Windows computer. The computer knows that there is hardware attached but I cannot access the information held on it. Is it hopeless?

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  • please clarify, did the drive work on windows 2 years ago, or did it stop working after the fall? – Frank Thomas Dec 4 '13 at 16:53
  • It would be useful to know, if the partition table is readable and intact. Can you give us the output of fdisk -l /dev/disk?? – David Foerster Dec 4 '13 at 16:55
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if the drive stopped working for a windows PC immediately after being dropped, then it is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Since it was formatted for Windows, it is likely that the Mac cannot read the file systems on it, and I would tell you to initialize it, but since you indicate that it was dropped and does not work on windows, you are much better off buying a new one. even if you got it to take a format, it would still be unreliable.

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  • Is there a way to get the information held on the device off? – user278942 Dec 3 '13 at 21:49
  • perhaps. it depends on how it failed. I would start by using ddrescue to try to take an image of the drive, and from there attempt to recover the data. if you are luckily, you can just copy it from the image, but if the data recovery was incomplete and the volume cannot be mounted, you will have to use tools like photorec, recovua, or easus (pay-for; others are free). – Frank Thomas Dec 4 '13 at 12:56
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It seems odd, that the hard drive would stop working just recently because of a fall 3 years ago. It may just have reached its end of life, but it could also be because of an (accidental) unsafe disconnection.

Unfortunately I don't know how to diagnose failing harddrives on Mac OS. It may help to try with another OS and hope for a more useful error message (or no error at all).

Edit: From the additional info I conclude that most likely at least the USB controller of the harddisk still works.

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  • I plugged it into a Windows computer. The computer knows that there is hardware attached but I cannot access the information held on it. Is it hopeless? – user278942 Dec 3 '13 at 22:00

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