Crashed External Seagate Drive

Posted on 2014-09-01
Last Modified: 2015-05-12
Is it possible to recover data from an external seagate drive that has crashed?
Question by:defixer
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    Depends how it has crashed.  Could be a bad board, or a mechanical failure of the drive.

    If you have, or have access to, an identical drive, you can try swapping the boards on the bottom of the drives (may require special bits, and could void your warranty.)

    If it's a mechanical failure, your only option is to mail the drive in for data recover services ($$$-$$$$$).
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    If the disk is physically ticking / clicking / grinding / screeching, or any other evidence of physical mechanical failure, professional data recovery is the only feasible option and will cost in the >$1000 range.

    In some very rare instances, if the disk isn't spinning up at all and is just making a rhythmic clicking sound, sometimes the heads are stuck in the park position. I've managed to unstick them in the past by giving the side of the disk a firm smack into the palm of my hand. It's pretty rare that works, but I've had success doing that a couple times before. If the disk does wake up and start working, get your data off pronto, it will probably die permanently a few minutes later.

    If the drive spins up, is recognized by Windows and everything seems to work except that it is asking you to format the disk or the partition is showing up as "RAW", or there is some other logical error with the data on the disk as opposed to a mechanical failure, you can attempt data recovery yourself using software tools like Runtime Software's GetDataBack (

    For anything else, the first easy thing you can try to do is remove the disk from the enclosure, and connect it directly to your PC (either connect it to a desktop computer via the SATA port, or use a SATA->USB adapter like this If the problem is the enclosure and not the disk itself, you might be able to rescue the data that way.

    But if that fails, and you actually care about the data, really your next step should be professional data recovery. Trying to do "heroics" on the disk like swapping boards, opening it up, freezing it etc. will more likely than not damage the disk further and make recovery impossible.
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    I'd remove the drive from the casing and connect it to an internal SATA port to see if the issue is just the circuit board in the USB bridge device (i.e. the external case).

    If that doesn't work, then you'll need to send the drive to a professional data recovery company, as noted above.    One of the better ones I've found is Gillware ... most drives cost between $400 & $600, although if they need extensive cleanroom work it can be a bit higher.   That's actually very reasonable by data recovery standards.    They also have a "no recovery, no fee" policy -- so if they can't recover anything, it doesn't cost you anything.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment

    If you go swapping bits from another hard drive then you best read this first.

    Short story.  Bits need to be totally identical (or very close to it) for that to work.
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    All of the above is fine, do not panic just breathe.
    Now I've manage to recover my files from a dead usb, reformatted and a dead hard drive, using a program called photo rec
    you'll be required to learn a few Linux command.

    The program is easy to but the files come back with weird names so I had to rename all files, I didn't mind renaming since I had all my files.

    With that said I have also had my enclosure died on me, but when installed drive in computer itself, it spun right up and my files were present. I hope this helps
    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    the answer is : probably yes
    depending on the worth of the data, try yourself to recover it - in such case GetDataBack is the best :

    or use a recover service

    replacing the disk logic board often results in the drive having other parameters, and badsectors (stored on the boards)
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    If it's one of the those newer 2/3 tb Seagate Expansion Desk USB Devices, you will have problems opening it.
    I have one and I can see no screws, on any easy means of opening it (including under the rubber feet).

    You could try testdisk and see if there is a problem with the partition.
    It's free and is really good at what it does.

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