I need advice for recovering an external hard drive

About half a year ago I realized that my external hard-drive that I bought on amazon was malfunctioning, I had noticed there was a connection problem even before that, it would connect and disconnect rapidly sometimes, but I didn't think much of it cause my files were still there. then 1 day I tried to open my files which had saved in there (video files), and they couldn't open, but it wasn't just like a straight-right-away error message--it was loading and loading, like there was something there, it just couldn't open, and when I tried to “safely remove hardware” It would not allow me to, even with all windows closed it would say “please close programs using the drive”.. I had to just pull the USB out. I unplugged and re-plugged it several times, to see if I could find a way to open the files (and I tried everything like moving the file to C drive to open, or using a different computer, nothing worked)... every-time I tried the files appeared differently, like sometimes it would just not be there, (actually every time the folder would come up empty at first), sometimes there'd only be like half of them, and then the rest would load, but then there wouldn't be the names or thumbnails, sometimes just the names not the thumbnails, sometimes names and thumbnails, but not dates or info, sometimes there was everything included accept it wouldn't play... it would open the video player and the video player would load a bit and then would give up.. My hard drive seems like it has Alzheimer’s and it is having trouble pulling up different parts of the file but I am sure there is a way to recover the files because I know it’s in there somewhere, the data wasn’t wiped, I think it just doesn't know how to use the data to play the video because the video is somehow corrupted ...

I want to get the drive recovered, but I most importantly don't want to give the drive to someone who hooks it up to a computer and unsuccessfully tries a whole lot of things to recover the data, and then after all that the drive may self-destruct even more and make the problem even harder to solve… I feel that every-time the drive is powered on, it’s probably somehow screwing itself up even more, Plus the whole issue with the unstable connection (which is what I believe caused the malfunction in the first place) will probably find a way to screw it up further.. So before anyone tries to recover the data with a computer, I want to have the drive completely cloned, but I don't know how that can be done, I am thinking I could buy the exact same model and then ask a hardware expert to scan the drive with a machine and clone the data onto the other drive, it might even be better to have 2 or 3 other cloned drives just to be safe… The last thing I want is to pay some nutjob at the data recovery company to **** up the drive permanently, if that happens then I can’t even bring it to a real good data recovery expert..

In the future when I have more money I’d want to hire like a real smart computer expert, who is smart and creative, someone who treats data recovery like Sherlock Holmes treats crime solving, treating every situation differently, not following a procedure... I don't trust those 9-5 working folks in a data recovery company who don’t really care about your data cause they’re still getting paid at the end of the day. Right now though, I have not much money and I can't wait forever because I hear that hard-drives lose their magnetic energy if not powered on for a while, and it could lose your data even after a year of sitting in storage, I don't want that to happen. I feel that I can't wait any longer; these files are so incredibly important to me, I can't afford to lose them. They are like all I worked on for many years. So, please tell me, what would you do? How would you handle this? Thanks for reading & Thanks for any advice or help.

(P.S. I have about 1,500 USD saved up and that's all I'm going to have for a good while, I have no job because I am disabled but I won't get into that... so what would you do, if you had 1,500 dollars and broken drive?)

Again I really appreciate any replies, even If you are not an expert.. I am posting this on like 12 other forums so any reply is helpful even if you don't know much. Thanks.


You need to 'recover the partition table' on that drive -- VERY CAREFULLY.

Search for GPART and read read read what this is all about -- THEN ask how to investigate PT for correct format w/o loosing the data.