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My external hard drive wont work
September 5, 2009 1:23 PM   Subscribe

until today, my laptop wont read and open up my external hard drive. i haven't unplugged it without safely removing it or anything either. it also makes this constant tapping noise, like the sound of a tap dripping. (which it never used to make) does anyone know what i can do to make my laptop find my external or fix it? cheers
posted by sockpim to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Sounds to me like your laptop isn't at fault, it's your hard drive that failed. Funny noises are never a good sign.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:27 PM on September 5, 2009


This FPP includes links to sounds that hard drives make when they're dying or dead, for reference. Your laptop is probably just fine.
posted by odinsdream at 1:45 PM on September 5, 2009


Yeah, they often call that a "click of death." It's dead. Some people might come on here with pieces of advice that may bring you some small amount of hope, but it will be false hope.

There may be data recovery places that can help for thousands of dollars, but beyond that, not much to be done for it.

Sorry. Has happened to me.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:47 PM on September 5, 2009


if your are looking for it in mycomputer section and it doesn't show up it may be a drive letter access problem try removing all flash drives and cameras and reboot. but it sounds like your hd is failing or already has. check with another usb cable or firewire cable if you have one. go to start>run> type compmgmt.msc and look for disk management see if the disk shows up if t does right click on the correct drive and select properties look for the tool tab do an error check and defrag and backup. if all that fails you have to take the drive out of its case and put in another enclosure or a desktop computer and do the above steps to get at the disk it may all be lost without costly data retrieval is none of these solutions work.
posted by bravowhiskey at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2009


Your drive is toast.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 2:01 PM on September 5, 2009


This may be a stretch, but if this external drive is powered via usb and is not getting enough juice (some laptop usb ports are underpowered), it can just sit there making a funny noise. Not sure why this would happen all of a sudden, but if it IS usb powered, maybe try plugging it into a desktop computer?
posted by orme at 3:15 PM on September 5, 2009


Tapping sounds might be the sign of a head stuck to the platter so it can't spin up; if everything else fails you can google for different methods to get them loose for one final read. I personally had success with the not-so-gentle-tap when an old HDD mounted in an external enclosure failed; others have tried the zip-loc bag in the freezer method with success.
All of these will probably work only once, if that, and probably ruin your choices of further data recovery; but it's better than simply throwing the drive in the trash.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:28 PM on September 5, 2009


This may be a stretch, but if this external drive is powered via usb and is not getting enough juice (some laptop usb ports are underpowered), it can just sit there making a funny noise. Not sure why this would happen all of a sudden, but if it IS usb powered, maybe try plugging it into a desktop computer?

I have had this exact problem with an external hard drive on my laptop: for some reason, one of the two usb ports supplied enough power to keep the drive on but the other did not. On the underpowered port, the drive made a very scary clicking noise as it repeatedly tried to power up and stalled out. So try all of the other available ports on the laptop; if this doesn't work, trying it on a desktop seems like a good suggestion.
posted by monocyte at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2009


In my experience, there are a few more minutes to be had if you freeze the drive. That is, take the drive out, put it in an external case, and put the lot into the freezer (in a plastic bag to protect from moisture). Put a new drive in the laptop.

Once the broken drive is cold, take it out, plug it in and get your files off it, in order of importance.

Once the drive warms up, it will break again. You can try freezing again, etc.
posted by cogat at 10:08 PM on September 5, 2009


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