External hard drive suddenly stopped working


Posts: 6   +0
Hey everyone, I've officially got THE worst luck with technology EVER.

Today, my Western Digital 500GB External HDD has stopped working. One minute it's working fine - the next its completely unresponsive. I deleted a music folder off the hard drive that wouldnt play and I dont know if that's been the cause of it to become unstable.

When I plug it in via USB I can feel the disk spinning inside and loading, but the windows sound does not play. About 2-3 minutes later I get the sound but it does not appear under Hard Disk Drives on My Computer. When I try to go into device manager it crashes windows explorer.

After a couple of attempts the name is now "Local Disk I:' and not even 'Elements'

After about 10-15 minutes of being plugged in the drive clicks and won't do anything else.

I REALLY need some of the work off the hard drive - It's so important to my second year at university.

Any help you can give me I will be eternally grateful. Call me a *******, but I usually back up my work via dropbox anyway but theres some bits I didnt back up yet and it's so important I get them.

I've looked at getting a universal drive adaptor but i've heard about data recovery software but there seem to be so many out there - If my hard drive isnt completely screwed could someone reccomend me one or give me some advice?

Thanks in advance.


Posts: 6   +0
Yea, i've done it multiple times. It has just loaded up then but it crashed windows explorer.

Just made the clicking sound again too =/

EDIT: Running chkdisk now while it's on and it is stuck at 69381 index entries.


Posts: 10,605   +464
If its clicking like that, its done. Freezer trick may work, I've not personally seen it done, but over the years I've heard of it working on occasion.

Before you totally give up, you might take a look at Hiren's Boot CD. It has several data recovery utilities on it, and you can boot from the disk into a 'mini xp mode' that you can launch the utilities from. I've used a couple different ones with varying degrees of success (once, complete success on a drive that Windows wanted to initialize before mounting).

What you don't want to do is keep the disk spinning more than necessary. It may not make it worse, but its certainly not making it better. Conventional wisdom is never run a dying drive longer than you have to, and recover the most important data first.

Now, to the less 'in the now' helpful part. Speaking as a 2 time Master's student and a former PhD student, you need to have a minimum of 2 copies of important stuff. You kind of were doing this by using dropbox, which is good, I use that too. But you need it working instantly, not relying on you to upload later. Get whatever folder you are working in as one of the folders Dropbox is monitoring. That way as soon as you save and exit its going to the cloud (on Windows. On Macs, you save that file its to the cloud right then, no need to exit the program).