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Recovering Data From Failed External Hard Drive

One thing that many people who use external hard drives on their computers dread the most is if and when they will fail. Many individuals have, over time, turned to using external hard drives as backup drives or as additional storage to complement internal hard drives. When they fail, it usually means a total loss of all the files and other content stored on them. In some cases, many years’ worth of work, irreplaceable pictures, thousands of music files, and other sentimental documents and files are lost forever. Well, at least that is what the general consensus used to be. Recovering data from failed external hard drives has become easier now.

Recovering Data From Failed External Hard Disk

Thanks to advanced technology that makes it possible to salvage most, if not all, of the contents on external hard drives. It, however, depends on how badly damaged the drive is as well as the type of failure, be it logical (corrupt file system with drive physically undamaged) or mechanical (broken parts that prevent it from working). In addition, one thing that must be kept in mind is that recovering data can be quite expensive in some cases and much cheaper in other instances.

So, how can you effectively recover data from a failed external drive? Let us focus on some ways in which it is possible for recovering data from failed external hard drives.

Physically Accessing the External Drive

Physically Accessing the External Hard Disk
Physically Accessing the External Hard Disk  for Recovering Data From Failed External Hard

There are times when simply connecting the external drive to a different USB port solves the problem. When that does not work, you may have to try accessing the hard drive inside the external hard drive enclosure to ensure that there are no loose cables lying around. If all seems well, you can try removing the drive inside the external hard drive and install it as an extra drive inside your PC.

Connecting the same drive to the PC using a SATA-to-USB adapter is yet another option. You should now be able to access your data. Note that if the internal hard drive that was in the external drive has issues, you will have to find alternate means of recovering your data.

Using a Data Recovery Service Provider

The most expensive way of recovering your data is using the services of a data recovery company. For the most part, if you hear your external hard drive making clicking sounds when the PC attempts to access it, you will need such a service. According to a Brisbane data recovery business, recovering data from failed external drives can take anywhere from hours to days to weeks, depending on the severity of the damage to the drive. The longer it takes to recover the data is the costlier the service becomes.

You may end up paying from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Note too that there is no guarantee that all, if any, of your files will be recovered. The fact that the individuals who attempted to recover your files have to be paid means that you will still end up paying for the service regardless of whether or not you get your files back.

Using a Data Recovery Service Provider - Recovering Data From Failed External Hard
Using a Data Recovery Service Provider – Recovering Data From Failed External Hard

A few of the popular data recovery services are Iomega, Seagate’s i365, and Kroll Ontrack. There are many others from which you can choose, so I advise you to search around for the one that is the best fit for your budget. I have never personally used any data recovery service, so I am unable to vouch for any of them. There are, however, a few people whom I know have used at least one of them. One person in particular said that the company was only able to salvage some of his data due to the fact that his external drive was severely damaged. How badly do you want your files back? How much are you willing to spend? How long can you wait to see if data recovery is even possible? Those are the questions you must ask yourself if you decide to use the services of a data recovery service provider.

Do It Yourself with Data Recovery Software

Some people are quite paranoid about letting someone else see the contents of their external hard drive, even though it has failed and they really want to recover its contents. Others are quite skillful and can help themselves when it comes to using various software. In such scenarios, you may find that both groups of people would rather the DIY method of using data recovery software that can be easily purchased on and downloaded from the Internet. There are also software that are available as freeware; just keep in mind that they may not be as robust as shareware software and some may have certain limitations like time trials and number of usage restrictions before you are asked to pay for and register the software in order to continue using it.

Related: Recover Deleted Files using Disk Drill Free Data Recovery Tools

Some of the popular data recovery software that have yielded some people a measure of success include MiniTool Power Data Recovery, iCare Data Recovery, and EaseUS Data Recovery. Regardless of the data recovery software, once installed and executed, a wizard pops up on screen to guide you through the data recovery process. If you are unsure of how to use any of the data recovery software that you download, simply check the software creator’s website for help. Some of them even provide tutorials and videos to help you to properly using their software.

Once again, please note that there is no guarantee that you will be able to recover any data using these software. They are only as good as the integrity of the external hard drive allows them recovering data from failed external hard disks.

Final Thoughts

Recovering data from failed external drive can be as cheap as using free or purchasing data recovery software online and attempting to recover the data yourself to being as expensive as using a data recovery company to do the job for you. Just remember that in either case there are no guarantees that all, if any, of your files will be recovered. They are just the necessary risks that you have to take if you really need to regain access to your files. It is best to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all!


This is a guest contributor post by Computer-Fixperts. 

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  1. Mark says

    Congratulations on winning the prize for the least informative article regarding this topic.

    Click bait all-round.

    USB recovery – plug it in another socket – really?! That has NOTHING to do with data recovery.

    If you are such an authority on this subject (I’m deliberately being non-specific to not add to the keyword linking you already have here) then why haven’t you listed any freeware tools people can use that actually work, and why do you make a claim about it working, only to retract it again in the same sentence – you doubt your own advice?

    I’m scared for the numpties you’ll be inflicting on the professional IT community if you’re really an instructor.

    What a waste of time.

    1. Shais says

      Hi Mark,

      You are totally right and this contribution article is poor of good tips and experience. Its just some common ideas about recovering of lost data.

      Please read “Recover deleted files using Disk Drill free data recovery Tools” regarding to recover lost data from any devices.

      Your comment is very frank and we appreciate you.

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