My Seagate FreeAgent external HD may have been damaged in a move. Making clicking noises and not being detected by my computer.
August 19, 2008 6:21 PM   Subscribe

My Seagate FreeAgent external HD may have been damaged in a move. Making clicking noises and not being detected by my computer.

My Seagate FreeAgent is not being recognized by my computer and is making clicking noises and light is flickering accordingly. This is after a move where the HD

Other computers cannot recognize the drive.

There is a great deal of work-related data and my music collection on this HD. [WAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!]

Is there any chance of physical recovery?
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
There are a dozen previous threads regarding harddrive recovery -- there are a few highly recommended companies such as Ontrack that will do recovery for ~$1000-$2000 for you. There is also the "freezer trick", (specifically here) wherein you put the harddrive in a freezer for a few hours, and you get a few minutes to copy everything off before it returns to its dead state.

The clicking you hear is the heads inside the drive trying to reset themselves.

So, first try freezer trick, if that fails decide if your data is worth $1000-$2000.
posted by SirStan at 6:32 PM on August 19, 2008

Is it a FreeAgent or a FreeAgent Go drive? The Go version is the smaller 2.5" drive which is bus powered rather than its own power supply brick. If it is the Go version, I've sometimes run into USB ports not putting out enough juice to power them and have to use the Y cable that splices in power from a 2nd port.

If it's the 3.5" version it's most likely the hard drive "click of death". You could try Spinrite to salvage the drive, it's been known to work miracles.
posted by sharkfu at 6:33 PM on August 19, 2008

Not to beat a dead horse -- But now you see why people always push backups. You may want to keep this experience in mind, and share it with others as to why you need more than one copy of your data.
posted by SirStan at 6:33 PM on August 19, 2008

ydnagaj: "I would recommend against Spinrite. Many people, myself included, don't consider GRC to know what he is talking about.

Spinrite (respected data recovery expert) is about as useful as sending the drive to a Scientology meeting.
posted by SirStan at 6:40 PM on August 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, I stand corrected on the Spinrite. I thought it was a pretty good app. Oh well.
posted by sharkfu at 6:45 PM on August 19, 2008

That sucks!

Ultimate Boot CD to check if the drive is seen at all on a hardware level.

Also get a screwdriver and get inside to see if any connections have shaken loose.
posted by rhizome at 6:55 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: it's the fullsize.

and I would have backed up... but we're talking close to a TB of data.

but yea... I guess I should have had an external HD to back up the external HD.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 6:58 PM on August 19, 2008

I'm almost hesitant to give this advice but as a last ditch effort, like you're about to package it up and RMA it, give it a good slap as its spinning up. Sometimes you can jar it into place long enough for you to copy data off of it. If you plan on sending it to a data recovery service, obviously don't do this, but it's worth a shot if you're going to give up anyways. I've lost a few harddrives over the years so I feel your pain.
posted by bertrandom at 9:04 PM on August 19, 2008

Please try the "slapping" trick only as a completely LAST resort, if at all. Like, right before you chuck it in the recycle bin for good maybe. If you physically beat up a drive thats trying to work at 5400 or 7200 rpm, you will almost certainly induce more damage than good.

Freezer trick is your plan A. Sending it to a recovery service that will remove and dump the data from the platters is plan B, but make sure your data is really worth the price because you usually get charged even if it's a failed attempt.

If you have a TB of data or more, backing up sections of it onto DVDs, the important "mission critical" stuff, is advisable. You won't have it all on a disc, but you'll have the really important stuff. Your iTunes library isn't that important I would assume, and if it was, well... honestly, get another TB drive to backup the first one.

Also a note when transporting hard drives. Even though they're in enclosures to make them "external", they're still very delicate and even when powered off, can be jarred and shaken into causing themselves damage. Transport with CARE. I typically transport loose drives bubblewrapped, and in a box that I can keep an eye on and make sure is steady in the car/truck.
posted by mr.anthony337 at 10:16 PM on August 19, 2008

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