HDD Troubleshooting

I’ve been doing some computer troubleshooting over the past weeks for some friends of mine. Here’s an enquiry I got from one of their friends about a faulty hard drive.

Question

I’m hoping you can help. I have a WD 500mb my passport ultra which has failed.
The motor whirrs and the computer ‘bings’ to acknowledge the drive. The drive makes a soft clicking sound which stops after a short while. The drive does not show up on my (or any other) computers.
The drive was looked at by another company in November, but for a number of reasons, I decided against recovering the data with them. I know that the issue with this drive is a mechanical heads failure. Is this something you’re able to work with?

Answer

USBWhen the computer ‘bings’ like that many people think it is the external hard drive, but it isn’t. If you were to take the hard drive out of the external case and just connect the case you would still hear the bing. The bing is the Windows operating system recognising that a USB device has been attached and you’ll hear the same noise regardless of what type of USB device is attached be a pen drive, a printer etc. You can read more about USB at this site https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/connector-basics/usb-connectors.

When hard drives make a soft clicking what is actually happening is the hard drive is stuck in a reset loop. The reason for this is as follows: When a hard drive is powered up it performs a self test to check that everything is functioning properly on. Once this self test is passed, the hard drive then passes control to the computer and the Windows operating system begins to load. If the self test is not successful the drive will reset and initiate the test once again. The self test is identifiable by the noises produced by the hard drive – this is the soft clicking sound you hear which stops after a short while (when the drive eventually times-out).

It’s clear that your hard drive has a mechanical heads failure as you state, and I’d certainly be interested in recovering the data off of it for you. Mechanical head failures are not easy to work with: During my two years as an apprentice at http://www.datlabsdatarecovery.co.uk/ I learnt most of my hard drive repair skills and I will need to buy another hard drive that closely matches the parts inside your hard drive (this is essential as buying a non compatible drive, even the same model, will be wasted money if the the parts inside the hard drive are not compatible with the parts used in your hard drive). The cost of one of these drives could be anything between £50 to £250 pounds. The recovery should take no more than 5 or so days and I won’t be repairing your hard drive so that you can use it again, instead I’ll take the data off and copy it to a new external hard drive.

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