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Need to recover My Book external hard disk!

Posted on 2009-05-17
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Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Hello


I have a serious problem.
My brother plugged in a wrong adapter in my Western Digital external hard disk.
That's of course deadly for the HD.
When I plug in the normal adapter, the blue light starts to flick but I don't here the HD spinning.
When plugging in the USB cable, nothing happens.

I have really important data on it.
Everything from school is on that hard disk, all my pictures are there...

Do you have some advice for me what to do?
If possible, something that I can do myself because I'm a student. I don't really have much money to consult a recovery service. Recovery services a really expensive!


Thank you in advance.
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Question by:alohadin
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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 24407013
Remove the HD from the USB case and connect directly as 2nd HD to your PC. If the HD is still OK you should be able to copy your data off, or even get yourself another USB case to put it into.

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by:alohadin
ID: 24407150
OK, I will try that.
Now the problem is that I'm not home right now.
I come back next Saturday so I will try that on Saturday.
Thank you for the quick reply.

Can you tell me what the chance is that the HD is not damaged?
Is there any security that prevents the HD to be damaged when these things happen.

I know these questions are so stupid but I kinda want some reassurance.
Those data from school are very important.
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by:rindi
ID: 24407171
Your chances for success are about 50-50 or better. As the USB electronics first get the power from the adapter they would break before the HD. If the HD itself is broken you'd have to send it to a recovery agency like Gilware:

http://gillware.com/
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by:garycase
ID: 24407255
It depends on how the internal power supply is regulated.    Although the electronic interface for the hard drive passes through a SATA/IDE -> USB bridge (most likely SATA in this case); the power for the drive is supplied from the adapter.   If there's an internal regulator, then the drive's probably okay;  if not, the electronics on the drive's PCB may also be "hosed."   If that's the case, the only reasonable way to recover the data is with a disk recovery service ... which will cost you at least $400 (Gillware, as noted above, is an excellent choice:  http://www.gillware.com/ ).

In any event, it won't hurt anything to remove the drive and try it ... although if the drive's under warranty you may void the warranty (call WD first and ask -- if they're notified in advance they may authorize you to remove it for a data recovery attempt and still honor the warranty).    You may also want to buy one of these very-handy-to-have gadgets to connect the drive to your system (it allows you to connect any 2.5" or 3.5", IDE or SATA, via a USB port):  http://www.buyextras.com/sausb20toide.html
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by:garycase
ID: 24407260
... one additional comment:   There's a simple rule you should always remember with regard to hard drives ==> they DO and WILL fail.   Always have any important data on at least two different storage devices (two hard drives;  a hard drive and a DVD; etc.).    Too late for this case ... but once you (hopefully) get your data recovered, be sure to keep it backed up in the future.
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by:rindi
ID: 24407314
Warranty probably won't apply here as the MyBook was mishandled. This is normally considered as the user's fault and doesn't fall into warranty.
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by:noxcho
ID: 24407449
I doubt that WD did not predict such misuse and let the drive burn up this way. The box electro chains could die and the HDD itself is healthy.
Also I agree with rindi, misuse is not covered by warranty, repair shop is more realistic in this case than warranty. So taking out the drive - connecting directly to PC is the only visible correct step at the moment.
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by:alohadin
ID: 24411071
Thank you for all your replies.
I will try to take the drive out and connect it to my PC.
A friend also told me that it's possible that the PCB is damaged and that the HD is still ok. So replacing the PCB could also fix the problem.
This is possible because that friend has a PCB from his My Book that he doesn't use.

And the warranty is really not important. I don't care for the HD, only for the data on it.

I will keep you informed.
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by:rindi
ID: 24411240
If under PCB you mean that of the HD, then it is unlikely it'll work, as the PCB must be the correct one, up to the exact same revision level. It is very unlikely that even the same model of MyBook contains the exact same Harddisk, even if the they are all from the same manufacturer.

If under PCB he means the internal electronics of the MyBook USB case, then of course it has to be the same MyBook model, but there are many different models out there...
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by:noxcho
ID: 24411271
The best way IMHO is to by new enclosure for the drive mode (SATA or IDE) and put the MyBook drive (first take it out off original box) then connect it to PC.
I do not buy those well designed external drives. A good enclosure + drive of necessary capacity makes things easier. You can replace the drive at any moment and it is cheaper.
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by:alohadin
ID: 24466239
Ok, I removed the HD from the enclosure and plugged it in a Sata-to-USB adapter but it doesn't work.
The drive doesn't spin.
I've noticed that the PCB starts to smell a little. I think that the PCB is broken.
Maybe some other suggestions?
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by:noxcho
ID: 24466293
Bring it to repair shop. Smelling indicates hardware issue so no way to try doing anything yourself. This could have bad circumstances for hardware of PC.  
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by:garycase
ID: 24466945
At this point you have essentially two options for recovering your data:

(1)  Definitely the best choice is to send the drive to a professional repair facility.   One of the best reasonably priced outfits is  http://www.gillware.com/    They charge ~ $400 for most repairs ... more if the drive needs specialized cleanroom work.   But they have a "no recovery, no fee" policy -- so it won't cost you anything if the data's not recoverable.

(2)  If the data's not that important, or you simply can't afford it, you can CAREFULLY try replacing the PCB with one from another identical drive.   But it has to be an IDENTICAL drive -- same make/model and same firmware ... so depending on the age of the unit this might be difficult to find (try ebay).   This will "waste" the cost of the other drive ... but that's most likely well under $100.    ... and it may not work if the issue is something more serious than just the PCB  (although from what you've described there's a fairly good chance that's the problem).
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by:alohadin
ID: 24493938
I've read many positive reviews about Gillware, but isn't that a US company?
I'm from Europe.

I've already searched for repair company's in Europe but they're all too expensive.
Most of them charge about 100 euro only to see what's wrong and you don't even have a guarantee that your data will be recovered.
That's why Gillware is one of the best, but it's in the US.

I will try to find an identical drive to replace the PCB as this is probably the problem.

In the meanwhile I will accept a solution here because I don't think you can help me further. You already helped me enough.
The only problem is that there are more useful comments here.
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by:rindi
ID: 24494439
gary is from the UK, so he's a kind of "Outer European" (I'm swiss, so I'm a not EU European), anyway, you can probably send the disk to the US too, although you'll have to pay what mailing charges you.

I believe there are also similar companies in Europe with similar policies like Gillware, although they will be more expensive.

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by:garycase
ID: 24495550
"... gary is from the UK ..."  ????? ==>   Last I checked, Texas was still in the U.S.  :-)
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by:rindi
ID: 24495578
I always thought you were from the UK! Did I mix you up with someone else? I must check your profile again, sorry!!!!
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by:alohadin
ID: 24497494
heheh :)
Thank you all again for your help.
If nothing else helps, I will try a recovery service.

The thing is, only 15GB of the 500GB is really important to me.
That is, all my pictures and some files from school.
So I will do everything to recover the data :)
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