I have a 320GB western digital external HDD that was working fine a couple of days ago.

I plugged it into my Windows XP machine at work, and it detects the USB device (it is listed in the Safely Remove Hardware dialog), but it doesn't detect the disk, not even under Disk Management in Control Panel. I've successfully used this ext HD on this machine before, so I suspect it is busted. I tried it on a couple of other machines none of them could detect the disk.

The only possible reason I could think of is that the bag I was carrying it in fell to the floor off a table a couple of days ago, it might have been damaged then.

Obviously I would like to have the device working again, but failing that I would like to be able tor recover all the data on the disk.

What are my options?

Edit: In case it's relevant, the product page for the ext HD is here.


I always try connecting it to a SATA connection outside of the enclosure.... I never trust those things. If that doesn't work then...

Does the disk click? If it is clicking when you first power it on then you can put the disk in the freezer.

  • When you hear a drive clicking it means:
    • When a drive first starts it needs to get the servo information which is stored on the drive
    • If it is unable to lock onto this servoing information it pulls the head back in and performs the "recalibrate operation" then puts the head back out and this is the click you can hear
  • This is something that is normally fatal for the drive and Spinrite can not fix it you would need to send it somewhere to be opened and fixed, or you could try putting it in the fridge / freezer

Before you place it in the freezer put it in an anti-static bag. Then when you take it out wrap it in a towel in the bag b/c of when it heats up it might drip. >.<

Also you can try Spin Rite from Steve Gibson.

Broken hard drives are always tricky :( ... and I guess I should mention you should always back up.

  • I don't know how to connect it to a SATA connection, it's a USB device. (Linked the product page in the question for more details) I don't hear any clicking when I plug it in either =/
    – Roy Tang
    Nov 28 '09 at 8:45
  • you have to crack open the box. The drive is SATA.
    – Stephen
    Dec 31 '09 at 21:14

Have you tried this solution or a different OS?


  • I was actually able to try connecting the HD to a Linux machine and a Mac machine and a Windows 7 machine. No dice =/
    – Roy Tang
    Dec 9 '09 at 4:42

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