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External hard drive blown up

Posted on 2011-10-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have two 500 gb external hard drives connected to my home PC where I keep backup, movies, music, etc and while my computer was on a couple of days ago, there was an electrical surge in my neighborhood that caused the PC to go down (along with everything connected to it). The computer and every other piece of hardware came back up except for my Maxtor One Touch. Windows 7 attempts to install the drivers for it and comes up with "could not find drivers" or something like that even though it worked fine the day before (assuming the drivers ARE still on the PC). Is this fixable and if not, is there any way to get the files off of it?
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Question by:Laura Sheldon
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20 Comments
 
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
sentner earned 400 total points
ID: 37041012
If it's a single drive unit (not one with a built-in RAID function), then you can try removing the drive and directly connecting it to the computer's controller.  It may just be the external controller that has failed, and not the drive itself.  This would let you get the files off of it.

Beyond that, you can try to get it warranty-replaced.  An actual "repair" would probably be more expensive than you'd want to pay.
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37041034
How can I tell if it's a single drive unit?
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald earned 400 total points
ID: 37041087
I don't see any Maxtor OneTouch enclosures that look like they hold more than one drive.

[sentner] is suggesting you remove the drive from the enclosure.  If you're not comfortable with that, you can probably take it to a local computer store (or Best Buy) and ask them to remove and evaluate the drive for you.  The drive may be good, while the enclosure itself may be bad.
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37041150
OK. I'll try this as soon as I can! Thanks!
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:sentner
ID: 37041165
You should be able to tell just by the width, but the best way to tell would be to open it up.  Some are easy to disassemble, while others are very difficult.  If it's difficult to get apart (for example, if the screws are hidden under labels), then don't open it unless you are willing to void the warranty.  Even then, don't open it if you aren't comfortable working with hardware.  As paulmacd says, you could take it to Best Buy or such to do that part (again, assuming that you are willing to void the warranty by opening it).
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 37041440
Note that if you remove the drive, you'll void the warranty on the drive.    While that's probably not an issue (I presume your data is more important), you should be aware of that.    A drive's warranty only covers physical replacement of the drive -- NOT recovery of the data.

If you want to recover the data, you can first try removing the drive and connecting it directly to your PC (either via an internal port or with a USB bridge device like this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119244 ),  and if this doesn't work, you can then send it to a professional data recovery company.    This is an excellent one:  http://www.gillware.com/    Note that professional recovery will cost ~ $400 or more.

If the drive is "seen" when you connect it directly, but you still can't see your data, try a good recovery program like GetDataBack [http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm ] -- that's likely to be much less expensive than sending the drive off.
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37041538
Thanks for the info!
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LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 400 total points
ID: 37043376
i would test the  drives first on another PC - to be sure it is a drive problem (it can also be an USB problem in the pc)
you can also test the usb ports with other usb devices
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 400 total points
ID: 37043948
Take the drive out of the USB enclosure and connect it directly to free SATA connector on PC. If it does not work then HDD needs professional recovery service.
But I think that something burnt in your USB enclosure only.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:sentner
ID: 37044989
Noxcho, please read the other comments before replying.  You should only reply with a suggestion if it is a new one, not repeating what others have suggested.  
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 37045526
Noxcho, please read the other comments before replying.  You should only reply with a suggestion if it is a new one, not repeating what others have suggested.  

Never knew that expressing your professional opinion here is limited to one voice.
Actually decisions are taken here by asker based on the number of similar opinions and normally the post which first mentioned the solution is admitted as answer.
If you fear that points could go to someone else than you (points for taking drive out of enclosure), be quiet - we will drag attention of moderator and assign them to you ;)
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:sentner
ID: 37045564
Expressing an opinion is fine, but it is generally against the etiquette of this site to simply repeat others' answers as if they were your own idea.  To say, "I agree with XYZ" is ok when there are multiple options presented and the questioner is trying to decide between conflicting answers is fine.  
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:sentner
ID: 37045574
From the FAQ:  

Read previous posts before commenting: It is important to read the entire thread so that you know the current situation. That will keep you from posting a duplicate answer or one that has already been shown not to work. If you basically agree with another comment but have something more to add, remember to give credit for the original suggestion -- mention that Expert by name -- in your post.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 37045894
I agree with noxcho that it's likely the logic board in the USB enclosure was burnt out and the drive itself is very likely fine.   You'll find that out for sure if you follow our suggestions above r.e. connecting the drive independently.
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37046194
Really? Arguing?
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37046613
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for lmlsRPhouse's comment http:/Q_27419301.html#37046194

for the following reason:

:-(
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37046214
:-(
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:sentner
ID: 37046614
Sorry for distracting from the discussion.  In any case, my original suggestion, which was supported by gary and noxcho is still the best course of action.
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Author Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37046927
Thanks.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Laura Sheldon
ID: 37056646
Since y'all coulnd't get along, I'm splitting the difference. The solution (connecting w/a SATA cable), however, worked perfectly and I do thank you all for that.
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