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My Western Digital External Hard Drive recently stopped working and started giving a clicking noise. Western Digital says that I need to send it to an authorized data recovery center for the warranty to not be void. However, I am in Sri Lanka and have no method of sending the drive.

It gets recognized by Windows Disk Manger (partially). The first time, it asked me to create a partition table, with MBP or GUID as the options (or something to that extent). Once I select OK, it gives me an error telling that an I/O error occurred. I could not get a screenshot. When I try to recreate the error, it doesn't appear. Now it just shows that it is an Unknown and Uninitialized Drive.

My question is this: Is there any way to recover the data by using something like a magnetic reader on top of the drive so that it doesn't need to be opened, which would void the warranty.

I backed-up my data to the cloud storage provider, Box, using Box Sync and a symbolic link, but when the drive stopped working Box Sync automatically deleted the files half way before I could stop it. Is there any way to recover this data?

According to an answer at How to recover data from dead hard disk (with tic tic noise)? , the problem might be related to "The actuator arm (or whatever controls it).

I appreciate any help ASAP on solving this problem.

marked as duplicate by Ramhound, Xavierjazz, Kevin Panko, Moses, Art Gertner Sep 22 '14 at 19:17

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.

  • There is no such thing as a "magnetic reader", the device you describe, would wipe the device permanently. If the problem is the actuator arm, then it cannot be solved by you, that requires a clean room to fix. If a single particle of dust gets on the platters then your data is gone for good. You need to find a way to send it to them if you want any chance at recovering the data. – Ramhound Sep 22 '14 at 12:31
  • Please don't significantly change the question after people have provided answers, your question about data recovery from a cloud provider, should be a separate question ( although by itself its unlikely even on topic here ). Data recovery from Box Sync might be possible I suggest you simply contacting them instead of asking us if its possible – Ramhound Sep 22 '14 at 13:30

If your drive doesn't show up in your operating system you will have a hard time recovering the data yourself.

Using "Magnetic Reader" without opening the drive is not possible, because it is a very precise work. Your drive positions it's heads using actuators, we are talking micrometers here, maybe less in modern drives.

Putting it in a freezer worked 20 years ago when drives had 20MB of space on them, today it takes hours to copy all data to another drive and it will warm up in a matter of minutes when you spin it up.

Your best bet is a specialized data recovery lab, you need sterile, dust-free environment and technical knowledge to repair the drive. Labs typically use spare parts from another drive, but it is a very complex thing to pull-off. There is also no guarantee it will work, as your actuator may scratch the platters if it fails. It is a very expensive service.

I suggest researching your local recovery options and see if it makes sense to you. Basically how much is your data worth to you.

Also be sure to explore backup options to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.


About that Box Sync thing I suggest you contact Box support.


Thread "How to recover data from dead hard disk (with tic tic noise)?" perfectly answers your question.

The answer is no, you cannot do it yourself without very complex high tech equipment.

Also, no, you cannot do it without opening the drive and thus voiding the warranty.

The good thing is that now you are more experienced as you have lost your valuable data and will [hopefully] learn that backups are really worth spending money and time.

If the data on faulty HDD is extremely important, I suggest you to focus on finding a way to post it to OEM or data recovery specialist rather than looking for DIY solutions. Magnetic reader that you have described sounds like science fiction. Actual methods to recover data from "dead" hard drives always involves opening the device case.

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