Portable hard drive dropped, worked briefly afterwards but no more, am I SOL?

By ArgEhCee
Jul 11, 2016
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  1. I have a Seagate Backup Plus 2TB portable hard drive, and SOMEONE (okay it was me) grabbed the laptop it was plugged into and it fell off the desk. It still lights up, doesn't make any weird clicking or whirring sounds, and still shows up on Disk Utility.

    At first I didn't think it was a big deal as it seemed fine when first I plugged it back in - main partition was still displaying all the usual files in Finder. However, second partition wasn't showing up so I opened Disk Utility. Trying to read the second partition with Disk Utility crashed the latter, and then shortly after, Finder crashed while trying to read the main partition.

    Now neither partition shows up in Finder, though both show up in Disk Utility. I tried to "verify disk" and it told me both partitions needed to be repaired; I ran the repair but it said neither could be repaired and needed to be reformatted.

    Is there any chance of recovering this data without spending any money? I downloaded Seagate Data Recovery but got a warning not to use it in cases of mechanical failure. What about recovering a list of files stored on there? Could this still be an okay drive if reformatted? I'm super poor and can't afford a new drive in the foreseeable future due to spending money on a new SSD for my 2009 MacBook recently (at least I'm confident that I won't need my backup any time soon).

    The data consisted mainly of two things, 1) a backup of my Mac's hard drive EDIT: SSD and 2) about 400 GB of movies and TV. There was also a folder called "backup" on there but I'm not sure what I put in there or if I deleted it from the original source, hence why it would be handy to at least have a list of files.

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom and insight you might be able to share!

    Extra details:
    - Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0, about 1.5 years old
    - 2 partitions, main partition NTFS, second partition Mac OS Extended Journaled
    - Using this drive mainly with a MacBook Pro OS 10.6.8 and occasionally a desktop running Windows XP (home) or a MacMini OSX (work), partitioned/formatted using one of the PCs at work running Windows Vista
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Very uncertain. You might find https://www.piriform.com/recuva/features/recovery-from-damaged-or-formatted-disks useful. Whether it is merely corrupted or mechanically damaged is currently unknown. The software will try to rebuild the structure and may remove broken files. Some of your files may be recoverable if this succeeds.

    Reformat will probably wipe your files, so an alternative recovery strategy may be necessary - backup Mac to a new drive or to cloud (I use iDrive) - for videos, maybe you can re-download from where you purchased them.

    Hard lesson, a backup is not a true backup unless there are two of them.
    ArgEhCee likes this.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Well, this is pure guesswork, but I imagine the drop may have bent the actuater lever. or bounced the centering spring (s?) off. After that, it's a short leap to assume the read heads may have been contacting the platter and burned through.

    That would explain why, "it worked at first", but not now.

    AFAIK, from the point you are now, I believe these data recovery places would simply yank the platters, and install them into a working drive. Or so urban legend has it anyway.

    As I said, I'm far from an optimist, and these are just guesses, plus this messenger doesn't particularly want to get shot......but......
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016

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