Not on Christmas... external drive failure?

By Wine Did Me In ยท 10 replies
Dec 25, 2010
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  1. I have a 1tb Freeagent that got from my father back in June. Its worked absolutely fine since then but ever since last night it hasn't worked a single bit. The last thing I was doing was copying some files and then... kaputz.

    I have checked many forums. At first I could see it come up in My Computer, every once in a while (frequently more like it) it gave me the dreaded message, 'You must format this hard drive'. Foolishly, I didn't, as it is my only back up drive with everything I have ever had on it since last year. By the way it had been clicking on and off, but before the light could completely turn off it restarts. Because of that, I cannot or could not copy, back up, or even format the damn thing at all.

    I thought by going to sleep I would wake up on Christmas morning and everything would be okay. It got worse. Now I can't see it in My Computer, it doesn't show up as a random drive (Local Disk J:, for instance, instead of Freeagent Drive G: ) and it clicks on and off and does squat.

    When I plug it in everything that I could use for it freezes until I unplug it, even the safely remove hardware thing. It doesn't show up in Disk Management and device manager says that nothing is wrong, but when I right click on it, it freezes just like everything else.

    I didn't droop it or anything either. I unplugged it for something else and lo and behold, chaos ensued. PS, I have tried it on five computers, three different cables, two AC power cords, four different outlets, three different ports, and unplugging everything but the AC cord in hopes that it wasn't receiving enough power. I am not good with computer speak seeing as I'm in high school, so please take it easy on me.

    Any help would be appreciated. Even if its, "It's dead Jim."
  2. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Posts: 220

    Sounds to me like the external drive might be kaput, sorry.

    If the drive is still under warranty you can most likely send it back to the manufacturer and they will replace/repair the drive and recover your data for free.

    If not, you can try to recover the data yourself but this will almost definitely void the warranty and the process can be fairly complicated.

    Hope this helps.

    PS: Many times manufacturers will replace your faulty device even if it is not covered by a warranty. Make sure to ask them before you attempt any repairs yourself if you aren't confident.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I'd be surprised if the company will recover your data for you, but they would replace it if its under warranty.

    There is a chance that just the enclosure died, you could open it up and put the drive inside your computer and try that..
  4. Wine Did Me In

    Wine Did Me In TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks guys, I mean it.

    But uh... what is an enclosure? And I'm kinda afraid of opening my computer. Scared of being electrocuted and all that.
  5. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Posts: 220

    External hard drives consist of a hard drive (the same kind that are inside your computer) and the enclosure, which is basically a case for the hard drive that includes a power and data interface so you can plug it in to your computer through USB. What SNGX1275 was saying is that there is a chance that this case has failed and the hard drive inside should be fine.

    I personally think you should contact the manufacturer's customer service and tell them your drive has failed, and ask if they will replace it and recover your data. If they do not have a data recovery service, or you wish to try to fix the drive yourself, you can take the hard drive out of the enclosure and connect it to your computer internally. If you wish to attempt this and need help just say so and we can help you do it.
  6. Wine Did Me In

    Wine Did Me In TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry it took me so long to reply, but my family insisted on celebrating the holidays in spite of my problem. I'm going to contact seagate today, but how would they go about recovering my data, exactly? Would I have to bring it to a store or would they put it in a whole new case?

    I'm a bit over protective of my technology. Heh.
  7. JesseM

    JesseM TS Booster Posts: 220

    I checked Seagate's warranty information, and unfortunately they do not include free data recovery in the warranty for their drives. They will charge extra to recover your data, and likely the price will be pretty steep.

    On the other hand, if the drive inside is fine then you could simply take it out of its enclosure and buy another external enclosure ($15-20) and install your drive into the new enclosure. This would probably be the easiest and cheapest fix if the drive was indeed functioning correctly. If I really cared about saving my data this is what I would do.

    If the data on your drive wasn't important or was backed up (which isn't likely) I'd go ahead and return it to Seagate for repair.

    You can also try following this guide to help see if your drive is in fact broken, although your description sounded like the drive wasn't powering on correctly.
  8. Wine Did Me In

    Wine Did Me In TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'd say that the hard drive is fine, on account of back on Christmas eve and morning I would be able to see the files and the folders would try to open, but took a long time and never did anything.

    Also, sorry about this, how would I know if it wasn't powering on correctly? Despite the obvious answer, I've tried everything to keep it from turning off and on aside from smashing it against a wall.

    Seagate's guide helped me about as much as snashing the drive against the wall would, I'm afraid. I had no idea what type of specifications my drive has!
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I think you should open up the enclosure and remove the drive itself (its just an internal drive inside a box, "enclosure"). Then connect that to your computer as an internal drive. If your drive works that way then all is well and if you want you can buy another external enclosure as stated above.
  10. Wine Did Me In

    Wine Did Me In TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I'm in the process of removing the drive. Its like three feet of snow out so I don't expect to be going to school today, and I can't sleep. I got as far as removing the lid, but my dad can't find his little philips screwdriver especially designed for the screws inside. I got the steps from here: wait, I have to make another post before I can post links and images. Geez.

    I plan to see if it is an enclosure problem and put in a recently crashed computer that will not install an OS, but that is a story for another thread. Hopefully, this is the problem and afterward I'm never buying another Freeagent.

    Dad found a couple of broken plastic tabs inside as well, and a pillar keeping the lid on broke off in the bottom right corner, so I wont be putting the lid back on. Since I didn't get past the screws, we decided to hook it up again (plug in the usb cord and power cord) to see if I still got the same nagging problem where it restarts perpetually.

    Well, I'm sad to say those little plastic tabs weren't the problem, as it still won't stay on longer than ten seconds, no matter what.

    Also, I'm wondering if it's okay to use a flathead (small) screwdriver for the screws inside? Because I'm getting a little tempted...

    I'd post a picture, but my camera broke last summer. I don't have the best luck with technology.

    Thanks guys!
  11. Wine Did Me In

    Wine Did Me In TS Rookie Topic Starter

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