External Hard Drive Data Recovery
External Hard Drive Failure:
External hard drives operate in the same way as their internal counterparts with the added benefit of being able to be moved from one locale to another and shared with other users should the need arise. With this new found movement however there comes the potential for additional problems to raise their heads. Among them is the damage to the moving components that can be caused if the external hard drive is moved with too much vigour whilst it is spinning up. To this end one of the most pieces of advice we can give to any client is not to try moving the location of an external hard drive while it is in use; power down and wait for the drive to settle before adjusting its position, even if it is only a matter or inches. The hardware inside an external hard drive is as complex as that of an internal hard drive and can be damaged just as easily so every care should be taken to ensure its proper operation just as with an internal drive.
Mechanical Breakdown Of External Hard Drives:
The additional movement of an external hard drive – even from one side of the desk to another – can lead to hardware faults occurring and the potential loss of data. As detailed above we recommend against moving the drive whilst in the powered on state and as well as this we suggest trying (where possible) to keep the drive away from the edges of a desk or near any location where it can be knocked or brushed against by passers by. One of the very many reasons we are faced with when trying to recover data from an external drive is that it has been knocked over or off a desk by someone passing by. This sudden impact is enough to send the actuator arm that passes the Read/Write head over the platters, onto which the data is stored, off its axis. It is worth noting that this actuator arm whilst sounding like potentially a large piece of hardware inside the drive; is only a portion of the width of a human hair therefore any major impact can cause it to snap beyond any chance of repair.
Issues With External Hard Drive Firmware:
Firmware is the equivalent of the old MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) and is designed specifically by each drive’s manufacturer to allow their hardware to function correctly with the devices and components that it is attached to. Although generally this works well occasions can arise when the firmware malfunctions because of corruption caused by issues with the onboard PCB or because of a sudden power surge that has damaged the chip on which the firmware is stored. Drives of a certain age may have the firmware installed on an onboard memory chip that can because damaged if too much electricity is applied to it. To this end when the firmware on a hard drive (internal or otherwise) is damaged the loss of firmware can leave the drive incapable of reading or writing. We at Nottingham Data Recovery are often asked by our clients to help recover data from external hard drives that have suffered the loss of their firmware program.
Issues With External Hard Drive Jumper Connections:
On the back of all hard drives (internal or external) there is a small rectangular set of pins (eight in total) positioned between the ribbon cable connection and the power supply connection. This is where the jumpers are situated and the purpose of the jumpers is to tell the drive, in relation to the others attached to your computer, in what order it should be loaded. An example of this is when your hard drive is considered to be a master or a slave. Moving the small plastic connector from one set of pins another may change the drive’s startup position from master to slave, or from secondary master to secondary slave (depending on the number of drives already attached to your computer). These pins are very small and are prone to damage if continual moving of the connector without due care takes place. Likewise, a hefty charge of electricity is enough to cause these pins to disconnect from their housings thus rendering the drive’s ability to work as moot.
Failures Caused As A Result Of Your Computer’s Operating System:
A common precursor to a major failure of your external hard drive can be what looks like the sudden disappearance of files and folders without warning or without user intervention. Generally the likelihood of this occurring without the input of the user is rare so the disappearance of such data can be the result of a fault with the Read/Write heads. We are often charged with helping our clients recover data that has suddenly vanished for no apparent reason and as such a request like this is usually seen as a sign of an oncoming major problem. In some instances it can be caused by the operating system if important system files have been altered as the result of an update or the reinstallation of the operating system. It is a good idea to disconnect your external hard drive from your computer should you be carrying out an update or fresh installation so that the resultant installation does not cause the external HDD to become inaccessible.