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External USB 2.0/FW HDD best data recovery ?

Posted on 2009-04-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
My girlfriend bought a 1TB My Book Studio Edition (WDH1Q10000) External USB 2.0/Hard drive.

I formatted it in win xp pro sp3 using NTFS and had no problems with it on my computer. She then plugged it into her vista laptop and although she had occasional problems with the hard drive not being recognized after it had gone into hibernation/stand by it worked.

I then found out that this was a known problem with vistas laptop hibernation/stand by features and we had no futher problems for a while.

Then one day after turning on the laptop the hard drive wasn't recognized at all in windows explorer ("My Computer"). It was however listed in disk management under admin tools, but it was seen as a empty space and needed to be formatted.

I then plugged it into my xp computer and although it was recognized in windows explorer, it crahsed everytime you would open it.

I phoned up Western digital and after running a diagnostic tool they said that it was either a faulty HDD or a faulty controller, and that they would replace it. However we would really like to keep the files on there as there are a lot of memorable photos and videos on it.

A WD technician reccomendded getDataBack recovery tool. I started to read up on it, but read that its possible that I could do more damage to the drive and therefore lose more files (depending on whether the drive or controller is broken).

The technician also said the other option would be to remove the drive and then put it into a different case or plug it in directly to my computer using a sata cable and see if that works, but that would only work if the controller was broken and not the drive itself.

My question is what do people reccomend ? Run getdataback and see how much I can get back? or remove the drive and plug it in directly to my computer to see whether it was the controller that was broken. The disadvantgae of removing the drive is that I would no longer have the option of sending it back to get a new one. (Or wouldnt they notice?).

Sorry about the long post, we just have a lot of nice photos on there that we would like to keep, and therefore would like to know the best route. Unfortunately professional data recovery is just too expensive for us.






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Question by:aaron_murray
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by:skywalker39
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Hi aaron_murray,

You can try GetDataBack, Easeus.
Here's the links:
http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-faq.htm
http://www.easeus.com/
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by:skywalker39
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Here's also a link to check out for more software to recover your files.
http://data-recovery-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
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by:lukefuno
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well do the simple and free thing first.

remove the drive and place it in desktop computer as a second drive.

if you can open and read files from there, transfer them to working drive.

as long as its not a major headache to remove the external hdd (like it should be maybe some screw loosening, and unplug data cable) you should be able to place back in external case without WD knowing or expecting any kind of tampering.
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by:skywalker39
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You can void the warranty by opening up your external hard drive.
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by:aaron_murray
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Does anyone have experience with removing WD drives. I dont mind using getdataback now if people think that its very unlikely to damage the drive any further, especially if removing the WD drive is likely to void warranty.

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by:skywalker39
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Which external hard drive is it?
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by:aaron_murray
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People please read the post properly,

So far people have mentioned that removing the drive will void warranty,  the possibility I state in my original psot.

I also list the name and the model number in the first line ! :)
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by:lukefuno
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<<The technician also said the other option would be to remove the drive... >> yeah and dont forget in the post, the technician recommended removing drive.
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by:aaron_murray
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Actually he didnt reccomend it at all, he merely stated it as an option. He pointed out that this would void the warranty.

What I really want to know is if a data recovery program is worthwhile trying before removing the drive, and whether it could damage any of the files.

Or whether is much safer, and better to remove the drive first and how likely it is that Western Digital realize I have done so.



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by:lukefuno
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well then ask yourself, you want to get a replacement and get your data back? then you need to go with software solution, if that doesnt work, then pull the drive out and place in another computer and thus void the warranty. but who cares about the warranty if you get your data back?

try to run this program: recuva. i have attached it and rename back to .exe extension. try to use it to scan your external hdd. i have used it before and it hasnt damaged anything that hasnt been damaged already! :)
rcsetup125.png
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by:SysExpert
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1) you need to assume that the drive is dying, so you need sufficient space to store all of the data.

2) Personally I would first try to image the drive using Ghost or Acronis using a byte by byte image so that it can be fully restored if your efforts with various programs do not work

3 ) Test Disk, sounds like a good program in this case, since the data may still be there but the directory structure may be messed up as well as partitions.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk


I hope this helps !
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coredatarecovery earned 500 total points
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Before you remove the drive from the case, try the other interface, either esata or firewire or usb,
They run on separate circuits inside the box and often if one controller burns out, another is working fine.  If it fails to init, see below:

Removing the hard disk from the western digital enclosure does not break any seals, You can put the drive back in the unit after you attempt the recovery.

Most western digital drives that are external open from the top, you can press firmly on the top center near the front of the case and like a ball point pen catch, you can pop it open.

Pulling the drive will require no tools, the screw that holds the drive in place has a thumb lever to help you unscrew it.

you can pull the drive  (Ground yourself first and try not to touch the electronic board underneath the hard disk)

This drive unit is a  SATA II drive inside and you can, once you unplug it, plug it into a sata to usb adapter from your local computer store.

If the drive fails to spin up, clicks, or fails to show in windows, you may be having a hardware problem with the drive.

You may be able to find a replacement circuit board on ebay or on the web for your drive, you MUST have the EXACT same model and should have the exact firmware.

Once the board arrives, you will need a T8 or T9 screwdriver to pull the 5 screws out of the bottom of the circuit board and replace the drive.

Then you can try the drive on the usb to sata adapter again.

If you need help, just give a shout
Chuck House
Core Data Recovery
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by:aaron_murray
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That sounds great, if it doesnt break any seals ill just try that.

Do I understand you correctly that if the drive is the problem (not the controller) its possible to replace the circuit board attached to it for another chance to get it working ? - As long as the circuit board has the same firmware and model as the original ?



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by:coredatarecovery
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Yes, that is exactly what I was saying.

Just use good anti-static procedure and you'll be fine.

(Circuit boards average 50.00 including shipping from ebay (If your is available))

There are several good sources besides ebay, but the price is not as attractive.

Good luck with your data recovery

Chuck House
Core Data Recovery
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by:aaron_murray
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Thanks for your help. Just one quick question and ill give the points to you.

Do you think that if I replaced the board and it didnt work and then exchanged it for the original, that WD would notice :). Just if possible if all else failed I would at least like them to give me a new one.

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by:coredatarecovery
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no, there's no seal being broken, they won't care.
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