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How to retrieve files that are not lost or deleted from a damaged WD Passport external HDD.

Posted on 2014-08-19
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Last Modified: 2014-10-01
Hi,

I have an NTFS formatted WD Passport 1TB hard disk that has clearly got damaged. It takes a good thirty minutes for it to be recognised on Windows 8.1, while it doesn't show up at all on Mac OS Yosemite. However delayed, I can access my files on the external hard disk on Windows 8.1. The problem is, to use these files on the hard disk has become difficult as it takes a long time to open and once open, they lag while playing in the case of movies or music. It took two hours to transfer a 2gb file on to my Windows desktop.

So I decided to recover these files on to another external HDD using EaseUS Data Recovery and a few others. But what happens is that these softwares only discover deleted or lost files. Is there any other software that can help me transfer these existing files from the damaged HDD to a working one?
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Question by:october16
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40270275
Since there are so many components that can fail on an external hard disk, it's hard to tell what's going on right now.
Best case scenario: It's the USB interface that's damaged. Open the case as carefully as possible (VOIDING your warranty now!!! BE AWARE!), and now connect it directly to your PC (which should be OFF now), on the SATA connection. If opening your computer case is too much for you, you have to get a generic SATA/USB cable converter or case. Connect it to the device or cable, and connect that to your PC. Start copying, and hopefully it's full speed. If that's the case, all your data is safe, it's the USB interface that's damaged.

If it's still slow, it's still the hard disk, probably the controller. This can only be fixed if you have EXACTLY the same model hard disk, which is not very likely you will find soon.
Also a small possibility is that the controller mechanism is defect (the robotic arm), or that the platters have problems (with the magnetism or other damage). In this case, you're out of luck (unless you spend up to 1000 bucks for professional laboratory data recovery services)
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by:noxcho
ID: 40270324
The software you use is for deleted data recovery. Not for data copy.
You need either to clone this HDD to another HDD or copy out data from it one by one.
After that format the drive. Maybe it is not broken yet.
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Author Comment

by:october16
ID: 40270362
@Kimputer: If you mean the USB interface of my laptop, then that's working perfectly fine as the speeds with other external hard drives is pretty good. I have a feeling its the WD external HDD that's damaged. My daughter plucked it out without safe removal. Now to save the data, I need to know a way of transferring that is faster than select and move to my laptop. Like I said, select and move is taking like 2 hours to trasfer 2gb. I have 700+ gb of data to rescue.

@noxcho: How do I clone this damaged HDD to another working HDD?
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40270391
I did NOT mean anything about your laptop. In case you don't know, the WD is a just a plain hard disk (SATA, as you would by in a computer store), with a case around it and a USB interface, That's the interface I mean. There are generic hard disk cases, also on USB. It should be cheap enough, and might be able to help you out with this particular problem. But as I said, a hard disk has many components, and an external HDD has extra components (the case, the USB interface I told you about). You risk buying a generic HDD case for nothing, if that's not the problem. There is no other way (except if some friend has one lying around)
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by:rindi
ID: 40270440
Just copy those files to your local system like you would normally, no matter how long it takes.

After that run the WD diagnostic on the disk, and depending on what it shows, return it for warranty, or use the diagnostics to format it, after which it may be sable again.

Next time make sure you have backups of all your files, then when such a disk goes bad you won't have to worry about copying data off before you replace it...
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by:garycase
ID: 40270652
If the files are in fact being copied, just bite the bullet and wait it out.   Copy the most critical ones first, just in case the drive finally gives up the ghost and fails.

A quicker approach would be to simply copy the data from your backups ... but if you aren't backed up that's not an option.    [You should reconsider your backup strategy if that's the case ... ALL data you don't want to lose should always be stored in at least two different places.]
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by:noxcho
ID: 40271200
Cloning can be done using HDD cloning software. Pretty many programs do exist for this. Free one is Clonezilla www.clonezilla.org
Paid one Drive Copy www.drive-copy.com
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by:nobus
ID: 40271840
when your data has been saved - run a quick diag, to ensure the drive operates normal
http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=201&sid=3
then try running HDDRegenerator, it helped recover many drives for me (another one yesterday)
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html
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Author Comment

by:october16
ID: 40276144
I greatly appreciate all your advice. However, backing up takes some strange hours like 5528. HD Regenerator fails to read it. So fed up, I have formatted it. Despite the re-formatting the drive is slow. There seems to be a hardware problem.
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40276155
As I said, with hardware problems in an external hdd, you can decide to spend money to diagnose it further or not. Because it's an external hard disk, you have control over the USB part, which you can buy as a generic hdd case.
That's because sometimes the hardware problem is in the usb casing, and sometimes it's not (it's really in the hdd itself). That's why I asked you to try that first, in best case scenario, the copy could have gone flawlessly at the correct speeds.
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rindi earned 2000 total points
ID: 40276272
Run the WD diagnostic on the disk. If it shows an error you will need that to get a warranty replacement or to RMA it.
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40354173
Please note that warranty ALWAYS means COMPLETE LOSS of data (your original post was actually about data recovery).
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by:rindi
ID: 40354182
That isn't correct. If there is warranty on the disk, you can send it to a professional recovery agency, and they are allowed to even open the disk if necessary to recover the data, and after that you can still get a warranty replacement from the disk manufacturer.

Such agencies have contracts with the manufacturers regarding that. But of course the price for recovery will then be very high, particularly compared to the price of a disk and the need for having a good backup anyway, to make recovery unneeded.
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by:Kimputer
ID: 40354193
Actually, only I mentioned professional laboratory data recovery services, and that was ignored. Since he awarded your solution full points, it's easy to assume he would send it straight for replacement. Since that solution will have the opposite effect on his original question (data gone, instead of data recovery), I just wanted to send out a warning. That's all.
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by:rindi
ID: 40354259
The data is probably not worth the price for recovery.
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