External HDD fried
February 25, 2012 3:47 PM   Subscribe

External HDD no longer recognized.

My Seagate Free Agent Go is no longer recognized. I have tried different machines (I'm using XP but have tried it with another PC and Apple Mac), and I've pulled the drive out of the casing and slotted it into a Synology NAS.

No luck at all with any of the above, though the HDD is whirring. Any suggestions?
posted by Kiwi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you just trying to get the data off of it? I've had luck with freezing the drive in a plastic bag. I leave it in the freezer for a few hours, and then work quickly to get the data off. In the case of a nearly full 500GB drive, it took two freeze cycles to get it all.
posted by narcoleptic at 3:59 PM on February 25, 2012

Pull the drive out and try it in another enclosure. I have had many power supplies fail on external hard drives and the drives themselves work perfectly fine.
posted by jmsta at 4:50 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: narcoleptic - that's on my list of options.
jmsta - would another enclosure be more likely to work than my attempt at slotting directly into a NAS?
posted by Kiwi at 12:24 AM on February 26, 2012

When you say it isn't recognized, do you mean that you don't see it in Windows or you don't see it at POST if you connect it internally to the PC? If the former is true but not the latter, it could be that the FAT got mangled somehow and you can try some free or inexpensive recovery software to get things off it. Also, try running the diagnostic software from the harddrive manufacturer.

If the latter is true, it could be a hardware issue. Try the freezer thing. If that doesn't work, there are recovery services out there that will give you a quote for a moderate fee. I've had good success paying for data recovery. It's not cheap (few thousand dollars per drive) but it's a possibility. I got all my data (years of pictures and documents) back even though there was physical damage to the drive.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:48 AM on February 26, 2012

usb connections on the enclosure can fail as well.
posted by rhizome at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2012

It depends on the NAS and how it works. Depending on the type of computer you have and the type and size of the hard drive that is inside your enclosure you might be able to get away with open the computer up and inserting the drive in a spare bay.
posted by jmsta at 5:37 AM on February 26, 2012

I would suggest buying a usb-to-sata cable and trying with no enclosure, but the fact that it didn't work in the NAS might indicate that it's dead. Time to restore from backup and replace!
posted by FrereKhan at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2012

Response by poster: Philosopher D; I still am yet to connect it internally to a PC slot. I guess that will be the next step before freezing it!

Luckily there's nothing really crucial on it (and its not backed up), but it would be a pain to lose what's there....
posted by Kiwi at 5:09 AM on February 27, 2012

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